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Wand Edition Vol. 19
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58 [29:59]
Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 92 in G, Hob: I:92 [24:24]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Concerto in a minor for violin and strings, BWV 1041 [13:58]
(piano); Roland Greutter (violin)
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie Orchester (now the WDR Sinfonieorchester
Köln) (Beethoven and Haydn)/Günter Wand; NDR Sinfonieorchester
rec. 6 March 1970 (Beethoven); 20 April 1967 (Haydn), 15-17
March 1992, (Bach). Specific recording locales not given, but
were most likely made in the studios of the North German Radio.
PROFIL PH06006 [68:40]
Profil have been
mining the vaults for some time now and have released this
nineteenth volume of recordings, most of them from live broadcasts,
by the late conductor Günter Wand. Maestro Wand was a modest
man whose remarkably long career took him to rather vast reaches
of the repertoire, but never particularly far from home. He
was not the typical jet-setting guest conductor that we have
grown at least tolerant of, if not accustomed to in recent
years. Rather, he stayed around the house and developed his
Cologne Orchestra into a fine and well trained instrument.
This program of well known works by three of music’s ubiquitous
names shows just how much Wand was grounded in the classics,
and how this mastery of classical structure and form led to
his masterful interpretations of the music of Schubert, Brahms
and especially Bruckner.
that most elegant of Frenchmen is the soloist in a performance
of the Beethoven Fourth Concerto that is characterized by an
immense warmth in the string sound, and a beautiful cantabile
from both soloist and orchestra. Recorded very near the end
of Casadesus’s life, his playing shows a maturity and assurance
that few achieve. Never short of virtuosic panache, has Mr.
Casadesus also never stepped outside the realm of good taste.
Tempos are perfectly chosen and balance between soloist and
orchestra is just right. I was particularly moved by the joyous
romp through the concerto’s final movement with its highly
decorative melody and its playful banter between the soloist
and the various sections of the orchestra. My review copy had
one little flaw, however. There was an editing error at the
very beginning of the concerto causing a rather jarring and
audible blip before the beautifully serene opening solo chords
of the first movement. This will. I hope, be removed before
the next run.
Haydn’s Oxford symphony
is a bit too ponderous for my tastes. There could be less weight
in the strings, and the allegros and prestos could be a bit
more of each. This is a performance more akin to those of say,
Bruno Walter, whose turgid tempi in classical repertoire has
always made me wonder why people called him a great Mozartean,
but I digress. Perhaps I am more accustomed now to period instrument
performances of Haydn, but this recording made me think that
the music was as stuffy as the institution for which it is
Speaking of purists
and period instruments, this reading of Bach’s a minor violin
concerto will not be one for the HIP crowd. Yet, it is beautifully
and elegantly played, even if Roland Greutter turns on the
vibrato a bit more heavily than is considered tasteful today,
and tosses in a couple of juicy portamenti. It is still kind
of fun to hear some meaty Bach, and hearing him played in this
style leads me to regret that the music of the baroque masters
has all but disappeared from modern symphony orchestra programs.
all this is still a beautiful hour of music, and we can be
thankful to Profil for bringing the work of this fine conductor
to a wider audience. One can hope that there is still more
material whence came this disc!
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