Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
21 Hungarian Dances (arr.
Yuval Waldman (violin); Eugenie
Campion RRCD1347 [DDD]
This is a most disappointing issue. Joachim made these arrangements for violin
and piano shortly after their composition. It should really be a joy to listen
to an hour of Brahms letting his hair down. Waldman and Russo in equal measure
ensure that this is not the case. From the very first track the attempt at
gypsy abandon fails, and neither does it ignite for the rest of the record.
The violin is placed uncomfortably close, far too far forward for comfort.
Also, the piano sounds like an uncomfortable cross between a practice piano
and a fortepiano.
It is almost impossible to single out single movements, because they all
suffer from the same faults. A near total lack of wit or swagger on both
performers parts (Russo is content just to plonk away happily) coupled with
abrasive violin tone and slipshod tuning make this a disc to be avoided at
all costs. The disc ends in the most off-putting of ways. Waldman simply
cannot manage the last dance technically, and is screechy in the extreme.