Hungarian cello concertos





75th Birthday Tribute

Newest Releases




Piano Trios
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

American Tribute
New Releases from Ongaku Records, Inc.


String Quartet 1 & 2
Pavel Hass Quartet


RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Dvorak Opera Premiere
BEST SELLER


The Best


Vanhal


Francis Pott


Mahler 9 Elder


New Lyrita Release


British Violin and Cello Concertos


Lyrita New Recording


RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Ritchie Symphony 4

Mozart concertos

Editorial Board
MusicWeb
Classical Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Pr�alable
Alto
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hall�
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get


Availability
Nilla Pierrou - Mina jubileer (My Jubilees)
CD 1 Bach [77:45]
CD 2 Brahms Huybrechts Beethoven [76:09]
CD 3 Beckman Grieg Schubert Stenhammar Kodly [78:30]
CD 4 Larsson Ysae Berg [67:49]
Nilla Pierrou (violin)
Eugne De Canck (piano) (CD 1 tr. 6-8; CD 2 tr. 1-10; CD 3 tr. 1-12); Oskarshamnsensemblen/Claes Meritzh (CD 1 tr. 9-14); Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Jorma Panula (CD 4 tr. 1-3); Filharmonie van Antwerpen/Frdric Devreese (CD 4 tr. 4); Junge Deutsche Philharmonie/Georg A. Albrecht (CD 4 tr. 5-6)
rec. various venues, 1973 1985
Full track-details at end of review
OAK GROVE CD 2030 [4 CDs: 77:45 + 76:09 + 78:30 + 67:49]


 
A year ago I reviewed a 3-CD box with recordings by Nilla Pierrou (see review) and made it one of my Recordings of the Year. The music, some of it rarely heard, was recorded from live concerts or studio recordings preserved in radio archives.
 
This new box also contains some music originally issued on commercial LPs. My Jubilees is the title of the box, since Nilla in 2012 celebrated her 65th birthday, 50 years since she started her violin studies with Sven Karpe in Stockholm, 40 years since she got her diploma with Andr Gertler in Brussels. I praised her beautiful tone, her musicality and her technical brilliance when her first box appeared and I see no reason to change my verdict. There are also quite a few rarities here, even though there is more standard repertoire than before. The quality of the recordings is generally high, though the Bach A Major sonata on CD 1 is rather dim. This first disc is entirely devoted to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and it makes an excellent start with a marvellous reading of the D Minor partita, which can be, and has been, a stumbling block for many a talented violinist. No such problems here. The playing is so assured, the tone glows with ardour and the concluding chaconne, with a playing time of 15 minutes, leaves the listener breathless. The A Major sonata also goes well, though one wishes that Eugne De Canck had played harpsichord instead of a modern grand.
 
When we reach the two violin concertos, some reservations begin to creep in. These are studio recordings and the technical quality is excellent; it goes almost without saying that the solo playing is on the highest possible level. The drawback is the orchestra. Oskarshamnsensemblen, as it was then, later renamed Camerata Roman and since 2004 Camerata Nordica, is rather heavy-footed. Speeds are generally slow and what we hear is lacking in the rhythmic exuberance of the best continental chamber orchestras and Im not talking of period instrument ensembles. The Cologne Chamber Orchestra, which I had at hand for comparison, is in a quite different league when it comes to lightness of touch. Heavy ritardandi also jar. It is a relief that the concluding Allegro assai of the E Major concerto has the dancing quality one was longing for.
 
CDs 2 and 3 are entirely devoted to violin sonatas plus a couple of smaller pieces. Brahms sonata in A Major Op. 100 is arguably his very best chamber music work and the playing here is absolutely riveting. I was lucky to hear this sonata with Nilla at a concert in 2007, when she was on a farewell tour before her retirement. It is nice to find in the booklet notes an excerpt from Christer Eklunds review of the same occasion; he is also the producer of this box. I cant resist quoting it: The performance of Brahms Violin Sonata in A major will remain in my memory. Moderate tempi, wonderfully long-spun bridges, deepest insight in a performance of highest international class an exceptional experience of grace (Falu-Kuriren 18.9.2007). I couldnt express it better myself.
 
The music of the Belgian composer Albert Huybrechts (1899 1938) is rarely heard today. Besides a handful of orchestral works he composed chamber music and a number of songs. Very little seems to be recorded. On the Cyprs label there is a disc with three chamber music works, including the violin sonata, and another with his complete songs. The sonata is certainly fascinating, dissonant but full of thrilling ideas and it is rhythmically and dramatically captivating. This is music to return to.
 
