A Theme for Your Blood
Jeff Dunn | Alameda, California United States | 05/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an easy piece to decide whether or not to buy, as long as you can listen to the first 30 seconds of it. Either the gripping theme will immediately inject itself into your blood, or you'll know the piece is not for you.I have to record this review because Kvandal's Violin Concerto, along with the Rouse, Barber and Hindemith, is my favorite violin concerto of the 20th century. Unlike most pieces written since 1950, I have listened to this on over and over and never have gotten tired of it.The initial theme, very Russian in character (Kvandal was Norwegian), appears with two other theme groups of the movement in a satisfying sonata-form exposition and development--a rare approach for a piece written in 1979. The second movement has a fine lyrical melody, while the third rounds off the masterpiece.Of the two versions available, this one with Shuldman has the more electrifying performance. However, the competing version is still excellent, performed by Ragin, the woman for whom it was written, and includes an excellent concerto by Ragnar Soderland in addition. The other Kvandal works on this CD under review will be of less appeal than the Soderland."