The G major Anton Rubinstein violin concerto is a fine and powerful work, quite as good as many a lesser-known Russian example in the same genre, and easily as deserving of wider currency as, say, the Taneyev Suite de Concert, which is just as rarely heard these days. Nishizaki gives a committed and polished reading, though you often feel that this is music written by a pianist who had marginally less facility when writing for the violin. Still, here’s a well-schooled performance, full of agreeable touches of imagination (the Andante shows Nishizaki’s fine-spun tone to particularly good effect) delivered with crisply economical urgency that makes good musical sense even of the work’s plainer and less idiomatic passages.
With the exception of a Serenade for orchestra, the Cello Concerto was Moeran’s last major work. The premiere performance took place in Dublin in November 1945, where it received great acclaim. It is in conventional sonata form and is one continuous paean for the cello, which is allowed to sing through the expert orchestration from start to finish.
This album with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and its artistic director, Neeme Jarvi, features two mature works by Martinu, recorded in the splendid acoustic of the Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn. One of the most wide-ranging composers of music for the stage, Martinu was also enthusiastic about the theatrical possibilities of including new media in his operas.
The Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247), by Ferruccio Busoni, is one of the largest works ever written in this genre. The concerto lasts around 70 minutes and is in five movements; in the final movement a male chorus sings words from the final scene of the verse drama Aladdin by Adam Oehlenschläger, who also wrote the words of one of the Danish national anthems.
The instrumental concerto occupies a very prominent place in the music of Krzysztof Penderecki. This fact is related to the great life force exhibited by this genre in twentieth century and in contemporary music. It is stimulated by commissions from virtuosos and by audience expectations; also favourable is the composers’ flexibility in approaching the form, whose chief idea continues to be the juxtaposition of the solo instrument and the orchestra. The violin and viola works presented on this CD are not only interesting, concrete realizations of the concertare idea in Penderecki’s music, but also examples of this composer’s sonic language and style in the period of his creativity which Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski called a "time of dialogue with the regained past".