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Andres Cardenes - Violin Concertos Of Barber, Stock, Copland / Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia

Release Date: 11/10/2009 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1148   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel BarberDavid StockAaron Copland
Performer:  Andrés Cárdenes
Conductor:  Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia VarsoviaSinfonia da Camera
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is an extremely interesting and enjoyable program, graced by the superior artistry of violinist Andrés Cárdenes. He plays the Barber concerto just about as well as anyone has, the first movement especially. Cárdenes has a particularly flowing and free way of phrasing lyrical music, expressive but without affectation, that's wholly winning. In the finale, he and conductor Ian Hobson clearly decided to hold back a little bit until the brilliant closing pages, and I might have wished for just a touch more velocity from the start, but this is a very minor quibble in what really is a wholly enjoyable experience, very well accompanied by Hobson and his team, and beautifully balanced by the recording engineers.
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David Stock's Violin Concerto (1995) was written for Cárdenes, who performs it with proprietary conviction. The piece is full of interesting ideas, from the percussive attack of the outer movements to the ethereal lyricism of the central Intermezzo. However, the work needs an editor. Just about every movement seems a touch too long--or maybe it's just that they take too much time to get going. Stock is very good at coming up with interesting accompanimental textures, but there are moments when the orchestra upstages the soloist, and I can't shake the notion that this is a violin concerto because Stock says it is, not because the material seems ideally suited to the medium. Still, considered simply as a piece of often ear-catching modern music, the piece is worth hearing.

Gerald Elias' arrangement of Copland's lovely Violin Sonata as a concerto is wonderful. The piece likely will never be a major addition to the repertoire--it's too short (less than 20 minutes), and it ends softly, but the music is vintage 1940s Copland, and Elias has arranged it very effectively. He spends a little bit more time emphasizing the harp and percussion than Copland likely would have, but otherwise manages to produce a remarkably idiomatic orchestral sound. In this arrangement the similarity (in shape, anyway) between the first movement and that of the Third Symphony is very evident, and once again Cárdenes plays splendidly. An important and compelling release, from start to finish.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin, Op. 14 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Andrés Cárdenes (Violin)
Conductor:  Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Concerto for Violin by David Stock
Performer:  Andrés Cárdenes (Violin)
Conductor:  Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Sonata for Violin and Piano by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Andrés Cárdenes (Violin)
Conductor:  Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia da Camera
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942-1943; USA 
Notes: Arranged for violin and chamber orchestra by Gerald Elias.  

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