Adams, Corigliano, Enescu, Waxman

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COMPOSERS: Adams,Corigliano,Enescu,Waxman
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: John Adams
WORKS: Violin Concerto
PERFORMER: Chloë Hanslip (violin), Charles Owen (piano); Royal PO/Leonard Slatkin
CATALOGUE NO: 8.559302
It’s excellent sense to couple John

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Adams’s Violin Concerto with John

Corigliano’s Chaconne based on his

film music for The Red Violin. Both

require bravura of the highest order;

Adams’s work has been one of the

most stunningly successful recent

concertos in the grand manner,

and Corigliano’s piece is one of his

strongest, the chaconne form lending

PATRICK DE SPIEGELAERE

Revealing Ravel

roger nichols relishes Ravel’s authentic colours and style

focus and backbone to his invention.

And the Adams too centres on a

big chaconne, the haunting ‘Body

Through Which the Dream Flows’.

But the two Franz Waxman pieces,

completing what Naxos overoptimistically

terms this ‘broad

survey of American violin music’,

make curious fillers. Waxman’s

two-minute reworking of part of

Enescu’s first Romanian Rhapsody

has no sensible function except as

an eccentric encore. His Tristan and

Isolde Fantasia, created for the 1946

film Humoresque, is an efficientenough

pot-pourri on Wagner’s

themes, sugared with solo violin, but

the almost-as-prominent piano part

adds a teensy touch of tawdriness

– which does not, however, disturb

the purity of Chloë Hanslip’s tone.

This is the fourth recording

of the Adams Concerto. The

first, by Gidon Kremer with the

Orchestra of St Luke’s on Nonesuch,

remains dazzling in the cruelly

demanding solo part, but Kremer

is uncomfortably spotlit by the

recording; Hanslip, better balanced

and with much more orchestral

detail apparent, gives few points

away to him in virtuosity, even in the

frenetic perpetuum mobile finale, and

she seems superior in eloquence to

Robert McDuffie with the Houston

Symphony on Telarc. In the absence

of Leila Josefowicz’s superb account

on the short-lived Late Junction

label, Hanslip’s new version seems to

me undoubtedly the one to acquire.

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Calum MacDonald