Thursday, May 11, 2017

Weill, Kurt. (1900-1950) Vasks, Peteris. (b.1946) Concertos for Violin and Wind Orchestra/String Orchestra.

From my collection.
Bought in March 2011.
First listen: 11-3-2011.
Second listen: 9-4-2015.
Third listen: 11-5-2017.
Label: Hyperion.
Recording dates: December 2004.
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, London.
Recording engineer: Simon Eadon.
Running time: 57:05.
Relevance to me: Well worth having.

Works performed:
Kurt Weill.
Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra, opus 12.

Peteris Vasks.

Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra. (Distant Light)

Performed by:

Anthony Marwood, Violin and Conductor.
Academy of St. Martin in the Field.

This is a disc that impressed me mightily when I heard it back in 2011. Never confronted a work before by Vasks, and the Weill concerto was also unknown to me. 


Weill's concerto is a strange duck in the pond. I mean violin and wind orchestra, that struck me as a tad odd, but the result is far from odd. It's not one of Weill's works that is easily accessible. It struck me as highly experimental, and a bit on the brash side. It is well orchestrated, but the first movement is a bit heavy on the stomach especially if you are uninitiated in the musical styles of Kurt Weill. He is a bit of an extremist in the Andante con moto, first movement, complicated writing, rather harsh, tonality stretched to the limit, and brusk harmonies, as if he wanted to make a point of some sort. It had me in astonishment for the full 9 minutes this movement lasted. The tenure of the first movement seems to be repeated in the following 4 movements, be it less harsh, and less pushy, with more approachable harmonies . It's a extremely fine work though, and a technical masterwork. Do not expect great emotions or an avalanche of romantic warmth, nothing of that kind I am afraid. But you will admire the technical prowess that Weill lets us hear, that is bloody amazing.  It will never be a favourite work of me though.
But what greatly bowled me over was Vasks his Concerto. From beginning to end it had me in its grip, not a moment of inattention, barely took a breath, so beautiful it is. Vasks creates with minimal effort and notes a maximum in emotion. He conjures up worlds in which your imagination can run in every direction, and fantasies up to anything in imagery that you wish, and it will fit, no matter what image gets out of your brain or heart. Marwood is a fabulous violinist who makes both concertos worth their weight in gold. No matter how soft or loud, he gets the desired effect with no sweat. It sounds all so effortlessly, which it isn't, no doubt.
Very much recommended. State of the Art sound.





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