One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,800 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


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

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D, Op.77 (1878) [41:42]
Serenade No.2 in A, Op.16 (1858-59 rev 1875) [36:31]
Endre Wolf (violin)
Sinfonia of London/Anthony Collins
Concertgebouw Orchestra/Carlo Zecchi
rec. November 1958, Hammersmith Town Hall, London (Concerto) and May 1954, Grote Zaal, Concertgebouw (Serenade)
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1090 [78:16]

Handsome tribute has been paid to the Hungarian violinist Endre Wolf in a twofer from Danacord which I reviewed. That said, some elements of his discography – which is not huge – are still emerging in quality transfers, such as this one from Forgotten Records. The focus is Wolf’s November 1958 recording of Brahms’ Violin Concerto, taped in Hammersmith Town Hall, London with the Sinfonia of London directed by Anthony Collins. It was issued on World Record Club and on Columbia Musical Treasures LP and joined what was already a strongly competitive marketplace in which small and budget-priced labels had their part to play in disseminating music to a wide audience. For a player with limited opportunities to record concertos it’s noteworthy that he also set down the Brahms with Goehr and the LSO for Music Appreciation Records.

Wolf’s performance conforms to the kind of architecture frequently encountered today, which is relatively expansive, certainly in the first movement. For every (wartime) Menuhin, Huberman, Kogan, Busch and Heifetz, who took this concerto with decisive speed and intensity, there were numerous other fiddlers – many, naturally, less exalted - who took the Allegro non troppo several notch-markers slower. Whilst my own tastes are toward a fast basic pulse, which doesn’t drag for the lyric episodes – and this frequently turns the direction of the music rhapsodic – I can still appreciate more drawn-out readings that provide a nourishing sense of contrast and warmth. Wolf is just such a measured player and he was fortunate to be paired with the ex-violist Collins who brings out many a string line and counter-theme that tend to be obscured in more saturated readings. The Kreisler cadenza is well dispatched, and there’s a sense of refined elegance in the central movement, without excess of any kind. Again, it’s a touch slow if one’s ideal is a performer such as one of those mentioned earlier, but it’s well sustained. In the finale he catches the Hungarian swagger pretty well – as one would expect given his nationality – without a cosmopolitan gloss being put on things. Collins generates some heat from the Sinfonia of London – he directed them in Mozart’s last two symphonies around this time in a fine pairing later picked up by Classics for Pleasure. There have been many memorable recordings of this concerto, from Kreisler and Szigeti onwards. Wolf’s is finely realised, and highly musical. It’s a memento of a fine player rather than a truly outstanding performance as such.

The coupling is a 1954 Serenade No.2 with the Concertgebouw Orchestra directed by Carlo Zecchi. The Italian – just as well known to collectors for his earlier incarnation as a pianist – was clearly something of a dab hand at this work as he’d recorded it for Cetra. This Philips sounds pretty good, though its re-appearance on Epic later seems to have been in less flattering sound. The close-up perspective on the pizzicati and on the winds grants an intimacy to the aural picture, and some appropriately raw-sounding rustic winds add to the pleasures of the reading. It makes a good foil for the concerto, taking the playing time up to 78 minutes.

There are no notes, but a particularly fine transfer ensures that Wolf’s Brahms, in particular, is heard in the best possible light.

Jonathan Woolf



 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,800 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger