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The Romantic Violin Concerto Vol 9 - David / Shaham, Brabbins, BBC Scottish SO

David / Shaham / Bbc Scottish Sym Orch / Brabbins
Release Date: 10/12/2010 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67804  
Composer:  Ferdinand David
Performer:  Hagai Shaham
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DAVID Violin Concertos: No. 4 in E; No. 5 in d. Andante and Scherzo capriccioso Hagai Shaham (vn); Martyn Brabbins, cond; BBC Scottish SO HYPERION 67804 (59:35)


Ferdinand David, remembered by general listeners as the violinist who helped Mendelssohn fashion the solo part of his E-Minor Violin Concerto and gave the work its premiere, also figures in the everyday life of modern violinists as the editor who brought out the editions in which many Baroque and Classical works first Read more appeared for general consumption. A student of Louis Spohr, he passed on the German tradition he inherited from him to his own students, among them August Wilhelmj, the well-known teacher and editor Henry Schradieck, and, especially, Joseph Joachim. The booklet notes mention five violin concertos among David’s works, but some other sources list six (opp. 3, 10, 14, 17, 23, and 35), of which the last two in Hyperion’s collection (Volume 9 if its series The Romantic Violin Concerto ), the Fourth and Fifth, appear as the Fifth and Sixth.


The Fourth Violin Concerto opens with an Allegro that showcases the violinist’s technique in sonorous passages that give way to batteries of technical display, much in the manner of Henri Vieuxtemps’s majestic concertos; but Vieuxtemps, a student of Charles de Bériot, developed as a violinist and composer in a somewhat different tradition. Still, the slow movement of David’s work resembles in its straightforward songfulness the Adagio religioso of Vieuxtemps’s Fourth Concerto. The finale brings a return of fireworks, this time led off by a sprightly melody that recalls the finale of Paganini’s Second Concerto (perhaps as filtered through Vieuxtemps-like sensibilities). Hagai Shaham, Martyn Brabbins, and the orchestra play this concerto with a warmth and sympathy that should compensate to a degree for whatever lack of subtlety sophisticated listeners may find in it. The engineers have placed Shaham slightly forward, capturing the richness of his tone in the lower registers, although leaving it sounding a bit thin in the upper ones; the result perhaps diminishes the impact of technical passages assigned to them, although Shaham plays them with great assurance and aplomb.


The Fifth Concerto begins more dramatically, though at least equally colorfully (David highlights the orchestral tuttis in the Fourth with woodwind timbres and the Fifth with both woodwind and brass; in the Fifth Concerto, he punctuates the solo parts with woodwind dialogue). From time to time, the violin answers stormy orchestral tuttis with dashing passages in double-stops, a recitative occasionally heightening the drama; such barn-burning alternates with engaging cantabile. After an affecting if once again simple melodic slow movement, the finale, as in the Fourth Concerto, returns to a kind of rollicking virtuoso display that harks back as far as the rhythmic piquancy of Viotti’s concerto finales and foreshadows the display in such remote works as Glazunov’s concerto (and it uncannily resembles at its end the last pages of Mendelssohn’s concerto).


Hyperion’s program concludes with a brief work, Andante and Scherzo capriccioso ; the booklet notes suggest that it may come from about the time in which David played Berlioz’s Rêverie et Caprice (composed in 1839 but brought to light in the last century by Joseph Szigeti) with the composer. But if Berlioz’s work pulls its punches and seems at times more fey and reserved than brilliant and extrovert, David’s counterpart makes almost the opposite impression. Shaham and Brabbins make of this work a commanding nine-odd minutes of flashing quicksilver.


If traces of Mendelssohn’s influence appear here and there, David’s works seem more strongly reminiscent of Spohr’s nobility and Vieuxtemps’s heroism. Although those seeking the origins of Mendelssohn’s writing for the violin in his concerto may not find them in these works, those who enjoy swashbuckling virtuosity combined with affable melody should nevertheless find much to enjoy in them. Strongly recommended for both music and performances to the latter sort of listeners.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 4, Op. 23 by Ferdinand David
Performer:  Hagai Shaham (Violin)
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 5, Op. 35 by Ferdinand David
Performer:  Hagai Shaham (Violin)
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
3.
Andante and Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 16 by Ferdinand David
Performer:  Hagai Shaham (Violin)
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 

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