One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
55,946 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 







International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements


3 for 2 Offer



All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews


Puertas de Madrid
www.emecdiscos.com
All EMEC reviews


www.emecdiscos.com
All EMEC reviews


All Reference Recordings


Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
review
All Divine Art Reviews


Debussy Complete Preludes

 


 


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

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616
jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Wartime Consolations
Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963)

Concerto funebre [21:27]
Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996)
Concertino Op.42 [17:36]
Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes Op.47 No.3 (arr. Nowicka) [10:44]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Unfinished Sonata (1945) for violin and piano [5:25]
Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn/Ruben Gazarian
Linus Roth (violin), José Gallardo (piano)
rec. 2015, Kulturforum Saline, Offenau, Germany, Motormusic Studio, Mechelen, Belgium (no date))
Hybrid SACD/CD Surround 5.1 & Stereo
reviewed in surround
CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72680 SACD [55.28]

This is an unexpectedly curious coupling. Hartmann is fairly well known as a serious and significant figure not given to show. Weinberg is on the rise from almost complete obscurity and so far has also seemed very serious. His opera The Passenger which was produced at English National Opera not so long ago, shows just how serious. By choosing to call this disc 'Wartime Consolations' one's expectations are that the Weinberg pieces will to some extent match the deeply sad and disturbing world of Hartmann's Concerto funebre. Not so. Weinberg is represented here by pieces that show a very different side to his personality. The Concertino and the Rhapsody turn out to be lyrical and virtuoso by turns, the latter decided virtuoso. Then there is the Shostakovich premiere. A five minute surprise of great interest.

This recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's violin concerto brings my tally to four recordings. The old Supraphon performance issued in about 1969, coupled with the Hindemith Concerto, was played by André Gertler with no less a figure than Karel Ančerl conducting the Czech Philharmonic. It was a significant discovery and more recent recordings by Thomas Zehetmair and Gordan Nikolić have just strengthened my belief that we have a major concerto here which should be played much more regularly. Since Linus Roth makes a first class job of the work, there is no reason to hesitate. The concerto has a haunting opening, announcing a key theme that will return to trouble the final pages of this tragic work. The Largo and Andante are effectively a long-drawn lament, both lovely and very sad. The Allegro di molto is dramatic and rhythmic, a sort of Shostakovich and Bartók mix that slowly loses impetus to end in solemn restraint. This prepares the way for the deeply pessimistic final Chorale. This picks up the theme of the opening and draws the music to an ending of utter desolation - both wonderful and moving. The final chord is spine-tingling.

After this, Weinberg's Concertino is a shock. Given the distressing course of his life both before and after this time, this lyrical and upbeat concerto is almost too untroubled. The notes suggest he was doing his best to satisfy the Soviet authorities. However, because he was a very talented musician he achieves a light effect without sounding in the least trivial. Two attractive outer movements frame a lovely slow one which opens with the cadenza. The coda is very lively indeed. The Rhapsody needs some explaining. What we have recorded here is an arrangement by Ewelina Nowicka for violin and orchestra of the second version of his Rhapsody which Weinberg composed for violin and piano. The first version was for orchestra alone. Since Weinberg himself made a version for violin and orchestra, but the score is lost, this represents a reconstruction more than an arrangement. A note in the booklet goes into still more detail. Suffice to say that this is still more bright and cheerful than the Concertino and has a second part that reminds one of Khachaturian at his most energetic. It is terrific fun. Apparently David Oistrakh used to play this as an encore piece; not at all surprising.

Finally the Shostakovich: in 1945 the composer wrote the exposition of what would have been a very large violin sonata. A few bars into the development he simply stopped composing. The performance also simply stops. Since the material turns up in his great Tenth Symphony one can appreciate that this may be only five minutes of music, but it is the real thing and worth rescuing from the archive.

Add to all this top class recordings and first class performances and this simply has to be bought.

Dave Billinge

Previous reviews: Michael Cookson and Gwyn Parry-Jones

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews


All Chandos reviews


All Hyperion reviews


All Foghorn reviews


All Troubadisc reviews


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All Eloquence reviews


All Lyrita Reviews

 


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali


Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4


French Cello Concertos

 

October


Shostakovich