Korngold: Violin Concerto
WORKS: Korngold: Violin Concerto; Dvarionas: Violin Concerto in B minor; Pezzo elegiaco ‘Prie ezerelio’ (’By the lake’)
PERFORMER: Vadim Gluzman (violin); Residentie Orchestra The Hague/Neeme Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: BIS CD 1822
When composing his glorious Violin Concerto, Erich Korngold borrowed widely from his existing film music to create an emotionally super-heated blockbuster.
In contrast to soloist Matthew Trusler (Orchid Classics), who side-stepped the molten intensity of the Heifetz tradition by playing up the music’s sublime lyricism and instrumental suppleness and variety, Vadim Gluzman swashes his buckles with the best of them. He plays every phrase for all its worth with a cinematic sensitivity guaranteed to send Hollywood Golden Age nostalgists into raptures.
Vadim Gluzman produces a ravishing sound throughout the range, plays the slow movement with radiant sensitivity and lights up the finale with a series of scintillating pyrotechnical displays. If only he (and the orchestra) had been accorded a more imposing physical presence – these rapier thrusts are velvet-tipped – this would have been a version to rank with the very best.
That said, the only Violin Concerto composed by Lithuanian conductor, pianist and composer Balys Dvarionas (1904–1972) enhances the attractions of this new release considerably. It may not break any new ground and the folkdance inspiration may not be to all tastes, but if you adore, say, the Khachaturian Concerto, this is well worth investigating.
To my knowledge it has only been recorded once before, for Lithuanian radio by Alexander Livontas under the composer’s direction (the mono recording is beginning to sound its age, but it is a wonderful performance), so its appearance here in modern sound, performed with captivating flair and intensity, is a cause for some celebration. Malcolm MacDonald’s extensive and informative notes provide the perfect musical companion. Julian Haylock