Violin Romances - including Heifetz Transcriptions

CD 1
Romances for violin and piano
Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Romance, for violin and orchestra in A minor, Op. 42 [8:18]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Romanze, for violin and piano, Op. 4 [2:58]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Pieces (4) for violin & piano, Op. 78: No. 2 [2:34]
Antonin DVORÁK (1841-1904)
Romance for violin & piano in F minor (arr. from Andante of String Quartet No. 5), B. 38 (Op. 11) [10:22]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Romance oubliée (I), for piano, S. 527 (LW A299) [3:27]
Christian SINDING (1856-1941)
Romance in D major, Op. 1004:38
Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881)
Romance, for violin and piano, Op. 40/1 [4:59]
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Romance sans paroles et Rondo élégant, for violin and piano, Op. 9 : No. 1 [3:12]
Clara Wieck SCHUMANN (1819-1896)
Romances (3) for violin and piano, Op. 22 [8:33]
Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911)
Romance in G major for violin and orchestra, Op. 26 [6:03]
Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915)
Romance for violin and piano in A major, Op. 513:49
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Romance for violin and piano (or orchestra) (arr. from 2 Fantasy Pieces), FS 8/1 (Op. 2/1) [3:10]
Leos JANÁčEK (1854-1928)
Romance, for violin and piano in E major, JW 7/3 [4:51]
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22 : Romance [4:32]
Aaron Rosand (violin); Hugh Sung (piano)

CD 2
Jascha Heifetz Transcriptions
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Porgy and Bess, arrangement for violin and piano; Summertime; A Woman is a Sometime Thing; My Man’s Gone Now; It Ain’t Necessarily So; Bess, You is My Woman Now; Tempo di Blues [13:53]
Stephen FOSTER (1826-1864)
Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, arrangement for violin and piano [2:53]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Valses nobles et sentimales, arrangement for violin and piano (after Nos. 6 and 7 of Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales) (1911) [3:37]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Beau Soir, (1880) arrangement for violin and piano [2:16]
Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949)
La Oracion Del Torero Op.34 arrangement for violin and piano [6:51]
Tango, arrangement for violin and piano (after "Two Maids Wooing" from Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Shakespeare Songs) [1:59]
Manuel PONCE (1882-1948)
Estrellita (1914), arrangement for violin and piano [3:05]
Francisco VALLE (1869-1906)
Ao pé da fogueira (By the bonfire), arrangement for violin and piano, after F. Valle's Preludio 15 [1:21]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne, arrangement for violin and piano after Chopin's Op. 55/2 [4:55]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Sweet Remembrance, arrangement for violin and piano after Mendelssohn's Song without Words, Op. 19/1 [2:27]
Grigoras DINICU (1889 1949)
Hora staccato [2:03]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Contemplation, transcription of violin and piano after Brahms's song "Wie Melodien" [2:48]
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938)
Alt Wien (Wienerisch), arrangement for violin and piano [2:31]
Aran KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Sabre Dance, arrangement for violin and piano after Khachaturian's Gayane [2:26]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Melody, arrangement for violin and piano after Rachmaninov's Op. 21/9 (1903) [3:05]
It’s Peaceful Here, arrangement for violin and piano after Rachmaninov's song, Op. 21/7 (1903) [1:36]
Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951)
Fairy Tale (Skazka), arrangement for violin and piano after Medtner's Op. 20/1 [2:52]
Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)
Petite Suite for piano: Serenade [2:00]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
The Love for Three Oranges, suite for orchestra, Op. 33 bis: March [1:37]
It’s Peaceful Here, arrangement for violin and piano after Rachmaninov's song, Op. 21/7 [1:36]
Aaron Rosand (violin): John Covelli (piano)
rec. 1990 (Heifetz Transcriptions) and 1993 (Romances), ex Vox and Elite
MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC129 [71:36 + 67:27]
Aaron Rosand’s single CD selections of Violin Romances and Heifetz Transcriptions have here been conjoined into a handy twofer that sails majorly under the former’s name. They were recorded in 1993 and 1990 respectively, the Romance disc with pianist Hugh Sung and the Heifetz album with the collaboration of John Covelli. They evince nothing less than stylish and assured music-making.
One might be forgiven for thinking that a whole disc of Violin Romances might end in tears, or at least contain the generic impedimenta of the travelling virtuoso. It is true that so many Romances – they’re literally all Romances by the way – can lead to a desire for some finger-busting fireworks from time to time, but fortunately there is enough variation in chronology, mood and texture to keep ennui at bay – at least for most of the time. Here it helps to have a guide such as Rosand. He’s always been a ferreter-out of interesting corners of the repertoire, and he manages to find a few morsels that may be new to some hearers – the Janáček Romance for example, and the warmly textured Kreisler Op.4. Rosand increases vibrato width and urgency for Dvorák’s Romance, probably better known in its guise for violin and orchestra. Naturally the canonic nineteenth century works are here – Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps and Liszt prominently among them – but he also investigates Clara Schumann’s three Op.22 Romances of which the last is the most ardent and sweeping. He reveals his cherished Nordic affinities via Nielsen and Sibelius, and fortunately plays with great charm that old favourite by Johann Svendsen.
Greater variety comes, necessarily, with the second disc, which charts Jascha Heifetz’s transcriptions. They range from Porgy and Bess to Ravel, via Ponce, Rachmaninoff, Stephen Foster, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and many others. It’s impossible to replicate Heifetz’s approach; indeed imitation would be impossible. Rosand has a much slower vibrato than Heifetz and doesn’t seek to replicate those luscious ‘Heifetz slides’ but he is a super-subtle stylist and brings a rich array of expressive warmth, and virtuosic panache, to all these works. He sways delightfully in Alt Wien, digs into Dinicu’s Hora staccato, and relaxes for Beau Soir with its rich shades of coloration. Yet, though he adopts a patrician approach, he shares the Gershwin ethos with the transcriber, relishing in particular, it seems, A Woman is a Sometime Thing. In this disc his vibrato is ripest and widest in My Man’s Gone Now and at its varied and most bewitching in Bess, You is My Woman Now with its perfectly judged double stops. Programming ensures that the dashing Sabre Dance is followed by a wistful Rachmaninoff song transcription. Heifetz’s transcription of Medtner’s Op.20 No.1 is a real beauty, and beautifully played, rich in soaring lyricism.
Fortunately Rosand’s pianist colleagues are highly capable, and ensemble is solid. The recordings are also first class. If you enjoy the repertoire and missed these discs first time around, here’s another chance to acquire stylish, elegant, and cultivated performances.
Jonathan Woolf
Stylish and assured music-making.