Lalo • Tchaikovksy: Violin Concerto etc (Elinor D’Melon)
Ellinor D’Melon (violin); RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/Jaime Martín (Rubicon)
Lalo • Tchaikovsky
Lalo: Symphonie espagnole; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Ellinor D’Melon (violin); RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/Jaime Martín
Rubicon RCD1106 72:06 mins
An album debut by a violinist in her early twenties needs something special to set it apart. In Ellinor D’Melon’s case, that certainly doesn’t come from her very familiar repertoire. Playing each of the pieces on a different instrument does, however, strike a different note. For the Tchaikovsky Concerto, recorded in 2019, the violinist was loaned a Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ instrument from circa 1744, right at the end of the luthier’s life. For the Lalo, recorded two years later, it was an earlier Guarneri, from 1724.
Violins and music are partnered wisely, with the instrument boasting the fullest and darkest tone matched to Tchaikovsky’s Russian turbulence, leaving the 1724 violin’s lighter colouring basking in Franco-Spanish sunshine. And though D’Melon (born in Jamaica, of Cuban origin) has sun in her bones, there’s no doubt which violin, music and performance allows her to leave the strongest impression. Right from the start of the Tchaikovsky, your ears are hooked by her strong, confident tone. Her fingers never seem to take a breath as the long burnished phrases roll on and on. You notice too the panache of the Irish orchestra under their principal conductor, Jaime Martín. Woodwinds especially are startlingly colourful and vibrant.
Martín ensures that the Spanish rhythms in Lalo’s agreeable diversion have the right snap, though D’Melon and her violin display less personality overall in this work, not helped by their more recessed position this time round in the sound balance at Dublin’s National Concert Hall. The Tchaikovsky is D’Melon’s calling card.