Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


Violin Concerto
Cello Concerto

Dong Suk Kang (violin) Tim Hugh (cello) ENPO/Paul Daniel
NAXOS 8.554325 [59.57]

The Walton Naxos series ploughs forward with no lack of momentum or accomplishment. The present disc is the most attractive in the sequence coupling an outright winner of a work with a Cinderella. Recording quality is clear and unfussy - detailed but not too analytical. Notes are acceptable.

The interpretation of the violin concerto leans on the intimate rather than high drama. The pristine tender colloquy of lovers basks in Mediterranean radiance. The music chases through cicada-haunted groves in a pattering steeplechase. The music has heroic determination too, amidst the irascible defiance, puirt-a-beul, vaulting and serenading. Great attention is paid to dynamics and instrumental relativities and a fine interpretation is delivered. It does not, for me, displace the EMI Ida Haendel recording (1970s) with Berglund. It is however an attractive foil to the now rather fierce Heifetz recording on RCA-BMG.

In the cello concerto Walton flanks the fast movement with two slow ones rather like the Moeran and Delius violin concertos. The Cinderella work has many beguiling episodes in Tim Hugh's hands. Listen to the shimmering Hollywood dew (very close to Korngold) at 5.18 (I) and the constant return of the clock-ticking motif. In the convulsive dash of the central movement Hugh is not as ferocious as Piatigorsky. In the finale Walton seems to ruminate over musical ideas reminiscent of Britten's Peter Grimes - an opera whose success he coveted but was unfairly denied.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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