Not as often heard as the Spring and Kreutzer sonatas, the last of Beethovens ten sonatas is still a marvellous work, contemporaneous with the Archduke trio. The sonata is rather idyllic. Nilla Pierrou plays it with lush tone but avoids sentimentality.
 
CD 3 opens with a Swedish work, Bror Beckmans Violin Sonata, written in the early 1890s before he became too involved in the administrative work that became his main occupation. He ended up as Director of the Conservatory of Music in Stockholm. The sonata is fresh and youthful, lively in the first movement with long melodic arches. The slow movement is also melodically attractive, beautiful without sentimentality. All-over this is remarkably mature music. As opposed to Griegs sonata there are no signs of folk influences. Neither are there in Emil Sjgrens music. Sjgren was thirteen years Beckmans senior but only the first two of his five sonatas for violin and piano were writtenbefore Beckmans sole work in the genre. Considering this it is remarkable that Beckman in his Op. 1 produced a work that can be mentioned in the same breath as Griegs and Sjgrens sonatas. Such inventive, well crafted and melodiously attractive music should be heard more frequently. We have to be grateful to Nilla Pierrou for opting for this reissue. It first came out in the early 1980s on a Caprice LP, coupled with Griegs better known Sonata No. 1. This is also the work of a young man he was 22 and it too is permeated with youthful exuberance. Griegs close bonds to Norwegian folk music is particularly in evidence in the second movement, even though formally it is a minuet with trio. In the final movement there are traces of folk song, skilfully hidden in the fugato of the development.
 
Technically this recording is superb. The Caprice label, which produced primarily Swedish art music including jazz and folk music since the late 1960s is now defunct but a lot of the material is still available as downloads from www.theclassicalshop.net.
 
Schuberts Duo sonata in A Major was only published in 1851 but was composed when he was twenty. As in all the chamber works in this box Nilla Pierrous warm, beautiful tone and fluent bowing are ideally suited to the graceful melodies. This also goes for the second of Wilhelm Stenhammars Two Sentimental Romances from 1910. Among the best known and most loved Swedish compositions for violin they are commonly heard with orchestral accompaniment. Performed with piano, as here, the F Minor romance sounds very fresh indeed and in a way even more Nordic in tone.
 
In the company of Kodly we travel to the little village of Kll, north-east of Budapest. The dances of which Kodly wrote a version for four voices and a small orchestra in 1950, were arranged for violin and piano a few years later by Grigori Feighin. Sentiment, rhythms and virtuosity are central ingredients in this work.
 
The flexible playing of Pierrous long-time collaborator Eugne De Canck should also be mentioned. They are really duo partners on equal terms.
 
Lars Erik Larsson is probably best known, also in his native Sweden, for the Pastoral Suite and God in Disguise, both melodious and idyllic and written just before and at the beginning of World War 2. The Violin Concerto from 1952 is stylistically a far cry from those earlier works. Weak neo-classicism is supplanted by a kind of expressionism where influences from both Stravinsky and Bartk can be traced. Andr Gertler, who was a close friend of Bartks, collaborated with Larsson over the solo part and also wrote the important cadenza in the first movement. The second movement is marked Andante pastorale and has a prominent English horn solo. There are harsher winds blowing now in this one-time idyll, wasted through the intervening war. A momentary wash of Elysian strings soon gives way to the brass that dominate the fields where sheep are no longer safely grazing. The third movement opens Lento but after just a few bars it abruptly changes to Allegro molto. There are frequent tempo shifts and in the middle of the movement we are temporarily transported to a cathedral. In the main this is a rather carefree and virtuoso finale to a concerto that has established itself as one of the few important 20th century violin concertos. Rosenberg, Sderlundh and Linde could also be mentioned, all three written during the first half of the 1950s, and also Allan Petterssons monumental second concerto from 1980.
 
Alban Bergs concerto is generally regarded as the greatest 20th century violin concerto and it was also to be his swansong. Nilla Pierrou relates in her notes to this issue how this recording came about. In January 1978 someone from Westdeutscher Rundfunk phoned Andr Gertler and asked if he had a student who could replace a certain violinist in the Berg concerto two months later. Gertler said Yes, and then he asked Nilla to learn it. She had never heard it or seen the music before but she learnt it and played it, by heart at a concert in Frankfurt. It was recorded by Hessischen Rundfunk. When Pierrou prepared this box she found the recording the quality of which is really good - in the archives. This was unfortunately the first and only time she had an opportunity to play the concerto. I wish more people could have heard her playing it. I have never heard the concluding Adagio played with greater warmth.
 
