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WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 1 (Military); Violin Concerto No. 8; Violin Concerto No. 9
PERFORMER: Takako Nishizaki (violin); RTBF SO, Brussels/Alfred Walter
CATALOGUE NO: 8.555104 Reissue (1986)
In small doses, the music of Charles-Auguste de Bériot (1802-70), a leading member of the Franco-Belgian violin school, can be fun. His First Violin Concerto, the Military, is a barnstorming, festive piece, full of trilling piccolos, cymbal clashes and show-stopping pizzicato passages for the soloist. It’s hammy stuff, always threatening to junk its Classical manners for out and out kitsch, but just about manages to hold one’s interest. A generous listener might detect in the Eighth Concerto shades of Beethoven and Mendelssohn, and in the darker, A minor Ninth Concerto – Bériot’s penultimate – vistas open up of emotional and musical territory not visited by the other two. But probably three Bériot concertos on the trot will be enough to dent the charm of his idiom, so demanding for the player but so easy and ungenerous to the listener. The bustling Takako Nishizaki is a more than competent soloist, but the intonation of the erratic RTBF Orchestra is at times no more reliable than Bériot’s muse. Christopher Wood

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