These Vox staples were recorded almost forty years ago. Aaron
Rosand made most of his internationally admired discs outside
his native America, often - as here - with orchestras characterised
as second tier. Nevertheless second tier or not, robust support
was guaranteed and the market was enriched by affordable examples
of both his art and some worthwhile concerto performances.
Foremost amongst them here is the Arensky, a work that has never
generated as much enthusiasm as the similarly small-sized Glazunov
Concerto. True, it lacks the memorable ideas of Glazunov’s
work, which was composed over a decade later, but it does possess
charm of its own. And when a player of romantic intensity such
as Rosand is involved, succulent finger position changes and
tonal warmth are givens, so too the triumphant negotiation of
the tricky running passagework, and elegance in the slow movement.
Charm, style, lyrical warmth, stylistic appreciation: all these
qualities are to be heard in this performance, dutifully accompanied,
with Louis de Fromet ensuring that things never get slack rhythmically.
The couplings are apt. In the Tchaikovsky (especially apt) some
of the connective phrasing in the first movement is unusual
and intriguing, and has clearly been carefully thought through.
The approach is not hyper-virtuosic and avoids beefy, muscular
tone. The slow movement is deftly sensitive and lyric with fresh
playing. The finale though has one or two rather energetic folkloric
fillips, which sound less and less convincing on repeated listening,
and sometimes the rhythm is too diffuse. The brass is backwardly
placed and thus excitement is somewhat reined in.
Mendelssohn’s Concerto responds very well to Rosand’s
essentially sweet-toned approach. But there is urgency as well
as lyricism, and some well-conveyed diminuendos in the finale.
The orchestral winds come through well.
It’s, above all, as a tribute both to Rosand and to the
indestructible Vox that this disc should be welcomed.
see also review by Rob
Masterwork Index: Tchaikovsky
concerto ~~ Mendelssohn