Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Johannes BRAHMS
Violin Concerto

Vasco Barbosa violin
E.N.R Symphony Orchestra
Fritz Rieger conductor
Recorded live Cinema Tivoli Lisbon 20 November 1965
STRAUSS SP4351 [37.36]

Son of a famous father Vasco Barbosa is one of Portugal’s leading post-war instrumentalists. His studies with Kulenkampff, Enescu and Galamian equipped him for a career as leader of National Symphony Orchestra of Lisbon (and its subsequent incarnations) and as a proponent of many contemporary Portuguese works. His advocacy of, amongst others, Luis de Freitas Branco, Frederico de Freitasand Ruy Coelhohas not been ignored by Strauss – see SP4042, SP4061 and SP4144 respectively.

In this live 1965 broadcast from Lisbon he steps out to perform the Brahms with his own orchestra. At the helm is the experienced Fritz Rieger, little known, but with a solid command of the Austro-German repertoire. The rather distant and occasionally desiccated sound does not, it’s true, flatter the orchestra, the first violins of which sound very hard pressed in the tuttis of the first movement. The soloist is spotlit and we can hear the inevitable executive casualties of a live performance – both left and right hand – which include bowing slips, an occasional instability in runs, and some rhythmic problems.

The reverberation also hinders full appreciation of Barbosa’s tone and his fastish vibrato. As may be expected his interplay with the orchestral palette is especially fine and the way he digs into the string in the first movement is exciting and engaging. The contours of his performance are fine, his musicianship distinguished. Once or twice I felt – especially in the second and third movements – that his phrasing became overly metrical and not ideally flexible.

At 38 minutes – with no filler – this is hardly a first choice recommendation but for admirers of Barbosa it’s a good souvenir of this fine musician in central repertoire.



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Jonathan Woolf

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