LABELS: EMI Debut
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Trails of Creativity, 1918-1938
WORKS: Much Ado About Nothing Suite; Toccata
PERFORMER: David Frühwirth (violin), Henri Sigfridsson (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: AV 0009
In this intriguing release, Austrian violinist David Frühwirth has done a splendid job in excavating neglected British and Central European repertoire from the inter-war years. Of the ten featured works, only Korngold’s Much Ado about Nothing Suite has enjoyed any real degree of currency among virtuosi. Even more surprising is the fact that other violinists have totally overlooked Stefan Frenkel’s resourceful, if fiendishly difficult, 1930 transcriptions of hit songs from Weill’s Dreigroschenoper. One of the most interesting discoveries must be Walton’s early and expansive Toccata. A harmonically complex work paying homage to both Bartók and Szymanowski, it amounts to far more than an interesting piece of juvenilia. I also admired the powerfully gritty Twenties Suite by Karol Rathaus. By contrast, the 1937 Suite by Egon Wellesz seems curiously unfocused in its structural direction, and while there is a considerable degree of fine craftsmanship in the more stylistically conservative works by Busch and Gál, neither offers material that is truly distinctive. Whatever one’s views on the respective merits of these works, there is little doubt that Frühwirth and his excellent partner Henri Sigfridsson perform everything with fervour and total commitment. Occasionally Frühwirth seems to work too hard to project the music, and could afford a more relaxed and humorous approach. But these are minor issues in a highly enterprising set.