Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Louis Spohr, Christian Frohlich, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra|
Spohr: Violin Concertos Nos. 2 & 5
A Neglected Romantic Prodigy
Octavius | United States | 10/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Louis Spohr was a slightly younger contemporary to Beethoven and who was the only main contender to Paganini as a violin virtuoso. His earlier violin concerti here are a good example of his style and how it was in great parts similar to that of Paganini's. The performance and direction is well done.
In a sense more gifted than Paganini in terms his greater diversity of compositions and ability for instrumental arrangement, Spohr's obscurity is somewhat more the product of academic questions on his originality in method and application and his merit for them in contrast to Paganini's whose genius talent was unquestionable. Spohr's pieces do feel as if they are somewhat lacking more of Paganini's audacious techniques and more often imitating them rather than original. While Paganini's emphasis did remain in public performance, Spohr eventually devoted his talents more towards the teaching of method and composition. In terms of the structure of the concertos themselves I think both composers are about equal and Spohr actually somewhat more imaginative in his waltz variations. Overall however, the Early Romantic violin concerto was not a very inventive piece for the orchestra at all and more simply a waltz curtain included as background for the violin's usually festive and melodic solo. The pieces are abrupt and suddenly stop to bring in the violin solo as if it were a stage actor. The passionate violin concertos involving interplay between orchestra and soloist didn't come until the later Romantic period of Brahms, Schumman, and Dvorak. Spohr and Beethoven probably revolutionized that aspect of the violin concerto more than Paganini who was primarily the indisputed genius at redefining the new Romantic methods for the solo violin. Both Spohr and Paganini therefore ironically have one requirement for the Romantic violin concerto that the other lacks: Spohr had more understanding of balance and composition while Paganini had the required demonic virtuosity for the solo violin that Spohr's own genius simply could not surpass.
Altogether, the performers for this recording work very well with this style and the recording is of incredible sound quality. The violinist performs great with a lot of romantic virtuosity needed for these pieces. If you like Paganini or generally the waltz style of the Early Romantic period, then you will most certainly like Spohr as they have much in common in every respect. In many ways you might even like some of Spohr's more imaginative aspects in orchestral composition better than Paganini's more limited gifts in those areas. I think each composer somewhat compliments the other's deficiencies and so are both a pleasure to listen to for their own unique gifts in Romantic composition and music overall. Enjoy!"