If works are to live
they need to find new executant champions.
We cannot indefinitely be sustained
by past exemplars and lofty heroes.
For this reason it is good to have this
new collection which, rather like the
Telarc recording of the Rózsa
concertos for violin and cello, offers
a more natural perspective than the
fierce almost ill-tempered intensity
of Heifetz and Piatigorsky amongst others.
tempestuously aggressive Sinfonia
Concertante is here given a concert
hall ambience that places the two soloists
further back and allows the orchestra
more of the spotlight. There is plenty
of Bartókian point, barb, grit
and resin in the performance as well
as a poetic yield (8:20 in I) that certainly
gratifies. I think you will learn more
about this work in this understated
and Delian approach than you will from
the unremitting glare of other performances.
I am sure that the late Christopher
Palmer, such a champion of Rózsa,
would have loved this version especially
in the green-leaved ecstasies of the
Tema con variazioni.
The Notturno ungherese
has that ‘long day ended’ warmth
also to be found in Kodaly's Summer
evening. This is Rózsa at
his considerable best. Amongst the ‘Hungarianisms’
do I also hear a laid-back cowboy romance
reminiscent of Shenandoah and
the great rivers - a sort of rolling
Vltava. This is a lovely piece extremely
The Tripartita here
receives its second recording having
been premiered by Rostropovich with
the National Symphony in Washington.
Its first recording came late on with
Davis Amos on Harmonia Mundi now reissued.
I first encountered the work in a studio
concert broadcast for one of Rózsa's
last birthdays. It was enthusiastically
done by Ashley Lawrence with the BBC Concert
Orchestra, heroes of a thousand studio
tapes and, in repertoire terms, a far
more significant orchestra than there
fourth tier reputation suggests. The
Tripartita is in three movements;
now there’s a surprise. The first is
a vicious bubbling little Intrada, eager
with the vehement aggression of one
of his ‘film noir’ scores of the 1950s.
The Intermezzo arioso is typically
haunted; a landscape lent ominous monotones
by a solar eclipse -there is a chill
in the air. An explosive Waltonian allegro
con brio brings things to a wild-eyed
end after a slackening of tension in
the central core of the movement. This
piece would pair very neatly with say
Moeran's Sinfonietta or Constant
Lambert's Music for Orchestra (the
latter still incomprehensibly waiting
in the queue for its first recording).
The disc is typically
well documented, tightly written and
full of relevant detail. This time there
is little in the way of the sort of
abstruse navel-gazing we occasionally
get from CPO’s commissioned writers.
A refreshing collection
with excellent interpretations all round.