LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Jolivet Violin Concerto and Chausson Poeme, Op.25
WORKS: Violin Concerto • Poeme
PERFORMER: Isabelle Faust (violin); Deutsches
SO Berlin/Marko Letonja
This disc presents us with a fascinating and highly rewarding pairing. On the one hand, thePoème by Chausson is amon the most recorded French works for violin and orchestra. On the other, there has been just one previous commercial recording of Jolivet’s Violin Concerto – last of the composer’s 12 concertos.
Yet the Chausson is not merely a sweetener, for the works share a sense of exotic languor. In Jolivet’s case the influence is Mexican, and the concerto stands as a wonderful riposte to those who feel that he went off the boil in the latter part of his career.
Following a three-movement classical design, the heart of this Concerto is the central Largo, which explodes out of its rarefied textures into a fierce allegro, before subsiding once more.
The urgency and colour of early works such as Mana is there, allied to a fine treatment of his orchestra, including a passage with just side drum and harp glissandos.
Isabelle Faust clearly has the measure of Jolivet’s aesthetic, switching seemingly effortlessly from gossamer-like delicacy at the end of the Largo to the driving brutality that opens the final allegramente.
The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Marko Letonja stick with her through every twist and turn, all captured in fine sound.
Never mind the Chausson, in which Faust’s over-insistent use of vibrato
makes her less persuasive than Philippe Graffin’s stunning account (Avie).
With the Jolivet, I find Faust makes a very strong case for the work entering the mainstream repertoire.
In short, it’s a performance that will knock your socks off.