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Camilla Wicks - Sibelus, Valen: Violin Concertos


Release Date: 12/26/2006 
Label:  Biddulph   Catalog #: 80218   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jean SibeliusFartein ValenErnest BlochDmitri Kabalevsky,   ... 
Performer:  Camilla WicksSixten Ehrling
Conductor:  Sixten EhrlingOivin Fjeldstad
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Radio Symphony OrchestraOslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There were three great commercial recordings of the Sibelius Concerto by women violinists in the decade between 1943 and 1952. The first was by Anja Ignatius in wartime Berlin (Symposium 1310). The second followed two years later when Ginette Neveu made her celebrated recording, one that has been multiply available over the years. And this is the third of the great triumvirate, happily restored to circulation. The slightly earlier 1940 Guila Bustabo traversal with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra and Fritz Zaun was on A Classical Record ARC37 and is also a stunner. Talking of which the hair-raising 1943 and very male Kulenkampff/Furtwängler on Music & Arts CD799 - try to hear it - was a live broadcast.

Wicks’s
Read more Sibelius is the stuff of legend. Absence from the catalogues has only increased enthusiasm for its return. And all three of these recordings bring powerfully different approaches to bear; the cool reserve of Ignatius, the fiery, digging-into-the-string passion of Neveu and Wicks’s expressive but not overblown drama, architecturally magnificent in its completeness.

She had the advantage of collaboration with Sixten Ehrling, with whom she gave numerous concerts. Ehrling also proves an adept and highly accomplished pianist in their more intimate recordings here. In the Concerto, with Ward Marston’s transfers that seem successfully to have stabilised pitch problems on earlier issues, we can savour their commanding strengths. The opening is full of the subtlest tonal colour. Orchestral counter themes register with naturalness and surety. The agitated little string figures that are often subsumed are here present as part of the living fabric of the orchestral life force of the music. In the slow movement we find Wicks melancholic without ostentation – no overtly externalised finger position changes or timbral disparities. She remains unaffectedly direct, and strongly moving. Power and momentum characterise the finale. Wicks is no metronome, of course, and her rubati are finely judged and thoroughly convincing. Personalised phrasing adds immeasurably to a performance that remains as laudable now as the day it was recorded.

Now Valen’s pocket concerto of 1940 is a real rarity. I’m not aware that it’s been reissued since 1949. A work of concision and immense power it owes a strong debt to the Berg in its accommodation with serialism. Only thirteen minutes in length, and that includes a cadenza, it manages to coalesce a tense, slightly clotted feel with more openly sprung lyric sections. The reappearance of the chorale-like them – finally on the brass – is a deeply moving one and adds to a feeling of lament and loss. For an up to date disc Arve Tellefsen has recorded the Valen on Sony Classical SK 89621, coupled with the 1997 Nordheim concerto.

The violin and piano pieces divide into the commercial HMV recordings with Ehrling recorded between 1949 and 1951 and unpublished Columbias with an unknown accompanist made in 1951. I assume this latter collection – five pieces – derives from Wicks’s own archive but as usual with Biddulph these days we get minimal discographic information.

Nigun has a burnished reserve – not as full of Hebraic fervour as many. Her Kabalevsky Improvisation is excellent at underscoring alternately its brittle and more reflective elements. The Shostakovich Preludes are in the familiar Tziganov arrangements – hear her silvery wit in the Tenth.

The unpublished pieces are a notable bonus. They’re in very slightly muffled sound but otherwise very presentable indeed. Her Sarasate is suave rather than dashing, and the pieces associated with Heifetz show a laid back charm. This represents a cache of real significance for the Wicks collector.

Talking of which collectors should not overlook a CD devoted to rare Wicks material - Music & Arts 1160 which contains a broadcast performance of the finale of the Sibelius, coupled with a splendid Bruno Walter directed Beethoven Concerto. There are other important things here as well, including Nigun.

As noted above Ward Marston’s transfers are top class, with the pitch question in the Sibelius happily resolved, to my ears. Notes are by Nathaniel Vallois and equally classy. In fact this is a class act all round.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 47 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Conductor:  Sixten Ehrling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Finland 
Date of Recording: 02/18/1952 
Length: 31 Minutes 58 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Violin, Op. 37 by Fartein Valen
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Conductor:  Oivin Fjeldstad
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Norway 
Date of Recording: 1949 
Length: 12 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
Baal shem by Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin), Sixten Ehrling (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
4.
Improvisato for Violin and Piano, Op. 21 by Dmitri Kabalevsky
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin), Sixten Ehrling (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USSR 
5.
Love for Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33a: March by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin), Sixten Ehrling (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919/1924; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: 1949 - 1951 
6.
Age of Gold, Op. 22: Polka by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927-1930; USSR 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Grunes 
7.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 34: no 10 in C sharp minor, Moderato non troppo by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USSR 
Length: 1 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Dmitri Tziganov 
8.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 34: no 15 in D flat major, Allegretto by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USSR 
Length: 1 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Dmitri Tziganov 
9.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 34: no 16 in B flat minor, Andantino by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USSR 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Dmitri Tziganov  
10.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 34: no 24 in D minor, Allegretto by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USSR 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Dmitri Tziganov 
11.
Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 21: no 1, Malagueña by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878 
Date of Recording: 1951 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
12.
Huella, Op. 49 by Julián Aguirre
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Date of Recording: 1951 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Heifetz 
13.
Prelude no 15 "Ao pé da fogueira" by Flausino R. do Vale
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 1951 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Heifetz 
14.
From San Domingo by Arthur Benjamin
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; England 
Date of Recording: 1951 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
15.
Pastorale for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Date of Recording: 1951 
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
16.
Baal shem: 2nd movement, Nigun "Improvisation" by Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: 1949 - 1951 
17.
Improvisato for Violin and Piano, Op. 21 by Dmitri Kabalevsky
Performer:  Sixten Ehrling (Piano), Camilla Wicks (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USSR 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: 1949 - 1951 
18.
Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33: March(es) by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Camilla Wicks (Violin), Sixten Ehrling (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Paris, France 
Notes: 1949 - 1951 

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