WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Brahms: Violin Concerto, Hungarian Dances; Bartok / Kavakos, Nagy, Chailly

Brahms / Kavakos / Chailly
Release Date: 10/08/2013 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001912102   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsBéla Bartók
Performer:  Leonidas KavakosPéter Nagy
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $18.98
CD:  $16.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRAHMS Violin Concerto. Hungarian Dances 1 Nos. 1, 2, 6, 11 (arr. Joachim). BARTÓK Violin Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2 Leonidas Kavakos (vn); Riccardo Chailly, cond; Gewandhaus O; 1 Péter Nagy (pn) DECCA 0019121 (74:17)


Peter Korfmacher’s succinct, Read more thought-provoking notes relate that Leonidas Kavakos and Riccardo Chailly, hoping to avoid bloat, have gone back to tempos for Brahms’s Violin Concerto found in letters by the composer’s one-time friend Joseph Joachim. But Chailly’s conception of the work’s opening movement sounds majestic at its outset rather than sprightly. And despite Korfmacher’s suggestion that when the soloist finally enters, he merely takes up “almost casually” a line already in progress (my father used to remark that the soloist seemed to sneak into the texture), Kavakos enters with a bold flourish. His sensitivity to moments of sensitive expressivity among craggy passages for both soloist and orchestra imparts a warm glow to his performance. That’s not to say that he doesn’t snap détaché bowings smartly, imparting to them the verve they require. And even while playing the movement’s largest, most disjointed leaps, he maintains a beauty of tone that must have required many hours in the burnishing. Kavakos’s personal way of finding subjects for meditation among the rocks extends into the cadenza (Joachim’s) and injects a heartfelt lyricism into the slow movement, which, perhaps as a result, sounds suggestive rather than static. If a difference of opinion exists about whether ma non troppo vivace needs to qualify Allegro giocoso in the Finale’s tempo designation, it should seem clear to most listeners that Kavakos and Chailly at least exhibit breathless (and breathtaking) virtuosity throughout. On the whole, the engineers have balanced the violin and the orchestra, providing clarity to the orchestral part and warmth to the violin’s.


The rest of the program consists of a sort of mini-recital based on Hungarian melodies and comprising Béla Bartók’s two Rhapsodies and a selection of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances (arranged by Joseph Joachim). Kavakos and pianist Péter Nagy make the first movement of the First Rhapsody sound improvisational, spiked with unexpected dynamic lurches and exotic expressive twists. Those persist in the second movement, the duo keeps blunting its thorns and keeping it light and dance-like, comparable to Szigeti and Bartók. The Second Rhapsody sounds, if anything, more impassioned and more haunting in its first movement and more kinetic and frenetic—as well as more folk-fiddle-like and virtuosic—in its second. The program comes to a close with four of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances , No. 1 in G Minor, No. 2 in D Minor, No. 6 in B? Major, and No. 11 in D Minor, pieces that enshrine culturally more assimilated melodies (as do Jen? Hubay’s Scènes de la Csárda ). In the first dance, Kavakos and Nagy combine dash in the fast sections with subtlety in the slow ones; they bring Nathan Milstein’s elegant nobility to the second, tease and taunt the sixth’s tempos, and keen an affecting lament in the 11th, which brings the program to a somber close.


Whether Kavakos has recreated Brahms’s Concerto may be debatable, especially considering towering recordings by violinists as diverse as Jascha Heifetz, Leonid Kogan, David Oistrakh, Albert Spalding, and Christian Tetzlaff, to name only a few of the most prepossessing; but it’s clear that he’s added to theirs a voice fully audible even in so distinguished a chorus. Recommended with special urgency for the Concerto, but no less so for the entire program.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Austria 
2. Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 86 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin), Péter Nagy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Budapest, Hungary 
3. Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 2, Sz 89 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin), Péter Nagy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Budapest, Hungary 
4. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 6 in D major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin), Péter Nagy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
5. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 2 in D minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin), Péter Nagy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
6. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 11 in D major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin), Péter Nagy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
7. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 1 in G minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos (Violin), Péter Nagy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook