> ROSSUM Violin Concertos CYP5615 [HC]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Frederik van ROSSUM (born 1939)
Violin Concerto No. 1 Op.37 (1979/80)
Violin Concerto No.2 Op.45 (1985/90)
Epitaphe Op.25 (1972)

Paul Zazofsky (violin); Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège et de la Communauté Française; Pierre Bartholomée
Recorded: Conservatoire Royal de Liège, February 1993
CYPRES CYP 5615 [63:22]


The First Violin Concerto Op.37 of Frederik van Rossum is probably his best-known work for it was written as test piece for the finals of the Queen Elizabeth Competition in 1980 (the First Prize winner was the young Japanese violinist Yuzulo Horigome). The piece made quite an impression for its global impact went far beyond the limits of the commission. Again, all the van Rossum fingerprints are there: taxing violin technique, for sure, but the stylistic and expressive demands put on the player must not be ignored either. The music is in turn warmly lyrical (sometimes recalling Britten) and rhythmically alert, but always overtly expressive.

One of the finalists of the 1980 Q.E.C. was Paul Zazofsky who later put van Rossumís concerto in his repertoire (a fairly rare instance in the Q.E.C.ís long history). Later still, Zazofsky asked van Rossum to write another concerto for him. This materialized in 1990 when van Rossum completed the Second Violin Concerto Op.45. This is a quite substantial work and a much more ambitious piece than its predecessor. It is cast in two sizeable movements: Prologue and Incantations lyriques, which says much as to the overall mood of the piece that again is a superb example of van Rossumís music making. The music again blends a huge range of techniques into a musically varied but very coherent whole of great communicative power.

The earlier Epitaphe Op.25 (1972) was written for Lola Bobesco and her Ensemble Eugène Ysaye. This fairly short work is a beautifully moving elegy in memory of the composerís grandfather, the painter Léon Spilliaert. The music certainly looks back at Bartok whose music has been a powerful influence on van Rossum. Lola Bobesco and her ensemble recorded the piece many years ago (ALPHA 3075 F-1 nla) but the present recording is certainly the one to have.

Excellent, dedicated performances warmly recorded in the superb acoustics of the concert hall of the Liège Conservatory. This release is as welcome as it is unreservedly recommended.

Hubert Culot

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