Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Time and Eternity (Alpha-Classics)

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Just when everyone has given up on concept albums, up pops Pat Kop with a really interesting concept, one that – being Pat Kop – is strictly inimitable. The title hints at vague cosmic fusions between great faiths, but the material the great violinist assembles is pertinent, unusual and brilliantly played.

She starts with the Jewish Yom Kippur invocation of Kol Nidrei – not the overworked Bruch, nor even the Schoenberg, but a deep, dark, treasurable meditation by the New York composer, John Zorn, that I had never heard before. She follows that with three voices singing the post-Sabbath hymn Eliyahu Hanavi, a theme that the dissident Munich composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann used in the finale of his 1934 anti-Nazi Concerto Funèbre, a work of overwhelming courage, resistance and faith. I don’t think I have ever heard the piece better played, and it needs to he heard much more.

Christian chorales follow – Russian, Polish, J. S. Bach – interspersed with episodes by the Swiss composer Frank Martin, to whom I have never given much time of day. Placed, however, in an introspective context, he sounds more intriguing. A Czech modern, Lubos Fiser, has something to say for violin timpani and bells. There is a certain messiness to this album. Not everything fits together the way it should. But the playing of Pat Kop and the Camerata Bern captures the ear and suspends disbelief. No living violinist comes close to this scale of adventure. This review can only be five stars or one, and I know which I choose.

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Norman Lebrecht is a prolific writer on music and cultural affairs. His blog, Slipped Disc, is one of the most popular sites for cultural news. He presents The Lebrecht Interview on BBC Radio 3 and is a contributor to several publications, including the Wall Street Journal and The Standpoint. Visit every Friday for his weekly CD review // Norman Lebrecht est un rédacteur prolifique couvrant les événements musicaux et Slipped Disc, est un des plus populaires sites de nouvelles culturelles. Il anime The Lebrecht Interview sur la BBC Radio 3 et collabore à plusieurs publications, dont The Wall Street Journal et The Standpoint. Vous pouvez lire ses critiques de disques chaque vendredi.

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