Odile Edouard: En attendant J. Sebastian Bach

Quatre cordes en vibration
La collection de l’oreille
les éditions de la matrice.m

One of the effects of the enforced isolation of lockdown is that we have had the opportunity to reflect on how we have got to where we are. Amid the rash of autobiographical outpourings, musicians like the rest of us have been assessing where they are. Deprived of the normal context of music-making with others, solo recordings have multiplied. 

Odile Edouard has been an experienced and passionate teacher of HIP violin at the celebrated Conservatoire in Lyon since she was 24, and this CD of music for solo violin is her response to the deprivation of playing with others during the lockdown. The CD and its accompanying autobiographical booklet open a window on her passion for her instrument and the music she presents chronicles her pilgrimage via many different composers and widely varying styles in the century before Johann Sebastian’s Ciaccona that concludes the programme. We are introduced to Thomas Baltzar, Nicola Matteis, Heinrich Franz von Biber and Johann Paul von Westhoff played on a violin by Marieke Bodart after Stainer, and her bows are described as well – each one being listed beside the piece. For the later composers – including Vilsmayr, Pisendel and Telemann – she moves to her Klotz, made in Mittenwald in 1757. A third violin that we might have heard was stuck with the luthier during the lockdown.

The playing is elegant, committed and rhapsodic, and the storyline is intriguing. But whether this kind of reflective musing is what you are looking for in a CD that will be a long-time companion on your shelves is not a question I can answer.

I was glad to have heard it, and I suspect it might be inspiring for a young enthusiast, waiting to be captivated as Odile was when she was 14. If you have a grandchild or godchild or just know a wistful would-be young star violinist, give it a try. It might change their lives.

David Stancliffe

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