Ann Fontanella | Bach, Schubert, Bruch

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Bach, Schubert, Bruch

by Ann Fontanella

Classical violinist in the Bel Canto style
Genre: Classical: Orchestral
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Chaconne
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13:19 $0.99
2. Allegro Moderato
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9:28 $0.99
3. Scherzo and Trio
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4:19 $0.99
4. Andantino
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4:46 $0.99
5. Allegro Vivace
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5:26 $0.99
6. Violin Concerto 2 in D Minor, 1st Mvmt
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11:18 $0.99
7. Wellenspiel
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1:41 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
An extraordinary violinist and composer, Ann Fontanella debuted at age nine with David Zinman and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Fontanella's tonal palette ranges from lyrical bel canto to electrifying with laser-like precision. Subsequent to acceptance by Yale's Graduate/Professional school at age 14, she made appearances on PRI/NPR, Connecticut Cable Television and CN8. Renowned artist Erick Friedman described Fontanella as "having the same natural ability as Jascha Heifetz ... very few violinists in the world play as well as she." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)


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Taxi Review - Complimentary Feedback

Fantastic playing on this very pretty piece.
The violin work is soulful and very expressive... Your playing has a vocal quality in many places, especially in the lower register.
Great playing, Ann! Congratulations to you.

Caryl E. Huffaker, The Kennett Paper, October 13-19, 2005

"...plays like a triumphant angel."
"Ann Fontanella....looks like a classical princess and plays like a triumphant angel. Her technical mastery supported with her mature musical expression is phenomenal."


Stunning and mature music making
This CD is nothing short of a revelation. Despite the relative youth of the artist, the music on this CD is approached with a level of musicianship, commitment and musical intellect that is well beyond her years. Technical accomplishment is almost a given with today's generation of leading players and in this respect Ms. Fontanella delivers convincingly. What makes Ms. Fontanella's playing so special, however, is her ability to vary her tonal palette at will, her range of shifts and slides, the warmth and focus of her tone and her unabashed romantic approach to her interpretations.

The famous Bach Chaconne, which opens the program on this CD, clearly demonstrates these attributes. With her assured left hand technique and sensitive bow work, Ms. Fontanella weaves a kaleidoscope of colour and paints a captivating and convincing soundscape. The following Schubert Duo Sonata is played with imagination and flair. The Bruch orchestral excerpt well demonstrates Ms. Fontanella's capabilities with an orchestra and the closing Grasse Wellenspiel showcases her exceptionally fluent left hand technique.

The recording itself is warm, intimate and faithful, emphasising the gorgeous sound the artist produces from her instrument. This CD may well appeal to listeners who love hearing bygone artists from the Golden Age of violin playing. It seems extraordinary that in this day and age there are occasionally artists who remind us of what an exceptional era that was. Luckily for us, Ms. Fontenalla is one of them.


Ann Fontanella's album is a gem
(including the review)

This young artist reveals herself as a true virtuoso violinist with a personal aural stamp, which is a mark of great instrumentalists. Her technique is taken for granted, her penetrating silky tone reminiscent at times of Heifetz's and Rabin's (she plays a 1691 Grancino `Fontanella Milanese', presumably a copy, by David Palm, Canada).

Fontanella possesses an individual voice all of her own and excels in cantilena passages without sounding sentimental. Her Chaconne is a mature delivery beyond her years, with dynamics well observed. Three and four string chords are delivered with bell-like clarity and with a disarming ease which left this listener in awe. Perhaps a few phrases feel the need of further refinement - no doubt a later recording will have those ironed out. The Schubert Sonata in A is played in lively tempi and her view of the Andantino pace is that of a flowing line which, unlike other performances, doesn't descent into an Andante. The (unjustly) rarely played Bruch D minor concerto (1st mvt.) is a beautiful rendition where Fontanella's singing prowess is amply displayed. A rock-solid rhythmic foundation is in evidence and the mini-cadenza is played with flair and panache. Possibly the only quality still to evolve in her playing is imagination - that will no doubt occur with the maturing years. Heifetz's stunning recording of this work comes to mind when listening to Fontanella. This is not to say that her effort equals the old master's, but tone and vocalistic similarities of a by-gone era are apparent. Fontanella uses less slides and her purity of tone, her "middle-of-the-note" intonation, double stops, bow attack and tonal palette are a marvel. Her teacher Erick Friedmann, himself a long time student of Heifetz, was undoubtedly right in saying that "very few people in the world play the violin as well as she". Comparatively, the young Maxim Vengerov once possessed that purity of intonation and exuberance (if not the same penetrating sound), and so did Michael Rabin. The album closes with the blind violinist/composer Edwin Grasse's "Waves at play" which, in spite of one or two mild 'hair notes' - is a delight.

The CD receives only four stars because of some studio blemishes which may impair the overall listening pleasure. The violin is closely-miked and Fontanella's preparatory finger stops are audible on more than one occasion. The two instruments in the Schubert appear to have been recorded in acoustically different environments and then blended together - the piano is expansive and "wett" while the violin is dryer and narrow. The Bruch is marred (at least this copy is) by sudden amplitude fluctuations and other "digital artifacts" which should have been sorted out before release.

Overall, a big Bravo to Ann Fontanella. Regardless of whatever else she does, she ought to play and record more as she is such a joy to listen to.


So fresh, so sweet
The music was/is so easy to fall for! The way it comes across is right from/to the heart.