Violin Concerto in A minor Op. 53 (1882) [30:52]
Piano Concerto in G minor Op. 33 (1876) [38:49] Waldesruhe (Klid or Silent Woods) Op. 68,
No. 5 (1891 arrangement of the fifth piece from Ze Šumavy (From
the Bohemian Forest) of 1883-84 for piano 4-hands Op.68
(violin); Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Libor Pešek
Claire Désert (piano); Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra/Theodore Guschlbauer
Timothy Walden (cello); Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Libor
No recording details (1994-96) VIRGIN CLASSICS 3913462 [75:17]
I wrote in my review of
Sarah Chang’s recording of the concerto,
both her own and Christian Tetzlaff’s performances are newly
reissued. Chang’s is unchanged but this Tetzlaff has undergone
programming alteration. Gone is his Lalo and in comes Claire
Désert’s traversal of the piano concerto and a makeweight in
the shape of Klid. Be it noted, as they say, that the
Tetzlaff performance is greatly to be preferred to the Chang.
avoids the temptation to slow, as Chang and Davis fail to do,
for the first movement second theme and he keeps things moving.
He’s strongly helped by Pešek who ensures dynamics are naturally
scaled and who also takes care to balance things in the sometimes
tricky Rudolfinum acoustic. Tetzlaff has a tight bright tone
and he cuts through the orchestration with real incisiveness.
Pešek shows himself to be a far more watchful and astute Dvořákian
than Davis as he builds and releases tension whilst maintaining
strong rhythmic profiles. As a result the performance has an
internal dynamism and a degree of radiance that Chang’s lacks.
have been a number of recommendable recordings of the Concerto
in the last decade and a half – let alone the classic Suk/Ančerl,
Milstein (with de Burgos and Dorati) and the various surviving
commercial and off-air performances by one of its greatest champions
Vása Příhoda. Suffice to say that Tetzlaff is commendably
quick on his feet – fast but not at all superficial - and plays
with spirit, tone and imagination, well seconded by the orchestra.
of course things aren’t quite that simple. I’d never even heard
of this Strasbourg performance of the Piano Concerto, though
Claire Désert is becoming better and better known as a soloist.
She plays with musicality and finish but vital things are missing.
The opening of the concerto is badly balanced - horn-swamped
- and there’s an endemic lack of optimum string subtlety throughout
the recording. I don’t know how often, if at all, Désert had
performed this in concert before recording it but her entries
can sound wooden and uninflected. The opening entry should generate
tension and use rubato – see Firkušny, Maxian and Moravec who
all, in their very different ways, launch the concerto with
tension. And she is far too slow in the second movement; most
Czech performers take it considerably quicker and bring a more
touching sense to it. So this is a rather routine performance;
not really recommendable.
receives a pliant if somewhat nasal reading from Timothy Walden.
is marketed as a “Dvořák Concertos” disc. The Violin Concerto
scores highly amongst contemporary performances but the Piano
companion won’t really do. I hope that Tetzlaff’s performance
doesn’t suffer accordingly in the marketplace – the money saving
booklet (three weedy paragraphs) and the supermarket style cover
art do not at all reflect his intelligence and perception.
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