WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 60; The Golem – suite; Two Tableaux from Belshazzar
PERFORMER: Elmar Oliveira (violin); Berlin RSO/Joseph Silverstein; Czech PO, Barcelona SO/Gerard Schwarz
CATALOGUE NO: 8.559408
Having admired Achron’s violin pieces for some time, I was eager to hear his Violin Concerto No. 1: a newspaper review of its US premiere in 1927, quoted on the CD’s back cover, describes the work as a manifestation of ‘Dionysian imbalanced exaltation from restless meditation of strongly religious character to dizzying Dervish-like ecstasy’. Alas, for all Elmer Oliveira’s brilliant playing, the work hardly lives up to such a billing; its lengthy and discursive first movement seems bereft of either structural discipline or harmonic and melodic distinction. Achron’s qualities as a miniaturist and master of colour are more impressively shown in the two orchestral suites.