Following the critical success that greeted his Odradek debut album Exodus (music by Korngold and Zeisl), violinist Johannes Fleischmann, known as the ‘Viennese Violinist’, returns in the company of pianist Christoph Ulrich Meier with Solitaire.
Solitaire may denote a single set gemstone as well as a single piece in general. This album’s programme consists of little-known individual works for violin and piano, all of them musical gems by famous composers, many of whom influenced each other. ‘Solitaire’ also means ‘lonely, alone’ and thus coincides with violinist Joseph Joachim’s motto ‘free but lonely’. Famous violinists who inspired composers are also a common thread running through the programme.
We hear sumptuously beautiful and fascinating music from the overlapping worlds of Wagner and his father-in-law Liszt, Zemlinsky and his brother-in-law Schoenberg, and from Zemlinsky’s champion Brahms and Brahms’s friends and collaborators Robert Schumann and Joachim.
More recent composers represented include Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and Greek composer-conductor Konstantia Gourzi, who has filled in the gaps of Haydn’s fragmentary surviving opera Philemon and Baucis with her own compositions, one of which is Aria. This began life in 2003 as a soprano aria but was reworked by Gourzi in 2022 for violin and piano. Rooted in the Greek mythology of Haydn’s opera, Aria may be heard as a brief narrative of a dream. Haydn, too, is heard on this album with his witty Jacob’s Dream, and Rossini, Reinecke and Ysaÿe complete the programme.
Fleischmann is joined by Christoph Ulrich Meier, who is Musical Supervisor of the Bayreuth Festival and whose performances as conductor and pianist have taken him to the Musikverein Vienna, Berlin Philharmonie, Felsenreitschule Salzburg and the Suntory Hall Tokyo, among others. Fleischmann and Meier have been performing as a duo since 2019.