The American composer Roy Harris said of Galina Ustvolksaya’s sonata that it was kind of ugly. And the Fourth Sonata by Grazyna Bacewicz can be heard as rising impulsively into a frenzy. Jennifer Higdon’s Five Poetic Pieces, while poetic by title, are also considerably more brittle. Along with jags, machine chugging, and frantic labyrinthine, there are also mysterious mists. Before these works, which are demanding to hear, the two interpreters have placed the two miniatures by Nadia Boulanger, which in retrospect are almost relaxed, rather impressionistically shimmering, but they have also given them a good portion of expressiveness.
It may perhaps be taken as the strongest impression from the overall view that the two interpreters, violinist Louise Chisson and her piano partner Tamara Atschba, present on this varied CD a strong expressive view of four works of a century of gender comrades. In doing so, they deftly highlight interpretive and creative differences, allowing each work to reflect its due character. One really cannot accuse the interpreters of having hidden their creative will and its technically intensively realized realization. Rather, they keep the listeners spellbound with their demanding playing until the very last note.