Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.26 (1865-1867) [25.05]
Violin Concerto No.3 in D minor Op.58 (1891) [38.43]
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Navarra for two violins and orchestra Op. 33 (1889) [6.02]
Chloë Hanslip (violin)
Mikhail Ovrutsky (violin)
London Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins (conductor)
Rec. Watford Colosseum, 30 July - 1 August 2002
WARNER CLASSICS  0927-45664-2 [58.57]
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There is no doubt about the talent of the young violinist Chloë Hanslip. Strip away the hype (not helped by some appalling booklet photographs, including one in a Toulouse-Lautrec-like pose on the ‘wobbly’ Millennium Bridge in London in which she appears to be freezing cold) and the rest is admirable, and I lauded her first CD fairly unequivocally. That she is technically up to the task is in no doubt, on the other hand her emotional level is currently fired by the freshness of youth matched by enthusiasm and love of the music she plays, and Bruch’s first concerto is clearly one such work. True, she over-indulges  here and there, the pauses and some of the slowing downs she inserts are excessive, but the finale catches fire and she more than rises to its challenges. Brabbins and the LSO provide matching accompaniments (what Hanslip, inevitably for her age, lacks in angst, the orchestral sound more than compensates for) and just about keep up when, coming down the final straight, Hanslip puts her foot down hard on the accelerator pedal and rushes to the finishing line. She tackles the third concerto head-on, technically far harder than the first, a brave choice and an excellent performance too, full of muscle in the outer Allegros and lyrically sensitive in the Adagio, though occasional misjudgements of intonation in wide leaps from one end of her borrowed Guaneri del Gesu to the other are hopefully not going to develop into bad habits.

There’s a nice concluding filler with her partner from her Brit Awards appearance, Mikhail Ovrutsky, in the unusual Navarra by the Spanish virtuoso Sarasate (who worked closely with Bruch on more than one occasion), performed by both of them with plenty of stylish Spanish flavour and technical panache, guitar-imitations and all. All ‘too silly’ as the Major used to say when interrupting Monty Python sketches, but great fun nonetheless.

Julian Haycock’s booklet notes no doubt made full use of my biography, to which I have no objection whatsoever, though it’s a pity that in so doing, he did not correct my original error in mathematics when I described Bruch’s wife Clara as sixteen years old when he married her in 1880, when she was in fact ten years older than that (born in 1854). Other factual errors also need correction. Max stayed with her till the end of her days, not the other way around for she predeceased him by a year, and it was Cambridge, not Oxford, which awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 1893. Neither do I recall that the first violin concerto ‘thrilled the first night, creating a sensation’. Apart from Bruch quoting from Joachim’s letter to the composer that it had ‘a resounding success’, therefore we are relying on double hearsay, we have no reports of that performance. As to Ferdinand David (hardly ‘elderly’ at 58), described as ‘was allowed to put his oar in’ with a performance, it somehow sits ill as a version of the events. By the way, not all the photos are bad and some bear an uncanny resemblance to Tasmin Little - no bad comparison there either.

Christopher Fifield

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