RADIO KLASSIK, Michael Gmasz

April 2020

After a first CD of chamber music, French violinist Virgil Boutellis-Taft today celebrates his debut CD with full orchestra. What is particularly remarkable is the choice of works he is offering. While for their first CD, many violinists enjoy presenting works by great breathtaking virtuosos such as Paganini, Wieniawski or Sarasate, French violinist Virgil Boutellis-Taft has chosen more intimate tones for his first CD with orchestra. He entitled this CD Incantation, which according to the Duden means “enchantment, conjuration by magic formulas” in German – and these are not verses or formulas that are recited as mantras, but Boutellis-Taft is enchanting with the music of Bruch, Vitali, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Bloch, Chausson and Umebayashi. Against a background of conjuration, Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, Ernest Bloch’s Nigun (from the Baal-Shem Triptych) or Ernest Chausson’s Poem for Violin and Orchestra are rather meditative. This melancholy mood is rarely broken and turns into a fiery witch dance like in Camille Saint-Saëns’s Macabre Dance. It is a powerful and yet very warm and velvety sound that Virgil Boutellis-Taft draws from his Montagnana violin. And when I initially mentioned the other usual virtuoso works – the pieces of music chosen here are no less virtuoso, but in a different way!