Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906)
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.54 (1891) [17:54]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35 (1878) [32:49]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 (1844) [25:10]
Aaron Rosand (violin)
Orchestra of Radio Luxemburg/Louis de Froment
rec. 1973, Sudwest Tonstudio, Stuttgart
VOX CLASSICS 7211 [76:01]
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.
Jonathan Woolf
It’s, above all, as a tribute to Rosand and Vox that this disc should be welcomed. 

see also review by Rob Barnett

Masterwork Index: Tchaikovsky concerto ~~ Mendelssohn concerto
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