Bs in his bonnet

Young, and not so young, virtuosos alike step through the doors of London's most prestigious chamber music venue - the Wigmore Hall - on a daily basis, each attempting to bring with them their own unique blend of fine musicianship and attractive programming. Both of these should certainly be in evidence this week, when, on Wednesday and next Saturday, the esteemed violinist Aaron Rosand (right) holds forth from the Wigmore stage. In his two recitals Rosand, "returns, once again, to ponder the core repertoire for my instrument by the three great Bs - Bach, Beethoven and Brahms."

According to Gramophone magazine, Rosand has made "some of the greatest recordings of this century", and devotees of the violin have been following his illustrious and acclaimed recordings since his very first release, now almost 40 years ago, of the complete Beethoven sonatas. A glittering career quickly followed, which saw his work spiral off in a number of directions. Early on, Rosand became known for his amazing ability to play any of 20 different concertos at a moment's notice. In his concerts and recitals, he also increasingly began to air a host of neglected 19th-century salon works.

"Yes, the names of composers like Paganini, Tartini, Sarasate, Wieniawski and, of course, Kreisler soon became core components of the music I've played for many years now, and become renowned for playing," says Rosand. "But, since my first recording of the Beethovens - and even before then, when I was playing the Brahms sonatas in concert - I suppose I still think of myself primarily as a classicist. I started out as a classicist and now I'm coming back to that same territory again in my current recital programmes." Rosand also remarks that his career has "gone through the computer era, and, during that time, performing styles have changed. Lots of violinists have, over recent times, chosen to play the likes of Beethoven and Brahms very brilliantly, but, to my mind, also somewhat dispassionately and clinically. Perhaps it's time again to bring some feeling and warmth to these works, though without ever neglecting their consummate architectures."

Brahms's last two grandiose sonatas, Beethoven's Op30 No3 and Kreutzer are to be played by Rosand in his recitals. In addition, he airs the first two solo sonatas of Bach: "It all sounds very heavyweight, perhaps," muses the violinist, "but I'm also giving three Brahms Hungarian Dances and Beethoven's Romance in G to lighten up the line-up slightly." Though maybe the line-up doesn't even need lightening, for an expectant audience will surely be in the hall to hear Rosand tackle the awe-inspiring three Bs head on. "I've thought about this music for a long time," ponders the genial performer. "And I could go on thinking about it some more... but maybe the time has come now to get out there and let people hear what I've been thinking."

And what we will hear is Rosand's probing voice and peerless technique take flight via the instrument he says "has become part of me since I acquired it 40 years ago - the Guarneri 'del Gesus'." A great instrument and a truly great musician to play in what should be two landmark recitals of the Wigmore's entire summer season.

Aaron Rosand performs at the Wigmore Hall, Wigmore St, W1 (0171-935 2141) 10, 13 Jun

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