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Theodore Dubois: Concerto Pour Violon Et Orchestra; Eduoard Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole

Dubois / Pelassy / Muller
Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Bnl Productions   Catalog #: 112964   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Théodore DuboisEdouard Lalo
Performer:  Frédéric Pelassy
Conductor:  Zbynek Müller
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DUBOIS Violin Concerto. LALO Symphonie espagnole Frédéric Pélassy (vn); Zbynek Müller, cond; Kosice Natl PO BNL 112964 (62:01)

Théodore Dubois dedicated his only Violin Concerto to the violinist and pedagogue Henri Marteau, who later championed it. The booklet gives the date of its premiere as December 1897, though other sources place its date as early as 1894 with the Colonne Orchestra or as late as March 12, Read more 1899, with Jacques Thibaud as soloist. Romantic in spirit and subtle in harmony, it features a grandly conceived solo part, and Frédéric Pélassy enters with a bold dramatic gesture, if somewhat grainy in tone, and plays the subtler second theme with a lyricism that sounds a bit strained if generally mellifluous. He plays stylishly in the difficult passagework, replete with double-stops and glissandos, that dominates the movement, which resembles, not only in the specific design of its violin part but in its general harmonic milieu , Saint-Saëns’s First Concerto (several passages also suggest the same composer’s Third Concerto). The slow movement, like that of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole , with which Pélassy has paired the concerto, consists of a long-breathed solo for the violin, in which Pélassy sounds only occasionally a bit stiff. The finale opens with an interchange between a stentorian statement in the orchestra and its answer in chords on the violin, in which, again, Pélassy sounds a bit abrasive. The theme of the finale resembles that of Karl Goldmark’s more popular A-Minor Concerto (Saint-Saëns’s concertos and Goldmark’s would have entered the repertoire by the time Dubois wrote his). The last movement’s extended cadenza makes demands on the soloist, not only technical but expressive, that Pélassy acquits, though perhaps not always gracefully; the cadenza ends, like that of Felix Mendelssohn’s concerto and Goldmark’s (and Dmitri Kabalevsky’s), with a return of the melody over springing arpeggios.

Pélassy’s authoritative manner (and Zbynek Müller’s) seems even more appropriate to Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole , in the first movement of which he combines pyrotechnical display with sensibility. If some of the abrasiveness in his tone in Dubois’s concerto remains in Lalo’s work, Pélassy makes a strong impression in spite of it (the engineers have miked him so closely that some roughness must have been inevitable). In the second movement, Pélassy doesn’t tap the vein of quicksilver that even so forceful a personality as Isaac Stern displayed in it. He’s more successful in the Intermezzo (which older violinists often omitted), though even there he sounds more consistently rough than ready (many listeners will feel that the middle section, in particular, stamps, rather than trips, along). The slow movement is strong rather than sweet, and the finale is brashly virtuosic.

BNL’s release should appeal most strongly to those who collect recordings of forgotten violin literature; Pélassy’s somewhat unnuanced account of Dubois’s concerto seems secure enough to give anyone a good sense of the work’s makeup, its colorful orchestration, and its extroverted violin part. In Lalo’s more familiar Symphonie espagnole , however, most listeners will miss the robust energy that players like Stern combined with buttery lyricism. Recommended, therefore, most strongly, and perhaps exclusively, to specialists.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Violin Concerto by Théodore Dubois
Performer:  Frédéric Pelassy (Violin)
Conductor:  Zbynek Müller
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 06/2010 
Venue:  House of the Arts, Kosice, Slovakia 
Length: 28 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21 by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Zbynek Müller
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2010 
Venue:  House of the Arts, Kosice, Slovakia 
Length: 32 Minutes 59 Secs. 

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