Arensky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky

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COMPOSERS: Arensky,Rimsky-Korsakov,Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Violin Concerto in A minor. Fantasia on Two Russian Themes; Violin Concerto in D
PERFORMER: Mark Lubotsky (violin) Estonian National SO/Arvo Volmer
This CD is an interesting mix of the familiar with the unknown, though the influence of Tchaikovsky’s 1878 concerto can be readily identified in both the other works. Arensky’s concerto, written in 1891, was not published for another 50 years and this is its first recording. He is as much an eclectic here as in his piano music (where Chopin and Mendelssohn are influences), full of lyrical melody, yet as technically demanding of the soloist as many of the virtuoso concertos in the repertory. The three movements are linked, with a delicate waltz concluding a tuneful, if not wholly memorable, work. Rimsky-Korsakov flirted briefly with the violin around 1886, when he wrote this Fantasia based on two Russian themes. It is pleasant enough, in turn wistful and capricious, but a planned companion piece on Spanish themes was prudently metamorphosed into the familiar and more successful Capriccio espagnol. Lubotsky plays both works with commitment and impressive control, but his account of the greater Tchaikovsky puts the two less familiar pieces in their places. All are ably accompanied and the sound balance is satisfactory. Christopher Fifield