ALBUM TITLE: Dvorak Concertos
WORKS: Piano Concerto; Violin Concerto
PERFORMER: James Ehnes (vln), Rustem Hayroudinoff (pno), BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10309
When Dvoák wrote his piano concerto in 1876 there were few native Czech models to turn to; unsurprising, he looked to Beethoven, notably his Third Piano Concerto, as a lead. Famously, Dvoák’s piano part is deemed ineffective and attracted an extensive makeover by the pianist and teacher, Vilem Kurz. Increasingly, recorded performers seem to be returning to Dvoák’s original, the delicacy of which may have been prompted by the fact that the orchestras he was used to in Prague had much smaller string sections than the 20th-century norm. Rustem Hayroudinoff, however, in an otherwise considered performance, opts for a blend of Dvoák and Kurz. The reading as a whole is often attractively expressive, though the outer movements at times lack impetus. This, coupled with some untidy orchestral detail and a recorded balance that overly favours the piano, puts this recording a long way behind Aimard’s recording of the original solo part with Harnoncourt.
Benefiting from expert advice from Joachim, Dvoák’s solo part for the Violin Concerto has eluded the tampering of virtuosos. In general, this is a more successful performance with a particularly ravishing account of the slow movement. Once again the first movement could have done with a stronger sense of line, but the balance is certainly more satisfactory. While certainly credible, this reading does not really approach Isabelle Faust and Blohlávek. Jan Smaczny