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.
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".
Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, completed about the same time as the Eroica Symphony, has suddenly become popular. One reason for its previous lack of popularity was the fact that three soloists cost three times as much as one normally expensive pianist, violinist or cellist. Another reason is that the work seeks to be a popular success, hence the Rondo alla Polacca with which it concludes. The piano part was intended for Beethoven’s patron and pupil, the Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg, and hence is less technically demanding than the composer’s usual pianistic writing, destined for himself. The standard CD (previously LP) of the work was a spectacular performance and recording made by EMI many years ago with David Oistrakh, Rostropovich and Richter with the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan. It was opulently played with the BPO’s luscious sound, but has little to do with what Beethoven would have heard in 1804. Another choice was the version of Stern, Rose and Serkin (Sony), less lush and not so high-powered as Karajan’s.
After having won the Gramophone Award in 2014 for his recording of Prokofiev’s five piano concertos, exclusive Chandos artist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet here explores the complete works for piano and orchestra of another Russian composer of the twentieth century: Igor Stravinsky. Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand, and Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra make good company. First, Bavouzet considers them ‘the greatest concertos of the twentieth century.
Two unusual solo instruments are the focus of this all-Aho disc. Indeed, in the case of the contrabassoon (or double bassoon), Kalevi Aho’s work is one of the very few concertos that exist. It is also by far the most demanding and extensive. In fact, the solo part became playable only after recent developments of the instrument itself, extending its compass upwards. While composers have treated the tuba slightly more generously, there was certainly room for another concerto in the repertoire when Aho composed it in 2001. Both instruments are sometimes treated as the buffoons of the symphony orchestra, and are ……
A leading representative of ‘New Folklorism’, the Lithuanian composer Feliksas Bajoras conveys his interest in Lithuanian folk-music in a strikingly individual and personal voice. The Symphony-Diptych, which draws on themes from the composer’s opera Lamb of God, is notable for its characterful writing for wind instruments. The lyrical Violin Concerto ……