Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Joseph Joachim, Michael Halasz, Staatskapelle Weimar|
Joachim: Violin Concerto in the Hungarian Style, Op. 11; Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 3
Virtuosic Note Spinning
Virginia Opera Fan | Falls Church, VA USA | 12/10/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Joseph Joachim was a highly regarded violin virtuoso and friend/collaborator of Brahms. The two later became estranged as a result of Brahms' taking sides with Joachim's wife in their divorce proceedings. The Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello was something of a peace offering.
On the evidence of this recording, Joachim should have stuck to fiddling and left the composition of his vehicles to Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, et al. While there is no doubt as to the composer's understanding of his instrument and his ability to display his technical command, the musical content strikes me paltry. There are some good tunes and plenty of pyrotechnics in the youthful Op. 3 and the mature Op 11 (particularly in the latter's finale), but there is too much empty note spinning and structural meandering to create a compelling listening experience. I suppose one shouldn't come down too hard on a virtuoso's creations for self display. The visual element of the fingers flying up and down the fingerboard no doubt play a part in the success of many such pieces. Still, in contrast to the unabashed fluff of a composer like Beriot, Joachim appears to be straining for some profundity of utterance and misses the mark. After sitting through the disc multiple times, I'm still bored by it.
Soloist Suyoen Kim plays cleanly and with considerable spirit. Halasz doesn't win me over as the best advocate for the pieces. His conducting often seems under-energized and routine. The Weimer orchestra plays well enough, but a fatter more romantic sound would have helped. It's hard to say if that's the fault of the muscians or the recording. It seems to have a fair degree of room resnonance, but is rather lightweight and colorless.
Naxos has done the violin repertory a service recently through the exploration of the music of 19th century composer/virtuosos like Beriot and Rode. It is educational to hear these Joachim works, but a couple of listens is enough for me."