Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Joachim Raff, Andrea Quinn, Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera|
Joachim Raff: Violin Concerto No. 1 (Original Version); Suite for Solo Violin and Orchestra; La Fée d'Amour
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Excellent new recording of important neglected violin litera
Avrohom Leichtling | Monsey, NY | 04/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having written the liner notes for this CD some might accuse me of partisanship on behalf of the recording. I plead guilty in the first degree and unashamedly so.
Joachim Raff is absolutely without question one of the most important composers of the latter half of the 19th century whose career, sabotaged by the politics and performance policies in the years after his death, nevertheless left behind a body of nearly 300 works including 11 completed symphonies, almost as many concerti, operas, songs, chamber music in profusion, keyboard and, of course, the indestructible Cavatina which, when heard in the context of the rest of pieces to which it belongs, is even more effective!
In any case, Raff's work has been emerging over the past decades and there is now a substantial body of his music available in excellent performances.
The present recording, made in the Summer of 2007, brings three of Raff's concertante works for Violin and Orchestra to light. Raff's 1st Violin Concerto was enormously popular in its day, but was superceded by a reworking of the piece by its initial performer, August Wilhelmj, playing perhaps to the taste for big fat TchaikoBrahmsian pulchritude. Raff's original, which lay quite literally in the dust until acquired by a chance acquisition of the Sibley Library (Eastman School of Music) in the 1930s, was thought be lost. When Hans Stadlmair recorded both Concerti for Tudor Records several years ago, it was not Raff's version of his 1st Concerto that was committed to disc. Now we have the original, and also a newly published score of the original (Edition Nordstern, Stuttgart).
A major work of the Violin Concerto literature, this, but also the other works on the disc as well. Raff's charming Liebesfée is one of those visionary pieces that sounds like so many other people, but was composed long before any of "them" wrote what you might think to assume the piece sounds like. The Suite for Violin and Orchestra belongs to a side of Raff's work which clearly and unmistakably foreshadows the entire Back-to-Bach movement of the earlier 20th century. Raff's Bach transcriptions predate Stokowski, Respighi and others by several generations. This, however, is not a transcription but rather a work written clearly with the intention of reconciling the old Baroque partita with the Romantic violin concerto.
The performances here are quite excellent - and Tobias Ringborg, the violinst, deports himself with all necessary technical and interpretive skills in place. An heroic job, this, deserving all the praise it can collect. The orchestral playing of The Symphony Orchestra of the Norrlands Opera (Sweden), under Andrea Quinn's direction is solid. The tempos are, for the most part, true to Raff's indications. What you see on the 361 pages of three scores is what you will hear in the recording. For all the positive bias I bring this review (...) this is a major recording which deserves your attention and your modest investment!"