Spohr: Double Violin Concertante No. 1; Double Violin Concertante No. 2; Grande polonaise, Op. 40; Potpourri on Irish Folksongs

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Spohr
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Double Violin Concertante No. 1; Double Violin Concertante No. 2; Grande polonaise, Op. 40; Potpourri on Irish Folksongs
PERFORMER: Ulf Hoelscher, Gunhild Hoelscher (violin); Berlin RSO/Christian Fröhlich
CATALOGUE NO: 999 798-2
The logistical problems, and consequent expense, of concertos for more than one soloist make these concertante works a relatively rare treat, though such pieces were popular in the mid-19th century. The soloists, brother and sister, are thoroughly assured – hard to believe that Gunhild abandoned her solo career to concentrate on family commitments in 1983. Both Concertantes demand partnership rather than competition between the violins and display some striking colours – a slow movement accompanied only by divided cellos and basses, both violins double-stopping to create a dense solo texture, and moments of stratospheric pyrotechnics. No. 1, though, is generally genial and tuneful, while No. 2, from 25 years later, is darker and more restrained. In the solo works with orchestra, Ulf Hoelscher displays an impressive technique in the Grande polonaise and the Potpourri. This last is a far more serious and well-developed piece than its title suggests, enveloping the folk quality of the Irish melodies in quite extensive symphonic working-out. The recording, made in a Berlin church, is warm and attractive. The smaller orchestra, for the Grande polonaise in particular, allows a more spacious aural panorama than the Concertantes where loud passages can become rather stolid. All four of these substantial works are new to the catalogue, and very welcome indeed. George Pratt

Advertisement