In between these two concertos we hear her in Ysaes Chant dhiver (Winter Song) from 1902. It is a late Romantic composition with lush orchestration filled with chromaticism. Not too wintry, at least from a Scandinavian perspective, which is understandable when we know it was written London. It is a delightful piece even so.
 
Apart from some reservations concerning the Bach concertos I am full of praise for this issue. You wont hear better violin playing anywhere. The repertoire is so attractive: from standard works (Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Berg) to complete rarities. What is so gratifying is that all these recordings have been preserved and that the technical quality is so uniformly good. Production values are also high with a 44-page booklet, illustrated with numerous photos and facsimiles, valuable annotations on the music by producer Christer Eklund and personal reminiscences by Nilla Pierrou. A goldmine in every respect.
 
Gran Forsling
 
see also review by Jonathan Woolf

Full track-details
Nilla Pierrou - Mina jubileer (My Jubilees)
CD 1 [77:45]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 1750)
Partita D Minor BWV 1004 (1720)
1. Allemande [2:38]
2. Corrente [1:28]
3. Sarabande [4:41]
4. Gigue [2:22]
5. Chaconne [15:26]
Sonata A Major for harpsichord and violin BWV 1015 (before 1725)
6. Dolce. Allegro assai [6:45]
7. Andante un poco [3:45]
8. Presto [3:27]
Violin Concerto A Minor BWV 1041 (ca 1730)
9. Allegro [4:33]
10. Andante [8:03]
11. Allegro assai [4:18]
Violin Concerto E Major BWV 1042 (before 1730)
12. Allegro [8:58]
13. Adagio [7:53]
14. Allegro assai [2:59]
 
CD 2 [76:09]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 1897)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 A Major, Op. 100 (1886)
1. Allegro amabile [8:51]
2. Andante tranquillo. Vivace. Andante. Vivace di pi. Andante. Vivace [7:53]
3. Allegretto grazioso (quasi Andante) [6:58]
Albert HUYBRECHTS (1899 1938)
Sonata for Violin and Piano (1925)
4. Allegro moderato [5:42]
5. Lento [10:06]
6. Finale [6:33]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 1827)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 10 G Major, Op. 96 (1812)
7. Allegro moderato [10:06]
8. Adagio espressivo [7:48]
9. Scherzo (Allegro) & Trio [2:00]
10. Poco Allegretto [9:52]
 
CD 3 [78:30]
Bror BECKMAN (1866 1929)
Sonata for Violin and Piano A Minor, Op. 1 (ca 1890)
1. Allegro moderato ed energico [9:32]
2. Andante cantabile [7:28]
3. Allegro ma non troppo [9:41]
Edvard GRIEG (1843 1907)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 F Major, Op. 8 (1865)
4. Allegro con brio [7:51]
5. Allegro quasi Andantino [6:22]
6. Allegro molto vivace [6:52]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797 1828)
Sonata for Violin and Piano A Major (Duo), D 574, Op. Posth. 162
7. Allegro moderato [6:12]
8. Scherzo & Trio. Presto [4:11]
9. Andantino [4:44]
10. Allegro vivace [3:45]
Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871 1927)
11. Sentimental Romance F Minor, Op. 28 (1910) [6:23]
Zoltan KODLY (1882 1967)
12. Kllai ketts (Dances from Kall) arr. Feighin) [5:07]
 
CD 4 [67:49]
Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908 1986)
Violin Concerto, Op. 42 (1952)
1. Moderato (cadenza Andr Gertler) [11:06]
2. Andante pastorale [8:05]
3. Lento. Allegro molto [7:18]
Eugne YSAE (1858 1931)
4. Chant dhiver, Op. 15 (Winter Song) (1902) [15:20]
Alban BERG (1885 1935)
Violin Concerto In memory of an angel (1935)
5. Andante. Allegretto [11:11]
6. Allegro, ma sempre rubato, frei wie eine Kadenz. Adagio [14:29]
Nilla Pierrou (violin)
Eugne De Canck (piano) (CD 1 tr. 6-8; CD 2 tr. 1-10; CD 3 tr. 1-12); Oskarshamnsensemblen/Claes Meritzh (CD 1 tr. 9-14); Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Jorma Panula (CD 4 tr. 1-3); Filharmonie van Antwerpen/Frdric Devreese (CD 4 tr. 4); Junge Deutsche Philharmonie/Georg A. Albrecht (CD 4 tr. 5-6)
rec. various venues, 1973 1985
OAK GROVE CD 2030 [77:45 + 76:09 + 78:30 + 67:49]