Violin Concertos by Glazunov and Khachaturian performed by Philippe Quint

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Glazunov,Kabalevsky,Khachaturian
LABELS: Avanti
ALBUM TITLE: Glazunov • Khachaturian * Kabalevsky
WORKS: Violin Concertos; Colas Breugnon – Overture
PERFORMER: Philippe Quint (violin); Bochum Symphony Orchestra/Steven Sloane
CATALOGUE NO: 5414 706 1047-2 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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It is fascinating to compare Philippe Quint’s heartfelt playing of Glazunov’s Concerto with Jascha Heifetz’s classic stereo RCA account with Walter Hendl, which for a generation of record collectors virtually defined how this piece should sound. Remarkably it is Heifetz, with his no-nonsense quicksilver agility and rapier-like thrust, who sounds the more modern player, whereas Quint’s tonal opulence, generously inflected with subtle portamentos, sounds like a throwback to the glory days of Fritz Kreisler. Quint is certainly no slouch when it comes to moving the music forward, yet he always finds time to give his phrasing an affectionate lilt, as if he were saying to his listeners ‘now just listen to this!’ – a rich, ruby port to set beside Heifetz’s sparkling effervescence.

The Khachaturian is a very different kind of piece and although Quint acknowledges having incorporated Henryk Szeryng’s edits to the mighty first movement cadenza, his ravishing, fine-spun cantabile and seductive charm are more reminiscent of Ruggiero Ricci’s glowing 1950s account with Anatole Fistoulari and the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Decca. If Leonid Kogan (RCA Living Stereo) probes the score’s ‘dark’ side and Itzhak Perlman (EMI/Warner) revels in the score’s swashbuckling bravado, Quint focuses on its radiant melodiousness, swaying captivatingly in the finale where others keep their heads down in a mad dash to the finishing post.

Steven Sloane and the Bochum Symphony Orchestra provide first-rate support, slightly more discreetly balanced than is the modern trend, and although the Kabalevsky overture makes an engaging curtain-raiser, that composer’s concerto would have really provided the musical icing on the cake.

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Julian Haylock