Most listeners will never have heard the name Ivan Khandoshkin (1747-1804), but violinist Anastasia Khitruk has admirably undertaken to bring this little-known solo-violin repertoire to wider attention. Published in the early years of the 19th century, Khandoshkin’s Op. 3 sonatas show the influences we might expect, given the composer’s exposure to a court musical environment that included musicians from Italy, Germany, and France.
This is a perfectly reasonable recording of Bach's works for violin and orchestra and anyone who has not heard the works before will no doubt find them more than adequate. Violinist and leader Jonathan Rees is a fine player with a sweet tone and a warm style and he takes the strings of the Scottish Ensemble through thoroughly professional performances of the works. When joined by spry violinist Jane Murdoch in the Concerto for two violins and plangent oboist Nicholas Daniel in the Concerto for violin and oboe, Rees proves himself a graceful and considerate partner. Virgin's early-'90s sound is a bit thin on top but still clean and clear.(James Leonard)
Everybody will know by now that Elizabeth Wallfisch has a special interest, affection and regard for the 17th- and 18th-century Italian violin schools. She has already recorded much music by the likes of Tartini, Corelli, Locatelli and others with her group, The Locatelli Trio, and also with The Raglan Baroque Players under Nicholas Kraemer. Here is a varied and fascinating collection of pieces by some of the lesser-known composers from a generation or two earlier than those composers.
As long as there are violinists around like Giuliano Carmignola, classical music will never be a museum for the dead because in his hands, Mozart's Concertos are brilliantly, vibrantly, irresistibly alive. Carmignola, who later signed with Sony and then Deutsche Gramophone after these recordings were made in 1997, is a violinist with a light bow, a warm tone, an impeccable intonation and a superlative technique, all of which are needed for Mozart's effervescent Concertos. But, best of all, Carmignola has an elegant way of turning a phrase and a graceful manner of expressing the inner life of the music. With the skilled if not especially characterful il Quartettone led by Carlo de Martini, Carmignola turns in performances of Mozart Concertos which while they might not challenge the greatest recordings ever made, certainly do reconfirm the life enhancing – life affirming – qualities of the music.(James Leonard)
Star violinist Christian Tetzlaff performs Béla Bartók’s (1881–1945) two masterpieces in a new recording with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. This recording continues both artists’ highly successful series of recordings on Ondine.
The violin concertos here are not the familiar pair in A minor and E. Bach composed a number of concertos for orchestral instruments and later transcribed them as keyboard concertos. Reversing Bach’s procedure, Wilfried Fischer has taken the harpsichord versions and from them has reconstructed the originals. BWV 1056 is a transposed transcription of the Keyboard Concerto in F minor (though New Grove identifies the outer movements as being from a lost oboe concerto). The D minor work is also usually heard in its keyboard adaptation. The concerto in C minor for two harpsichords appears in its original instrumentation for violin and oboe, the soloists here being perfectly balanced for clarity of line. It was Tovey who suggested that the A major concerto may have been intended for the oboe d’amore, an instrument pitched between the oboe proper and the cor anglais.
The answer to the question what would post-Oistrakh Soviet Mozart sound like? is Vladimir Spivakov. The answer to the question what does Spivakov's Mozart sound like? is lightly, lively, elegant, and, every once in a while, extremely intense. In these recordings from the late '70s and early '80s of Mozart's violin concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with the English Chamber Orchestra and violist Yuri Bashmet, Spivakov plays and conducts with graceful artistry, consummate virtuosity, and deep humanity. In opening Allegros, Spivakov is airborne in the zephyrs of spring. In the closing Rondos, Spivakov is dancing in the ballrooms of Europe. But sometimes, especially in the central Andantes, Spivakov can sing with an intimacy and intensity that reveal a more profound Mozart, a Mozart touched not only by eternity but by mortality. In the central Andante of the Sinfonia Concertante with the soulful Yuri Bashmet, Spivakov proves he is not only the best of the post-Oistrakh Soviet violinists, but also one of the most moving violinists of the past 30 years.(James Leonard)