Monday, December 12, 2016

Lalo, Édouard. (1823-1892) Manén, Joan. (1883-1971) Violin Concertos.

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2016.
First listen.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates:  June 2015.
Recording venue: Pau Casals Hall, L'Auditori, Barcelona, Spain.
Recording engineer: Eckhard Glauche.
Running time: 62:55.
Classical relevance: As a recording essential.

Works performed:
Lalo-Symphonie Espagnole, opus 21 (1875)
Manén-Violin Concerto No. 1 "Concierto Español"opus A-7. (1898, rev c. 1935)

Works performed by:
Tianwa Yang, Violin.
Barcelona SO & National Orchestra of Catalonia, Darrell Ang.

A warhorse like Lalo's opus 21, most of us have, but the violin concerto No. 1 by Joan Manén, that will prove more difficult, for this composer is almost forgotten, although his standing as a composer is on equal footing as Lalo. A different composer in musical aspects, but as brilliant as Lalo. 
The first reason for buying this recording is of course Tianwa Yang, a violinist I admire for the sheer brilliance and ease with which she plays all what is thrown at her. It seems as if she never has any problems with whatever comes on the musical path. Lalo is brilliant, Manén also. that is a fact. Lalo we all know and love, well most of us. For it's a piece that flaunts unashamedly the brilliancy with which this composer shows his feathers. And rightly so, for it is a beautiful composition, certainly in the hands of Yang. Joan Manén is a new composer in my collection, and I had no idea what to expect. No worries though, for he is as good as Lalo, and his violin concerto is brimful with virtuosic writing, and melodic content to please every sense in your body. Although he did not like the Violin, that did not deter him from writing this work, which is clearly a statement of love towards the instrument. Technically demanding, Yang plays it with ease and assuredness. She clearly maps out her way in this work, and squeezes the maximum of musicality out of it. The result is devastatingly gorgeous. Two works that fit together like a glove. The performance of both orchestras with a very talented conductor is superb. We will hear a lot of him in the future to come. I was very impressed.
The recordings are made in the same hall at different dates by the same engineer. Lalo sounds very good, Manén sounds State of the Art. A great difference. Could he not have thought of this before!



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