COMPOSERS: GlazunovWieniawskiStravinskyTartini
LABELS: Supraphon
ALBUM TITLE: Ida Haendel in Prague
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Divertimento for Piano and Violin
PERFORMER: Ida HaendelAlfred HolecekPrague Symphony OrchestraVaclav Smetacek
Ida Haendel has never been prolific


in the studio, so it’s good to see these

Czech recordings reappearing. The

opening of the Glazunov Violin

Concerto immediately shows her

qualities – an intense sound with a

focused vibrato, strong but not too

sweet, and an ability to go for the

long phrase with a completely natural

rubato. She’s matched in that by

V‡clav Smet‡?ek, who follows her

through every twist and turn, and

adds some nice touches of his own in

the tuttis. Haendel also produces the

fireworks in the double stops of the

cadenza and finale in the Glazunov,

and even more in the hair-raising

ending of the Wieniawski Second:

this also features an especially warm

account of the emotionally charged

slow movement.

There’s also warmth in Stravinsky’s

Divertimento for piano and violin,

which at times takes it close to the

Tchaikovsky themes upon which it’s

based. The rhythms and syncopations

are as tight as you could wish for,

though, and there’s an acute awareness

of variety of timbre. And if the Tartini

Devil’s Trill Sonata is presented in

what now seems an old-fashioned

style, it lacks nothing in elegance of

phrasing, and the trilling in the finale

is suitably devilish. Recordings are a

little boxy, but don’t get in the way of


the music. Martin Cotton