Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW
BARGAIN OF THE MONTH


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: Crotchet

 

Jascha Heifetz - Violin Virtuoso
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
Violin Concerto in D, op.35 (1947) [21:41]
Edouard LALO (1823-1892)
Symphonie Espagnole, op.21 (1874) [17:25]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Preludes # 1-3 (arr. Heifetz) (1926) [1:32; 2:51; 1:21]
Porgy and Bess (1935): Summertime [1:48]; A woman is a sometime thing [1:52]; My man’s gone now [3:52]; It ain’t necessarily so [2:33]; Tempo di Blues [2:52]; Bess, you is my woman now [3:11]
TRAD.
Deep River (?) [2:26]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
Moderato assai (arr. Frenkel) (from The Threepenny Opera) (1928) [2:26]
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960)
Jamaican Rumba (arr. Primrose) (1938) [1:41]
Jascha Heifetz (violin)
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Alfred Wallenstein (Korngold); RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/William Steinberg (Lalo); Emanuel Bay (piano) (Gershwin and Weill); Milton Kaye (piano) (trad. and Benjamin)
rec. Sound Stage 9, Republic Studios, Hollywood (Korngold, Lalo), World Broadcasting Decca Studios, New York City (Gershwin, trad., Weill, Benjamin); 16 October 1944 (Benjamin), 18 October 1944 (trad.), 28 November 1945 (Gershwin), 30 November 1945 (Weill), 12-13 June 1951 (Lalo), 10 January 1953 (Korngold)
REGIS RRC1296 [74:04]
Experience Classicsonline

In a disc billed on its cover as centring on an artist, rather than on any individual work, it is odd to find less booklet space given over to biography than to the discussion of one particular piece of music.  But writer Peter Avis evidently feels strongly that the Korngold violin concerto needs all the support it can get.  After all, in spite of a hugely successful premiere (“… triumphantly received … A success like the best times in Vienna … the most enthusiastic ovation in the history of the hall” according to the composer), as well as promotion by some world-class soloists, it has resolutely failed to establish a place in the general repertoire other than as something of a curiosity. The ingrained artistic elitism of post-war metropolitan critics – accused by Korngold of displaying “snobbish, atonal anger” - originally had a great deal to do with that. 
 
All three movements contain material taken from Korngold-scored movies and that was enough for many disdainful highbrow commentators to dismiss the work out of hand as a “Hollywood concerto” (the words of Olin Downes in the New York Times).  But those very same film scores, revalued since the 1970s’ upsurge in interest in the composer, are widely perceived nowadays as uniquely rich and sophisticated examples of their type.  As a result, few commentators any longer consider that Korngold compromised or debased such “serious” compositions as his symphony or his violin concerto by incorporating into them material that had been originally written for the screen.
 
Korngold himself claimed that, in this concerto, he was planting his own standard firmly on the side of “expression and feeling … long melodic themes … music conceived in the heart and not constructed on paper … [and] wohllautend (well-sounding)”.  He had, moreover, a particular type of soloist in mind: “In spite of its demand for virtuosity in the finale, the work with its many melodic and lyric episodes was contemplated rather for a Caruso of the violin than for a Paganini.  It is needless to say how delighted I am to have my concerto performed by Caruso and Paganini in one person: Jascha Heifetz.”  [All original quotations are taken from Brendan G. Carroll’s authoritative study The Last Prodigy: a biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (Portland, Oregon, 1997) pp. 328-332].
 
As Heifetz appreciated to the full, Korngold’s concerto is a beguiling, deeply romantic and richly-themed work that repays in spades any soloist’s degree of emotional investment.  It is hard to see how his completely secure and utterly committed 1951 recorded performance could be bettered – which is perhaps another reason why very few have ever tried.
 
The 1951 performance of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole does not reach quite such exalted levels.  That, however, has nothing to do with Heifetz: he fulfils the composer’s demands for glittering pastiche and consummate virtuosity to the letter.  The culprits are, rather, the orchestra and conductor who offer unidiomatic and generally lifeless support.  One might be inclined to forgive them in a live performance when all ears would be on the soloist – but, for repeated listening, this becomes a rather dull and dreary experience.
 
While quite appropriately included on this disc, the assorted violin/piano pieces that complete it show Heifetz in a very different context.  As a good friend of Gershwin’s (there was actually a chance of them becoming related when the composer dated the violinist’s sister Pauline), Heifetz exhibits complete empathy with his musical idiom. The three preludes – concise yet compelling pieces - go particularly well.  Juxtaposed like this, they in fact make an attractive mini-suite for violin and piano.  Heifetz was himself responsible for transcribing the Porgy and Bess material and, once again, the affection for Gershwin’s melodies and style is quite evident.  Summertime is a particular success but the “spikier”, more astringent pieces come off superbly well too. 
 
The three closing pieces are also well chosen to justify the disc’s “violin virtuoso” title, with Arthur Benjamin’s Jamaican Rumba making a fitting final number.  Maybe Heifetz – the great poker face – still maintained his usual stern mien during the recording session, but I doubt whether you will do the same as you listen to the entrancing results.
 
Rob Maynard
 
Reviews of other Korngold Violin Concerto recordings
 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.