Notes and Editorial Reviews
There's so much junky 19th-century violin music that you have to particularly dread a work subtitled "Concerto dramatique". After all, sonata-form is inherently dramatic if the composer knows what he is doing, and it's when he doesn't that he titles a work in the hope that the name makes up for whatever may be lacking in the music. Well, without getting into technical details, Hubay was a very good composer despite being a violin virtuoso, and his four concertos are finely made, sensitive works, even the Concerto dramatique, the first of the set. It has memorable tunes, and of course plenty of worthwhile stuff for the soloist.
The same observation is true of the Second Concerto, a sunny piece in E major that
also has the virtue of compactness. Its central Larghetto is very beautiful, particularly as spun out by Hagai Shaham in this virtuosic but always lucid and expressively apt interpretation. Best of all, though, is the Suite Op. 5, whose four movements include a sturdy opening Gavotte and a charming Idylle. The third-movement Intermezzo is a fabulous piece that would make a sensational concert encore. As suggested already, Shaham is fully up to the music's considerable technical demands, and you probably already know how reliable Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra usually are.
Excellent sonics round out this second of two Hubay discs as part of Hyperion's Romantic Violin Concerto series. There is a competing set of the violin concertos, also very good, on Hungaroton, but it offers less music, and these two discs are available separately, allowing you to sample before deciding if you want more. Chances are, you will. [4/17/2006]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Suite for Violin and Piano, Op. 5 by Jenö Hubay
Hagai Shaham (Violin)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
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