One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881)
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor, Op. 31 (1849-50) [30:50]
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor, Op. 37 (Le Grétry) (1861) [19:56]
Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento/Massimo Quarta (violin)
rec. Auditorium Haydn, Bolzano, October 2007
DYNAMIC CDS640 [50:46]

These are thoroughly fetching accounts of Vieuxtemps’s two most popular concerti. Massimo Quarta produces a vibrant sound that only occasionally turns edgy, filling out the lyric lines with expansive, full-bowed tone, soaring over the full orchestra. Intonation in alt is spot-on, though, oddly, the little notes in the “scrubbing” passagework don't all really speak dead center. Neither is the soloist just concerned with sounding “pretty”: he digs incisively into the double-stopped passages.

Quarta also assumes the conducting duties, perhaps overambitiously for these large-scaled scores. He certainly has the musicality for the job, laying out the orchestra-only passages with spacious, open textures and drawing sensitive, nuanced phrasing, especially from the woodwinds. He also knows how to offset the composer’s tendency towards squareness: the strings’ “oom-pah” figures in the A minor’s opening movement, for example, which can plod, are graceful and gently propulsive. When Quarta’s occupied with playing, however, the orchestra is left more or less on its own, everything remains in good order, but the attack is less precise, the textures more opaque.

The recorded sound is beautiful -- colourful and clear -- though the basses are resonant, even a bit boomy, in the Finale marziale of the D minor.

The fine analog recordings of this coupling by Arthur Grumiaux (Philips) and Itzhak Perlman (EMI) have worn well. Among more recent issues, it’s swings and roundabouts between this and the contemporaneous Hyperion issue (CDA67798). Both soloists are stylish, but Quarta commands a more confident tone than Hyperion's Viviane Hagner. Hyperion’s Royal Flemish Philharmonic is warm and polished; Dynamic's Italian orchestra plays with more character, despite an earthbound moment or two. Hyperion does offer a third piece, the Fantasia appassionata -- essentially a concerto telescoped into one movement -- and for completists this may be the deciding factor. Note that the two discs track the A minor concerto differently: Dynamic includes the cadenza with the first movement, then tracks the Adagio and the brief Allegro con fuoco separately; Hyperion gives the cadenza its own track, then combines the latter two sections. Either will do, though the choices speak to, or betray, rather different ideas about the piece's structure.

Both on the rear leaflet and in the booklet, Dynamic lists the program timing as "50:65," which is certainly novel; I've listed the correct timing in the headnote.

Stephen Francis Vasta
Stephen Francis Vasta is a New York-based conductor, coach, and journalist.

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger