Glazunov • Schoeck – The Romantic Violin Concerto, Vol. 14

COMPOSERS: Glazunov; Schoeck
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Glazunov • Schoeck – The Romantic Violin Concerto, Vol. 14
WORKS: Glazunov: Violin Concerto; Meditation; Mazirka-oberek; Schoeck: Concerto quasi una fantasia
PERFORMER: Chloë Hanslip (violin); Orchestra della Italiana/Alexander Verdernikov

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So long as you have a sweetish, late-Romantic tooth, Glazunov’s once extremely popular Violin Concerto should delight. Here full-blooded lyricism meets virtuoso delirious high spirits. I soon wondered whether Chloë Hanslip was quite meeting either demand: though she has a persuasively rich, dark tone for the opening melancholy, the dynamic nuancing falls a little by the wayside; and the brilliant hunting-rondo with rather safe support from Alexander Vedernikov and the Italo-Swiss orchestra didn’t have me grinning, even if Hanslip treats the cadenza which leads into it with an almost Bach-like seriousness, perfect in intonation and effects. So I turned back to Maxim Vengerov and Claudio Abbado. Heavens, what vivacity and dazzle there! The piece does work after all. In the two other shorter Glazunov pieces, Hanslip’s relative austerity suits the purity of the Meditation well; again, perhaps more personable fireworks are needed to ignite the Mazurka-oberek with its pretty woodwind solos.

Fascination is reserved for Swiss minor master Othmar Schoeck’s Concerto quasi una fantasia. The first movement begins arrestingly with an odd imitation of swallow twitter, and its coda is lovely; what comes in between drifts along less memorably. There’s more of a dialogue between doomy orchestra and placid violinist in the slow movement; the finale is sweet, but again meandering. Not the best of this uneven composer, then, but fitfully interesting. Hanslip’s polished directness and a flawless recording keep it handsome company.

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David Nice