Melvyn M. Sobel | Freeport (Long Island), New York | 03/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Giovanni Battista Viotti [1755-1824], barely a musical footnote in the fickle recorded availability of his compositions, nonetheless wrote twenty-nine concertos for violin, most of which, unfortunately too, still remain untapped in manuscript. It is, then, a wise person who takes advantage of whatever Viotti he can get! This Arabesque CD is no exception, as it includes the rare Concerto No. 4 in D, but hardly less enterprising for the additional familiar delights of Concertos 22 in A minor and 24 in B minor. Viotti seems to fall mid-way between the emotional breadth of Mozart and the fiery virtuosity of Paganini. On balance, the concertos here are appealing, melodious and creatively inventive. Opening movements, especially No.'s 22 and 24, have particularly fine lyrical development; slow movements are endearingly nostalgic; and rondos snap like whips. There is much here to enjoy, not least of which is the superb playing of violinist Kaplan, whose devotion to these concertos simply radiates. Under maestro Golub, the Padova Chamber Orchestra matches him in spirit, enthusiasm and commitment. What a treat this is! Viotti has never sounded so beautiful.[Running time: 72:34]"