This disc is a generous 80 minutes’ worth (despite its indigestible diet of D tonality throughout) of rare violin concertos that you are unlikely to hear in the concert hall. All three works (written in the last quarter of the 19th century) are retrospective glances at a Romantic genre which began with Mendelssohn and peaked with Brahms. They are given committed performances by Ingolf Turban, a young talent not short of either lyrical tone or dazzling virtuosity. Busoni’s concerto is really the most interesting piece with its occasional parody of Beethoven and Brahms, its fiendishly difficult finale and some wonderful orchestral solos managed masterfully by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.
The Bruch gets the sweet-toned and lyrical treatment it needs, the orchestra lushly supportive throughout. With its innovative form and explorative recitativo style, this is not a work to be dismissed lightly. Strauss’s concerto was literally written at school. Though conventional in outlook it nevertheless shows signs of the later Strauss in both melodic line and orchestration, with some felicitous touches for French horn (no doubt his horn-player father’s influence at work) and divided lower strings. This is a most enjoyable recording by a young soloist with a promising future. Christopher Fifield