One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


16th-19th November


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K207 (1773) [19:24]
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K219 (1775) [28:10]
Sinfonia concertante in E flat major for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, K364 (1779) [29:29]
Vilde Frang (violin)
Maxim Rysanov (viola)
Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen
rec. 2014, St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, UK
WARNER CLASSICS 2564 627677 [77:24]

Still they keep coming. Mozart’s violin concertos are more popular than ever, judged by the number of recent recordings. Now it’s the turn of Vilde Frang, the young Norwegian violinist. She seems very well suited to the two violin concertos on this disc. Her performance of the Concerto No. 1 is especially appealing. She approaches the work with a light, airy tone that really sparkles. Her Classical style is impeccable and she is accompanied well by the period-instrument Arcangelo. There is a nice orchestral balance with the horns adding lustre to the texture. I reviewed a disc of Mozart concertos with Renaud Capuçon and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Louis Langrée (Virgin Classics) several years ago that also included the Sinfonia concertante. That recording of the concerto greatly impressed me and this new one is every bit its equal. Although Langrée’s orchestra used modern instruments, Langrée eschewed vibrato for the most part as Cohen does here. If anything, I prefer Cohen’s lighter touch in the first movement. The second movement Adagio is rather a tie. Frang plays it with great feeling and elegance and Capuçon is a bit warmer, with luscious violin tone. Both are also excellent in the finale, taking it at a real lick, but keeping it light and breezy.

Where Capuçon/Langrée included the Concerto No. 3, Frang/Cohen give us the last of these works, the so-called “Turkish” Concerto. Frang’s account again is light and crisp, balancing well with the orchestra, but also bringing more weight to the music. The horns and oboe really enhance the performance of the slow movement, without ever dominating. Then in the finale they don’t rush the minuet or overdo the “Turkish” episode but still convey its urgency. Their understated approach is a good antidote to those who try to make too much of its exotic element.

The Sinfonia concertante is a much bigger and more mature work, one of Mozart’s greatest. Here I prefer Capuçon/Langrée with violist Antoine Tamestit, whose more symphonic approach really suits the piece. All the same, Frang and Rysanov are no slouches and their smaller scale performance, especially in the wonderful slow movement, is deeply felt. Theirs may be more introverted than the other account, but the warmth they convey is captivating. This is particularly evident in the slow movement’s cadenza Mozart provided. They take the finale at a slightly faster tempo than Capuçon/Tamestit, but the latter is a bit more exciting. What really seals my preference for the earlier account, though, is the projection of the important horn part in this work. For some reason, the balance here is not as good as it was in the violin concertos. Cohen uses natural horns but they do not project well in the Sinfonia concertante. They sound rather dull next to Langrée’s version, which I assume uses valved instruments. Otherwise, both performances do justice to this marvellous music.

Most listeners would be happy with these performances and the slight quibbles I have with the Sinfonia concertante should not deter anyone from hearing them. The CD booklet contains adequate notes on the works, some photos of the musicians, and a listing of the Arcangelo musicians, staff, trustees, and donors, but nothing about the musicians.

Leslie Wright


Previous review: Michael Cookson

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger