Berg/Janacek/Hartmann: Violin Concerto; Violin Concerto; Concerto funèbre

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COMPOSERS: Berg/Janacek/Hartmann
LABELS: Teldec M-line
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Violin Concerto; Concerto funèbre
PERFORMER: Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Philharmonia Orchestra/Heinz Holliger; Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-97449-2 DDD (1992)
This is a shrewd coupling, which makes admirable listening. All three works catch some of the inter-war gathering clouds. Zehetmair’s Berg intelligently steers the right path between cerebral dryness and lush Romanticism. The balance avoids playing up soloist or orchestra, though Holliger, not pulling punches, can just occasionally overbear. The beautifully played Hartmann Adagio supplies a darkly brooding, tragic follow-up to his grieving First Symphony, while faster passages echo Bartók. The Janácek, a fragment completed posthumously, is in essence a pot-pourri on themes from his last opera From the House of the Dead. Still, few works presage more clearly what was to come. Roderic Dunnett