WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 2 in C minor; Harp Concertino; American Rhapsody; Romanza (arr. Sitkovetsky); Wedding Waltz
PERFORMER: Janice Graham (violin), Lucy Wakeford (harp); English Sinfonia/John Farrer
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 1107
ASV’s well-received series exploring Ern? Dohnányi s music here moves from the chamber to the orchestral field for the first time. As such, it begins to come up against the ongoing cycle from Matthias Bamert and the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos, though that has yet to tackle the two concertante works here, the Harp Concertino and Second Violin Concerto. The latter is a big, Romantic work with some delicious orchestral writing and a welter of memorable melodies – it’s surprising there aren’t more than two rival versions in the catalogue (Koch and Hungaroton).
Janice Graham is a persuasive soloist and, despite a slightly raspy edge to her tone in the voluptuous slow movement, responds well to the music’s warmth. For the most part she sounds undaunted by the virtuosic demands of the fast movements, with only the occasional sense of tripping ahead of herself in the rapid finger-work of the finale marring her performance. The richness of the recording just about masks what sounds like a slightly underpowered orchestra. In the purely orchestral works — the quirky American Rhapsody, the schmaltzy ‘Wedding Waltz’ from The Veil of Pierrette – the English Sinfonia lacks the firmness and full-bodiedness of the BBC Philharmonic. Matthew Rye