WORKS: Violin Concerto; Two Pieces for Small Orchestra; Sleigh Ride; Opera intermezzi
PERFORMER: Philippe Djokic (violin)Symphony Nova Scotia/Georg Tintner
CATALOGUE NO: SMCD 5134 DDD
The interest here is that Delius’s Violin Concerto is rarely recorded and it is very unusual for a non-British orchestra to record any of his music. The Symphony Nova Scotia, founded in 1983, frequently broadcasts on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).
Beecham said that Delius’s Violin Concerto ‘bears the stamp of genuine originality’, but it has never achieved the popularity it deserves, probably because there are no showcase bravura passages (it is, however, strenuous for the soloist, who barely rests). Cast in one continuous movement with rare orchestral tuttis, it is quietly reflective and idyllic, and beautifully melodic.
Djokic’s reading easily matches those of Ralph Holmes and Tasmin Little. It is honey-toned, with immaculate phrasing and a sure sense of the Delian rhythms. This concerto is a real partnership between soloist and orchestra; Tintner and Djokic merge lovingly into a seamless flow that also has regard for section contrast and overall shape.
The gathering of the four opera intermezzi is clever too. These, and all remaining pieces, slowly unfold with a little too much awe. Certainly, La calinda should sparkle more. Five-star rating for the concerto, but considering the rest, reluctantly four stars overall. Ian Lace