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Rawsthorne: Violin Concertos No 1 And 2, Etc / Hirsch, Et Al


Release Date: 10/06/2000 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 554240   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alan Rawsthorne
Performer:  Rebecca Hirsch
Conductor:  Lionel Friend
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Be honest now: who could possibly have foreseen that we would have had rival versions of both Rawsthorne violin concertos appearing within almost a year of each other? Valuable as that earlier BBC Radio Classics anthology remains, enthusiasts should waste no time in snapping up this new Naxos CD, containing as it does music-making of perceptive dedication and impressive polish.

Rawsthorne completed his First Violin Concerto in 1947, dedicating the score to Walton (listen for the tongue-in-cheek quotation from Belshazzar's Feast just before the end). Cast in just two movements, it is a lyrically affecting, creation that weaves quite a spell, especially in a performance as dignified and consistently purposeful as the present
Read more one. However, the revelation (for this listener, at any rate) comes with the Second Concerto of 1956. Pleasing as the 1968 ParikianlSchwarz broadcast account undoubtedly is, Rebecca Hirsch and Lionel Friend locate a deceptive urgency and symphonic thrust in the opening Allegretto that genuinely compel. If anything, the succeeding Poco lento wears an even more anguished, nervy demeanour, the music's questing mood very well conveyed. By contrast, the finale (a theme and variations) proceeds in serene, almost carefree fashion, its witty coda forming a delightfully unbuttoned conclusion to a genuinely striking, much-underrated work.

As a curtain-raiser, Naxos give us the fantasy overture, Corteges. Commissioned by the BBC and premiered at the 1945 Proms by the LSO under Basil Cameron, it is an approachable, well-wrought essay, pitting an eloquent Adagio processional ("wistfully expressive rather than tragic in tone", as annotator Sebastian Forbes astutely observes) against an irrepressible Allegro molto vivace tarantella (echoes here of Rawsthorne's own exuberant Street Corner Overture from the previous year). The composer develops his material with customary skill, and Friend draws a committed and alert response from the BBC Scottish SO (who seem to enjoy the experience hugely).

Boasting a spacious, bright and admirably balanced sound picture (no attempt to spotlight the soloist), here is an enormously rewarding issue. Encouragingly, there's more Rawsthorne in the Naxos pipeline.

-- Gramophone [9/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1. Fantasy Overture "Cortèges" by Alan Rawsthorne
Conductor:  Lionel Friend
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; England 
2. Concerto for Violin no 1 by Alan Rawsthorne
Performer:  Rebecca Hirsch (Violin)
Conductor:  Lionel Friend
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; England 
3. Concerto for Violin no 2 by Alan Rawsthorne
Performer:  Rebecca Hirsch (Violin)
Conductor:  Lionel Friend
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 

Sound Samples

Fantasy Overture, "Corteges": Fantasy Overture: Corteges
Violin Concerto No. 1: Adagio espressivo e rubato - Andante con moto, poco teneramente
Violin Concerto No. 1: Andante (I'istesso tempo) - Allegro - Allegro Moderato
Violin Concerto No. 2: Allegretto
Violin Concerto No. 2: Poco lento
Violin Concerto No. 2: Tema con Variazioni

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