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The Greatest Romantic Violin Concertos / Vaclav Hudecek

Hudecek / Prso / Smetacek / Belohlavek
Release Date: 05/24/2011 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 4055  
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyJean SibeliusFelix MendelssohnJohannes Brahms
Performer:  Václav Hudecek
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony OrchestraPrague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE GREATEST ROMANTIC VIOLIN CONCERTOS Václav Hude?ek (vn); Václav Smetá?ek 1 , Ji?í B?lohlávek 2 , cond; Prague RSO; 3 Prague SO 4 SUPRAPHON 4055, analog (2 CDs: 129:45)


MENDELSSOHN 1,3 Violin Concerto. Read more class="COMPOSER12">BRAHMS 2,4 Violin Concerto. TCHAIKOVSKY 2,4 Violin Concerto. SIBELIUS 2,3 Violin Concerto


Supraphon’s Greatest Romantic Violin Concertos consists of AAD reissues of analog recordings made by Václav Hude?ek in 1974 (Mendelssohn), 1980 (Brahms), 1979 (Tchaikovsky), and 1976 (Sibelius). Through the original engineering and the remastering process in Mendelssohn’s concerto, listeners can glean impressions of Hude?ek’s taut manner and slightly acidic tone production—both perhaps reminiscent of Zino Francescatti’s. In the first movement of the concerto, for example, he may not adopt tempos so electrifying as Jascha Heifetz’s, but he doesn’t slow down, either, as David Oistrakh did, in the passage that leads up to the cadenza. His warm-hearted cantilena in the slow movement’s main theme, at its initial statement but especially upon its return, elevates the performance to a level far above that of a mechanical run-through, and he plays the middle section’s octaves and tremolos with fiery romantic intensity. Václav Smetá?ek and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra prove to be sympathetic partners. Hude?ek’s tempo in the slow movement may not challenge Heifetz’s or Eugène Ysaÿe’s, but he sparkles brightly at his own pace, and he manages despite that more measured pace to generate a great deal of excitement at the end.


In Brahms’s concerto, Hude?ek seems to have enjoyed the benefit of a bit warmer recorded sound. After Ji?í B?lohlávek and the Prague Symphony Orchestra’s majestic introduction, Hude?ek once again reveals himself as a bracing soloist, creating the kind of tense excitement that listeners may remember from recordings by Heifetz and Leonid Kogan. As in the slow movement of Mendelssohn’s concerto, Hude?ek demonstrates his ability to soar effectively in the upper registers, employing well-judged though never indulgent portamentos. And he keeps the music moving forward, with hardly ever a languid moment; flashing steel girds the reading, while the cadenza sizzles with virtuosic excitement. He adopts a similar manner in the slow movement, never allowing a lush moment to distract him from the forward flow; in the finale, he plays with quicksilver virtuosity and, at the end, with hyper-sharp rhythmic incisiveness.


Hude?ek is also “hot as a pistol” (to borrow David K. Nelson’s description of one of Louis Kaufman’s recordings) in the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s concerto. Bohuslav Vitek’s notes mention that playing the concerto with David Oistrakh conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1972 had been one of his triumphant moments. Here, B?lohlávek and the Prague Symphony Orchestra provide urgent support; and although the recorded sound lacks the ambiance apparent in the Brahms concerto, the engineers have captured their soloist close up, transmitting the static electricity that dances on his tone in the passagework, which he both invigorates (hissing and spitting in the cadenza) and personalizes with rhythmic nuances. He plays the slow movement with sobbing affect (though not affectation), and the last movement with the by-now expected crisp virtuosity.


To mention steely strength in the first movement of Sibelius’s concerto may call to mind Heifetz’s later reading, but Hude?ek sounds like nobody else in this work. Simply listening to the atmosphere spread by the orchestra (in this case, B?lohlávek and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra) and the violinist’s subsequent multi-octave leap provides evidence that both soloist and accompanists have absorbed the work’s Nordic spirit. Hude?ek’s tone throbs in the concerto’s slow movement, and he brings a glassy virtuosity to the finale, with the orchestra’s pounding underneath him providing a pulse-quickening backdrop.


If very occasional sour woodwind playing here and there momentarily distracts attention from the soloist’s visceral performances, it shouldn’t deter anyone from acquiring Supraphon’s set. Very warmly recommended for its highly personalized, insightful, and consistently dazzling violin playing.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Václav Hudecek (Violin)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
2.
Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 47 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Václav Hudecek (Violin)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Finland 
3.
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Václav Hudecek (Violin)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Germany 
4.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Václav Hudecek (Violin)
Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Austria 

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