Ades • Sibelius

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Ades,Sibelius
LABELS: Avie
ALBUM TITLE: Ades/Sibelius: Violin Concertos
WORKS: Ades: Violin Concerto; Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Three Humoresques
PERFORMER: Augustin Hadelich (violin); Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Hannu Lintu
CATALOGUE NO: AV2276

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The first recording of Adès’s Concerto – conducted by the composer, with the dedicatee Anthony Marwood as soloist – has a strong claim to authenticity. But, unlike many contemporary scores, Concentric Paths has now been played worldwide, and Hadelich yields nothing to Marwood in his handling of the fiendishly tricky solo part. In the short first movement, speed and accuracy in the stratospheric reaches of the instrument are negotiated with a virtuosity that doesn’t shut out intimate emotional engagement. That comes to fruition in the longer central movement, an intense, passacaglia-like structure, where the palpable feeling of pain ends in exhaustion. Even Hadelich is unable to rescue the last movement, which can’t decide whether it’s a primeval dance or a Romantic throwback, and ends up being neither.

Sibelius, on the other hand, knew exactly where he was going in the finale of his Concerto, and so do Hadelich and Lintu. It’s fast and exciting, and the lack of any technical obstacle, together with the vivid recording, make this one of the most convincing and involving versions of this movement. Hadelich is just as magnetic in the earlier movements, which sound emotional but unsentimental, backed all the way by the orchestra. Perhaps he’s a little too close in the balance at times, but this is disc which grows in stature on each hearing.

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Martin Cotton