I suddenly have a new favorite violinist, and his name is Laurent Korcia. I state this having just discovered Doubles Jeux, his most recent recording. Not only does this guy have one of the most personal sounds of any violinist I can recall, he’s able to cross musical boundaries in completely organic fashion. But unlike lesser talents for whom genre-hopping is nothing more than an excuse for narcissistic posturing, Korcia’s eclectic approach has nothing self-conscious about it. On Doubles Jeux, Korcia has identified the points of connection between seemingly disparate composers like Stephane Grappelli, Maurice Ravel and Béla Bartók, and fashioned a program in which each track flows seamlessly into the next. As Korcia and his cast of supporting musicians work their magic, one loses track of such distinctions as classical, jazz, blues and tango, and is aware only of the blinding beauty of the music. Korcia’s technical virtuosity is such that he seems to inhabit, rather than play, these compositions, so closely in touch is he with their emotional core. It just seems to flow naturally from his head and heart at the same time. Much like Sinatra, Korcia has the ability to make me feel as if I’m hearing familiar pieces for the first time. Korcia explores his jazz chops on the Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli tunes “Minor Swing” and “Tears,” vamping the melodies with sinuous, seductive ease while engaging in spirited interplay with guest violinist Florin Niculescu. Korcia segues from jazz to tango with Michel Portal’s “Minor Waltz,” an earthy, sensuous piece on which the composer lends wonderfully symbiotic accompaniment on his bandoneon. Korcia’s own “Minor Tango” is an equally affecting excursion into this musical form. On the classical front, Ravel’s “Blues” is played with a freer rhythmic pulse and emotional daring than I’ve heard before. There’s something in Korcia’s tone and articulation that makes the music “breathe” in a totally new fashion. Likewise his interpretation of Bartok’s “Duos for Two Violins.” Accompanied by Nemanja Radulovic, Korcia demonstrates his ability to evoke the music’s intellectual rigor as well as its emotional lyricism. Korcia also reveals new shadings of famous compositions by Claude Debussy, Gideon Klein and Michel Legrand. On the CD’s final two tracks, Korcia is joined by French singer/songwriter Jean-Louis Aubert on emotionally wrenching chansons by Jules Massenet and Luigi Denza. Each is given a powerful reading as Korcia and Aubert conspire to create a mood of dark, dreamlike intimacy.
Was this review helpful to you?YESNO