Exultantly elite violin playing from a too easily and certainly unjustly neglected master.
The sound from these Norwegian Radio-derived tapes (1975-80)
has a tremendous vitality about it. They capture Rosand in truly
stunning form. His musicality shines like a bright beacon from
every bar of the Sinding Suite, a work which hitherto I have
found rather faceless and dull. On the contrary here Rosand
makes the work sing its auburn heart out. His joy in his own
playing is evident one aspect of which is his supremely slippery
portamento. You don't always get that from the greatest names.
In this he is touchingly joined at 5:05 by the leader of the
Norwegian Radio Orchestra. This is transcendent music-making.
and the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
are almost as good as the Sinding. They are warmly and intimately
recorded with every pizzicato from the orchestra and every piece
of timpani punctuation tellingly rendered. The all-conquering
zest of the first movement of the Sinding can also be heard
in the second Saint-Saens work. It's not just exhilaration -
Klaus Egge's Violin Concerto (1953) espouses a singing melodic
propensity, aspiring to the unachievable. In this work the recording
quality is not quite as good. In any event it was made in concert
with a true concert-hall acoustic and one or two coughs as corroborative
evidence. The orchestra is the Bergen Phil with Karsten Andersen.
Rosand learnt the concerto during 1974 while staying in his
home in Italy. It's a fascinating work having parallels with
the Walton Violin Concerto and with the Second Prokofiev. Egge's
spinily athletic lyricism suits Rosand to a tee though - surely
because of the acoustic - he does not sound as succulent here
as in the other tracks. I wonder if Rosand ever tackled the
Walton; it would have suited him like a glove. There is applause
at the end of the Egge. Make a note to look out for other Egge
works. I wonder if they are available anywhere.
Turn then to CD 2 for a hair-raising experience in the shape
of the Lalo. It’s quite counter to the prosaic hygiene
of so many studio 'spectaculars'. Rosand is again on glorious
form with breathtaking attention to dynamics and musical tone
even when the celerity of his playing leaves the listener in
awe. He also fulfils the purple and scarlet blooming seductions
of a troubadour serenader. Lalo's Rondo-Allegro
is just so - tense and on tip-toes - perfect in every respect.
This is exceptional violin-playing.
Sverre Brulund was much more than a mere stick-waver as he matches
Rosand's imagination without vying for the centre-spot. If this
is representative of Brulund it's time Norway Radio began issuing
other Brulund-conducted pieces. The radio tape and disc archives
are being seived for every celebrity conductor's Beethoven this
or Brahms that. Time for Brulund to step forward.
This second disc ends with shorter pieces though as blooms they
are overshadowed by technical problems. The Tchaikovsky Sérénade
is still a bloom but with a regrettable blip
in the recording just towards the end. The Sibelius Humoresque
op. 87 No. 1 is spun silver. Such a pity that Rosand and Norwegian
Radio did not tackle the other five at the same time. The Humoresques
are exultantly fine Sibelius as you can hear if you listen to
the early Turnabout
collection of all six. Rosand is a magician. We are driven to
acknowledge that he takes what seem to be delicious little liberties
with this gem - a slur here, a tremble of vibrato there, a melted
transition - a liquid slide into a smile. Had Philips ever launched
a violin edition parallel to their Great Pianists of the
series they would have had to license
this from VAI or face accusations of the project being patently
incomplete: res ipsa loquitur
There are clusters of dropouts in the last few tracks of CD
). Such a pity.
The affectionate notes are by Rosand himself.
This is exultantly elite violin playing from a too easily and
certainly unjustly neglected master of the instrument.
-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International