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Sinding: Violin Concertos Nos. 1-3 / Beermann, Bielow, NDR Radiophilharmonie

Sinding / Bielow / Ndr / Beermann
Release Date: 07/26/2011 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777114-2   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SINDING Violin Concertos: Nos. 1–3. Legende. Romanze . Suite in a. Abendstimmung Andrej Bielow (vn); Frank Beermann, cond; NDR RP Hannover CPO 777 114 (2 CDs: 112:02)


Christian Sinding’s Third Violin Concerto, op. 119, which opens violinist Andrej Bielow’s program of the composer’s concertos and other, slighter, concerted works, may not have achieved the success of his earlier works, but it’s strikingly virtuosic Read more and highly ingratiating. According to Michael Kube’s notes, the work didn’t find a publisher (the performers relied on the manuscript in making the recording) and, after its first performance by violinist Leif Halvorsen, Sinding failed to interest his old champion, Henri Marteau, in playing it. Kube deems the first movement’s prevalent double-stops as making the concerto less rewarding; perhaps many violin aficionados will disagree. Be that as it may, that first movement sets many obstacles for the soloist to overcome; Bielow, playing a violin made in the 1730s by Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andreae, surmounts them with panache and glowing tone. The engineers have set him in the midst of the orchestral sound rather than far to the fore, but have nevertheless captured the sizzle of his virtuosity. After a relatively brief and melodious second movement, the finale begins with a strongly rhythmic theme, in which Bielow revels—as he does in the lyrical episode that follows.


Bielow also plays the briefer Legende in B?-Major, op. 46, glowingly, displaying a special warmth on the G string but also a steely command in the upper registers and rising thrillingly to ecstatic climaxes in double-stops. In addition, he makes about as much as can be made of the long winding passage to the conclusion. The Romanze in D Major, op. 100, sounds at once more intimate, graced with more delicate harmonies (sometimes hinting at the chromaticism and even the rising scalar gestures of Richard Wagner’s Liebestod ), and more dramatic, with a declamatory middle section. Again, Bielow demonstrates his sympathy for the work’s late-Romantic style.


The First Violin Concerto in A Major, op. 45, premiered by Ludwig Holm and later championed by Marteau, opens with a strutting theme similar to the ones upon which Max Bruch drew for the finales of his first two violin concertos (as well as for the subsidiary theme of the first movement of his Second Concerto). The violin part, which Sinding may have crafted himself (he had studied the violin), displays a great affinity for the instrument and an ability to write for it idiomatically (in this ability, Sinding joined composers Karl Goldmark, Edward Elgar, Jean Sibelius, Frederick Delius, and Carl-August Nielsen). The first movement ends abruptly, with lower strings immediately introducing the ground bass upon which the ensuing Andante will be based. This use of a passacaglia as a slow movement and the writing for violin, mysterious and haunting, foreshadow Dmitri Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto (although Sinding allows the orchestral part to achieve greater prominence more suddenly than did Shostakovich) and recall the ground basses in Johann Sebastian Bach’s two canonical violin concertos. Bielow responds to the finale’s sparkle (high spirits similar to those in Alexander Glazunov’s concerto) as well as to the rich harmonic underlay of the lyrical sections.


While the First and Third violin concertos last just over 21 minutes each, the Second, in D Major, op. 60, at 33:44 in Bielow’s performance, develops its ideas over a longer span of time. A brief cadenza after the opening, leading to a sort of early climax, recalls a parallel device in Ernest Chausson’s Poème , but there the similarities end. Sinding’s orchestration sounds much harder and glassier, and though he allows the violin part to wander in a somewhat leisurely way, it seems to lead an active more than a contemplative life, even featuring a full-blown cadenza at the end. The second movement, darkly brooding at the outset, introduces the soloist in impassioned outbursts to which Bielow imparts the required sense of urgency. He is by turns eloquent in the more lyrical, less pressing, passages and subtly reflective in the atmospheric ones. But he’s capable of commanding authority; he sounds decisive in the jubilant finale.


Both Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman played Sinding’s Suite in A Minor, op. 10, a work that offers bravura perpetual-motion passagework in its first movement, singing melodies on the G string in its second, and almost Bach-like polyphonic complexity in its finale. Bielow takes the first movement at a dashing tempo similar Heifetz’s and Perlman’s, but somehow the countermelodies, perhaps simply in the context of Sinding’s other works, tend to capture a greater share of the listener’s attention. In the slow movement, he sounds if less brilliant then also less brittle and more nuanced (can it be possible?) than does Heifetz—and, of course, the recorded sound is richer and more detailed, elevating the countermelodies to greater prominence. Frank Beermann and the orchestra also make a great deal of the counterpoint in the last movement, providing a lush backdrop for the violin’s pyrotechnics. In the cadenza, a section of it is reminiscent of the string crossings in Louis Spohr’s Eighth Violin Concerto, “in modo d’une scena cantante.” In Sinding’s cadenza, however, Bielow sounds rough-hewn beside Heifetz’s easy mastery. The program concludes with the brief, nostalgic Abendstimmung in G Major, op. 120, which Bielow and the orchestra play with characteristic sympathy.


For the program’s idiomatic performances of the three concertos, redolent ones of the short pieces, and stirring one of the almost popular suite, as well as for the music itself, cpo’s release deserves a warm reception from aficionados of Norwegian music and of the violin, but it should appeal more widely to those interested in turn-of-the-century Romanticism and even to general listeners. Strongly recommended, therefore, across the board.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in A major, Op. 45 by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in D major, Op. 60 by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
3.
Concerto for Violin no 3 in A minor, Op. 119 by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
4.
Legende, Op. 46 by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Norway 
5.
Romance for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 100 by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Norway 
6.
Suite for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 10 "In alten Stil" by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Norway 
7.
Abendstimmung, Op. 120a by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Andrej Bielow (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Absolutely Top Notch! October 19, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "A sensational 2 disk set! When Norwegian composer Christian Sinding wrote for the violin and orchestra, he certainly knew what he was doing. I offer this superb CPO recording as proof, as I found all compositions (3 violin concertos plus several shorter works) to be models of lyricism, clarity, and downright gorgeous melodic content. The comprehensive CD booklet notes tell us that Sinding spent part of his career on the European continent, which resulted in his acceptance and internalization of the Germanic tradition. This clearly shows up in the brilliance of his works as presented on this CPO set. Ukrainian violinist Andrej Bielow and Hannover's NDR Radio Philharmonie under conductor Frank Beerman do full justice to Sinding's compositional efforts in every conceivable way- great dynamics, balance, tempo, etc. As usual, CPO's engineering is magnificent. With all this in mind, you can't go wrong with this sublimely excellent music. Highest recommendation!" Report Abuse
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