Kurt WEILL (1900-50)
Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra, Op. 12a. Kleine
Dreigroschenmusik. Berlin im
(violin); Munich Radio Orchestra/Gerd
Orfeo C539001A [50'42]
Kurt Weill's Violin Concerto has fared fairly well in the catalogue. The
newest soloist to take it on, the Guatemalan violinist Henri Raudales, is
an able protagonist in this work, which pits the pungent neo-classical
astringency of a wind orchestra against a seemingly out-numbered soloist.
Written in 1924, the Violin Concerto lies historically alongside Stravinsky's
Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments (1923/4), a useful reference
point as both breathe similar air.
Müller-Lorenz fully realises that the orchestral textures must be clearly
delineated and rhythms must be as tight as possible, and the Munich Radio
Orchestra responds acutely to his direction. Against this frequently spikily
rhythmic background, Raudales shows a clear affinity for Weill's longer melodic
lines. Müller-Lorenz is able to show his sensitive side in the
Serenata, which is superbly accompanied.
Choice of version for this piece may well depend upon coupling, as Daniel
Hope gives a fine account on his Nimbus disc (with the English Chamber Orchestra
under Boughton, NI5582 and interestingly coupled with Takemitsu's
Nostalghia and works by Schnittke). Hope provides the main competition:
Chantal Juillet on Decca 452 481-2 adds Korngold's Concerto and Krenek's
First Concerto, but she is not the most characterful of musicians.
Of course, as this disc proves, there is plenty of contrast to be found within
Weill's own output. The Kleine Dreigroschenmusik of four years later
perfectly evokes the twilit world of the Berlin Cabaret. Again, the Munich
Radio Orchestra appears to be in its element: the haunting saxophone of
Tango-Ballade is expertly caught, as is the honky-tonk style piano
of Die Ballade vom angenehmen Leben. Weill pulls out a final surprise
by seemingly turning his wind orchestra into an enormous Bachian organ in
the last movement. This performance would sit well alongside the 1975 London
Sinfonietta/David Atherton version on DG 439 488-2.
Berlin im Licht was one of several pieces performed simultaneously during
the 1928 Festival of that name. It is pure carnival music, and an ideal play-out
to an absorbing disc. Recommended.