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Beriot: Violin Concertos Nos 2, 4 & 7 / Breuninger, Beermann, Northwest German Philharmonic


Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777167   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles-Auguste de Bériot
Performer:  Albrecht Breuninger
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BÉRIOT Violin Concertos: No. 7; No. 2; No. 4 Laurent Albrecht Breuninger (vn); Frank Beermann, cond; Northwest German PO cpo 777 167 (64:29)


Charles-Auguste de Bériot may be better known to violinists as the composer of several symphonic duets for violins, which, if they don’t reach the level of Louis Spohr’s contributions to the genre, nevertheless display a keen ear for sonorities and regale performers and listeners alike with a graceful and elegant melodic and harmonic confection. Read more Bériot’s 60 concert studies, at one time taught in conjunction with Gaviniès’s Matinées , acquaint violin students with virtuosic fluency in a highly ingratiating setting. Bériot, often credited with teaching the instrument to Henri Vieuxtemps, actually worked with the boy only for several years. Yet the impression he left must have been a deep one: Paul Stoeving considered Vieuxtemps’s own concertos a sort of deluxe edition of Bériot’s, and, in fact, the similarities do seem difficult to overlook, though Vieuxtemps displayed a more secure mastery of orchestration and explored a much higher technical stratosphere. But master and student share a grand rhetoric that identifies the soloist as a hero in a noble quest. Sonorous tuttis introduce commanding double-stopped declamations, soaring cantilena, and technical passages echoing Paganini’s technique without (in Bériot’s case, anyway) equaling it. Modern listeners have largely abandoned these works—as well as, perhaps, more generally, the role of conqueror—and so, it appears, have teachers. At one time, the First, Seventh, and Ninth of Bériot’s concertos, at least, provided study material for ambitious intermediate students. Now they seem not so easily available (at least, the First). Maude Powell recorded the Seventh Concerto (12 minutes of it, anyway) in 1915 and 1916 with pianist George Falkenstein. Laurent Breuninger gives a bravura account of it with orchestra, cutting a dashing figure in the sweeping virtuosic passages—or perhaps creating them out of nothing. His brisk tempos and crisp staccato passages recall Paganini’s concertos rather than the drudgery of student days when these pieces presented difficulties that could be surmounted, if insecurely, only at lugubrious tempos. And his bel canto recalls the nobility of Milstein’s hallmark performance of Goldmark’s Concerto. (That’s especially relevant in view of the suggestion that the voice of Bériot’s deceased first wife, Maria Malibran, continued to sing in his works.) Breuninger’s inserted cadenzas in this Seventh Concerto as well as into the Fourth, however, represent what many might consider a mismatch of styles. All of the composer’s works that I’ve heard or played remain, even during their stormiest moments, politely within the realm of salon music. Nevertheless, the Second Concerto lasts just over half an hour (the Seventh weighs in at just over 20 minutes and the Fourth at about half that). That the longer among them don’t grow tiresome at this length suggests the fecundity of melodic imagination and the abundant harmonic (and virtuosic) charm that once, in the hands of their creator, guaranteed these works a place on the stage and that makes them stirring virtuosic vehicles for Breuninger and his 1803 Lupot violin.


Bériot’s First (“Military”), Eighth, and Ninth Concertos appeared in a recording by Takako Nishizaki (Marco Polo 8.220440), so the composer hasn’t been entirely forgotten. And the first concert studies remain available as an even better tutor, perhaps, for students of the big Romantic style than the concertos themselves. But hearing these concertos played with their intended panache and in their intended form, accompanied enthusiastically and, in the Second Concerto, with percussive sound and fury, and recorded with striking clarity and full dynamic range—all this recalls an age long past when giants walked the earth. Recommended.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Violin no 7 in G major, Op. 76 by Charles-Auguste de Bériot
Performer:  Albrecht Breuninger (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; Belgium 
Venue:  Schützenhofsaal, Herford, Germany 
Length: 20 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Laurent Albrecht Breuninger performs her own cadenza.
Schützenhofsaal, Herford, Germany (10/18/2004 - 10/22/2004) 
2. Concerto for Violin no 2, Op. 32 by Charles-Auguste de Bériot
Performer:  Albrecht Breuninger (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Belgium 
Venue:  Schützenhofsaal, Herford, Germany 
Length: 31 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: Laurent Albrecht Breuninger performs her own cadenza.
Schützenhofsaal, Herford, Germany (10/18/2004 - 10/22/2004) 
3. Concerto for Violin no 4, Op. 46 by Charles-Auguste de Bériot
Performer:  Albrecht Breuninger (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1840; Belgium 
Venue:  Schützenhofsaal, Herford, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Schützenhofsaal, Herford, Germany (10/18/2004 - 10/22/2004) 

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