All the performers here are members of the Vienna Philharmonic
under which rubric the series is presented as a series title:
Philharmonic Soloists. The orchestra’s principal violist
is Heinrich Koll and he is featured in this disc devoted to wide
ranging repertoire which democratically includes Schumann’s
As I listened to the Handel-Halvorsen I noted down a few words;
elegant, precise, nuanced, tactful and discreet were some. Koll
and his violinist daughter Alexandra play with taste and clarity.
The pert pizzicato passage is well judged. There’s something
missing though. It’s all just a little too neat and there
are touches of mannerism. Is the swell on the last note justified?
Hindemith’s Sonata does sound a bit bluff and under-inflected
after the generous lyricism of the classic Primrose/Sanromá
Biddulph). Koll’s greater linearity means that there are
fewer overt contrasts. This terser approach is exacerbated by
a fastish vibrato. For my own taste I regret a lack of the greater
expressive magnitude of the older pairing, though I happily concede
it’s a performance predicated on logic and proficiency.
Primrose was always laudatory of a performance he gave with Britten
of Lachrymae in which he admired what was between the cracks
as it were, what wasn’t notated. It’s a moving but
difficult work to get across, and its culminatory unfolding of
Dowland’s song must emerge naturally from within the fabric
of the writing. This one is finely textured and convincing, though
without quite the last ounce of tonal fibre.
No complaints about the Beethoven where the playing is genial,
the ensemble solid, and the sonority warm and rich. In the Schumann
Koll is joined by Madoka Inui and the eminent figure of Peter
Schmidl. These three experienced plays have an excellent rapport.
Balances are finely judged; dynamics are excellent. The ethos
is mellifluous and affectionate. Inui plays a full part, ensuring
rhythmic snap when required, and strong chording elsewhere. This
is all fluent and elegant, and very pleasing.