Monday, February 27, 2017

Halvorsen, Johan. (1864-1935) Nielsen, Carl. (1865-1931) Violin concertos.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2017.
First listen: 27-2-2017.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: August/September 2016.
Recording venue: Malmö Concert Hall. Sweden.
Recording engineer: Tim Handley.
Running time: 62:00.
Classical relevance to me: In two minds.

Works performed:
Halvorsen:
Violin Concerto, opus 28.
Romance.

Nielsen:
Violin concerto, opus 33.

Performed by:
Henning Kraggerud, violin.
Malmö SO, Bjarte Engeset.

Technically this is a very good performance. Kraggerud gets out what is possible, which is a lot, and there is no way to fault him. The orchestra follows faithfully and adequately, with quite some energy behind to back this violinist in the best possible way. But to say that what I hear is the best I ever heard, well no. Musically it is a bit uninvolving. It is not enough to play both violin concertos to perfection, it has to grip you and it certainly does not grip me. It is a personal thing if it comes to the amount of emotion you want to feel, but for me it is in short supply on this disc. My involvement is on the surface and as soon as there is an opening to go deeper, the gap is closed immediately by more technical brilliance. The Halvorsen concerto is certainly worth the effort of recording it, but it is not a masterwork perse. There are some fine melodies, and beautiful filigree details which Kraggerud brings gorgeously out of the score. But it's hard to keep your attention close to the work, due to the lack of personal involvement. And this also fits on the other works on this CD. And what's more, I think that the recording balance is not what I am used to from the likes of Tim Handley. As such the sound is detailed, has a good front to back stage, more than enough depth, but notice that the timpani are placed behind the celli and basses, and this muddles the sound up and obscures detail in the crescendos. It is even boomy at times. All upper frequencies are spot on, but I feel the lower instruments out of synch. The total sound is strange to say the least. Could be the acoustics of course of the Malmö Hall? 
A bit disappointed I am.



Salvatore, Giovanni. (c.1610-1688) Works for Harpsichord and Organ, plus a Missa.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: November 2017. First listen: 22-11-2017. Label: Glossa. Recording dates: October 1998 & June 1999...