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Rare French works for violin and orchestra
Gabriel FAUR (1845-1924)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op 14 (1878-80) [15:46]
Camille SAINT-SANS (1835-1921)
Morceau de concert, Op 62 (1880) [10:27]
douard LALO (1823-1892)
Fantaisie norvgienne (1878) [14:01]
Ernest GUIRAUD (1837-1892)
Caprice (1884) [11:48]
douard LALO (1823-1892)
Guitarre, Op 28 (arr. Gabriel Piern) [3:40]
Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879-1957)
Pome (1918, 19378) [15:29]
Philippe Graffin (violin)
Ulster Orchestra/Thierry Fischer
rec. June 2001, Ulster Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
First released in March 2002 as CDA67294

Experience Classicsonline

Helios is Hyperions bargain range re-issue marque. Its the place to go for a deeply upholstered catalogue of exceptional quality classical CDs. There are more every month and Hyperion do not complicate the picture with different reissue series (aopart from their Dyad two CD series): its Helios and thats it no sub-labels and no intermediate pricing. Worth keeping an eye on Hyperions Please someone buy me page where a constantly changing shop window of premium CDA series discs are sold for 5.60.

The present French collection is delectable if you have already been won over by say Saint-Saens Havanaise. Faurs single movement Concerto is a dramatic construct rather in the dramaturgical, showy-substantial and sweetly singing line reflected in Saint-Sans three concertos also recorded by Graffin - and the concertos by Tchaikovsky, de Boeck and Karlowicz. Not to be missed but you must not expect this to be the highly cultured Faur. The concerto was first recorded in 1991 by Rodolfo Bonucci in Mexico City for ASV (CD DCA686). It also turned up much more recently played by Jean-Marc Philips-Varjabdian as part of a Timpani collection of all Faurs concertante works (1C1172). Saint-Sans's Morceau de concert began life as the first movement of his Third Violin Concerto but was discarded. Not sure why; its certainly pari passu with the other Saint-Saens single movement violin pieces and is as much a discovered delight as the Caprice Andalou.

The Lalo Fantaisie norvgienne is another sweetly nationalistic essay this time in three movements. The material is tangily flavoured with mannerisms we associate with Norwegian folk music. Its three succinct movements are concentrated tone poems with breathily romantic nationalism very much the order of the day. Think in terms of a shorter Symphonie espagnole but with Norway as the focus just as succulent. Theres also a purely orchestral Rhapsodie Norvgienne by Lalo. Lalo also wrote similarly nationalistic concertante pieces in a related idiom with Spain and Russia as their locales. M. Graffins notes tell us that Sarasate premiered the piece on 1 December 1878 with Max Bruch conducting and that this in turn inspired Bruch to write his Scottish Fantaisie a work I have never been able to get on with.

The two movement Guiraud Caprice is darker and more confiding yet still out of the high romantic. It was dedicated to Sarasate and modelled on the bipartite Saint-Sans work, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. Its a smoothly resolved piece and passionate too - aided by Graffins pure yet fervent line and some nicely rasping work from the Ulster Orchestra brass. The violin whistles high in the lark-haunted firmament in the second of the two movements a sort of 19th century counterpart to Sibeliuss Humoresques. Guirauds grand operatic credentials show in the final pages.

The Lalo-Piern Guitarre is another toothsome brevity the shortest here at less than four minutes. It has a faintly Spanish accent. The Canteloube Pome is from another later era. It has a deeper vein of melancholia and some countryside impressionistic moments perhaps a little like Julius Harrisons Bredon Hill (Dutton and Lyrita). It was written just after the Great War and revised within months of the start of the Second World War. I must not leave the impression that it is completely unrelated to the other works on the disc. It represents a sort of green fusion between the sweetly romantic effusions of the late-nineteenth century and the more freshly knowing Delian invention you hear in Canteloubes luminous orchestral re-workings of the Chants de lAuvergne. There are some almost rapturously glowing Straussian moments along the way. Do not forget Graffins other Hyperion Canteloube recording.

Lavish deep-pile rarities from the long-sustained Gallic-romantic sunset.

Rob Barnett





































































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