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Romantic Works For Violin By Dvorak, Suk, Schumann, Ysaye / Christine Raphael

Raphael / Dvorak / Suk / Schumann / Ysaye
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Genuin Classics   Catalog #: 10535   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín DvorákJosef SukRobert SchumannEugčne Ysa˙e
Performer:  Christine RaphaelRainer Gepp
Conductor:  Werner Andreas AlbertJan Corazolla
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nuremberg Symphony OrchestraRhine Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ROMANTIC WORKS FOR VIOLIN Christine Raphael (vn); Andreas Albert, cond; Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra; 1 Rainer Gepp (pn 2 ); Jan Corazolla, cond; Rhine CO 3 GENUIN 10535 (74:17)

1 DVO?ÁK Violin Concerto. 2 SUK 4 Read more Pieces, op. 17. 2 SCHUMANN 3 Romances. 3 YSA¨YE Les Neiges d’antan . Berceuse

The late German violinist Christine Raphael (1943–2008) recorded Antonin Dvo?ák’s Violin Concerto in 1977, the short pieces by Josef Suk and Robert Schumann in 1983, and Eugène Ysaÿe’s works for violin and strings in 1985. The recorded sound of the concerto from 1977, which places the soloist somewhat in the background and leaves her sounding somewhat clotted, still brooks no doubt about Raphael’s cleanliness in the upper registers, her opulence in the lower ones, or her generally incisive technical command. In the first movement, she sounds assured in the slashing passagework, but still, in general, communicates both the music’s grand gestures and its genial warmth. The biography suggests that Nathan Milstein and Henryk Szeryng provided musical insight (and support) to her, and her playing shares their aristocratic approach. Still, while this isn’t (or isn’t quite) Milstein’s elegantly debonair Dvo?ák—nor a reading of David Oistrakh’s ardor (though she’s convincing in the slow movement)—it convincingly demonstrates that the concerto hardly deserved the relative neglect into which it fell for a number of decades: She makes as much of its Brahms-like design as of its Slavonic coloration. Similarly, she suggests in the finale a musical importance that far exceeds a simple stomping peasant dance (her somewhat deliberate tempo may contribute to that impression, but can’t be entirely responsible for it); her lyricism in the episodes glows through the whole movement. The recorded sound doesn’t present the orchestra much more flatteringly than it does the soloist, but in a performance as authoritative as this one, that may not be so critical a drawback.

In Josef Suk’s Four Pieces, Raphael displays the same high-mindedness, elevating them far above the level of a mere occasional set; in her reading, the opening Quasi Ballata sounds as weighty as a fully worked-out symphonic movement, the Appassionato sweeps everything before it, and the final piece, Burleska , often detached to serve as an encore, makes a dazzling impression in its outer section and is impudently cocky in its center. These readings seem more strongly characterized than those of Sophia Jaffé and Björn Lehmann, who included the pieces in a collection that also included a work by Ysaÿe (Genuin 89161, Fanfare 34:1). Raphael’s violin may not show itself to great advantage in this collection, but the listener’s ear should soon accommodate itself, and her reading is deeply affecting in spite of any tonal drawbacks. Her violin makes the same impression in Schumann’s Three Romances, op. 94, recorded at the same time. In the familiar middle one, Raphael’s approach may fail to reveal to some listeners what lies behind the almost deceptive simplicity of the outer section. Many will find Gudrun Schaumann’s approach to these Romances more haunting (Capriccio 5040, 34:3).

In Ysaÿe’s allusive tone poem Les Neiges d’antan (Yesterday’s Snows), Raphael enjoys the benefit of much cleaner recorded sound (the notes describe the original release of the works by Dvo?ák and Suk as being on LP—Colosseum for Dvo?ák’s concerto and Aulos for the pieces by Suk and Schumann). Some may feel that her playing in the first piece fails to communicate the mysteriously haunting vapors that Ysaÿe’s works generally exude (compare Albrecht Breuninger’s more perfumed performance on cpo 777 051-2, Fanfare 32:5), at least until the very end—although she’s playful enough in the middle section. And while she’s slinkier and more suggestive in the Berceuse, Breuninger sounds a bit less perfunctory (he also included this shorter work in his collection of Ysaÿe’s compositions for violin and orchestra).

Those who have followed the career of the violinist (the daughter of the German composer Günter Raphael) should find this program to be of exceptional interest, while violinists and more general listeners should appreciate its exceptional performances of the concerto and Suk’s pieces.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in A minor, Op. 53 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Christine Raphael (Violin)
Conductor:  Werner Andreas Albert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879-1880; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1977 
Venue:  Kongresshalle, Nuremberg, Germany 
Length: 34 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 17 by Josef Suk
Performer:  Rainer Gepp (Piano), Christine Raphael (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Prague, Czech Republ 
Venue:  Viersen Festival Hall, Städt, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Romances (3) for Oboe and Piano, Op. 94 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Rainer Gepp (Piano), Christine Raphael (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Venue:  Viersen Festival Hall, Städt, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Les neiges d'antan, Op. 23 by Eugčne Ysa˙e
Performer:  Christine Raphael (Violin)
Conductor:  Jan Corazolla
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rhine Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1902; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1985 
Venue:  WDR Saal 1, Köln 
Length: 8 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Berceuse for Violin and Orchestra, op. 20 by Eugčne Ysa˙e
Performer:  Christine Raphael (Violin)
Conductor:  Jan Corazolla
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rhine Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1985 
Venue:  WDR Saal 1, Köln 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 

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