Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Alban BERG (1885-1935)
Violin Concerto (1935)
Lyric Suite (1926)
Three Orchestral Pieces (1915)
Rebecca Hirsch (violin)
Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra/Eri Klas
Recorded Netherlands, Hilversum Concert Hall, August - September 1999
NAXOS 8.554755 [64.44]
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Strongly committed to the contemporary repertoire, Rebecca Hirsch has already made some persuasive recordings of concertos by Bent Sørensen and Hakon Børresen (granted Børresen is hardly contemporary) amongst others. These all demonstrate her credentials as one of the most impressively equipped exponents of the literature. She has also advanced British music, of which her Rawsthorne Concertos were notable examples, and her Britten equally so. Turning now to the Berg one finds her in similarly convincing array, combining a sure sense of architectural design, a splendid technique equal to the demands placed upon it and tonal reserves that embrace both depth and soaring cantilena. She has the advantage of an acute ear for the most emphatic and lyrical shaping of phrases and for unerringly reaching the emotive peak of a line.

Her profile here, whilst generally cool, is nevertheless capable of considerable emotional engagement and is palpably consonant with the deepening movement of the work. She is especially successful in the transition from Allegro to Adagio in the second part of the Concerto where subtle inflection and broadening of her vibrato pays off as surely as it did in the first part's Andante. Eri Klas brings out some fine orchestral detail - I especially admired the running bass pizzicati in the opening Andante-Scherzo as well as the freedom he gives to the trumpet. Hirsch meanwhile always reserves increased weight of bow pressure and increased finger vibrato for the most structurally and emotively acute moments. She characterizes the light and the dark with equal success.

The couplings are equally well played. The crisp and clear acoustic of the Hilversum Concert Hall allows orchestral strands the clarity they need. This works well in the case of the Lyric Suite which features a notably well played and evocative Andante amoroso and an Adagio appassionato that ends in marvellous delicacy. The Three Orchestral Pieces don't lack for power either. The Präludium is compellingly strong and the concluding Marsch no less driven so that this is a most worthwhile disc and at the modest price extremely attractive.

Jonathan Woolf


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