by Vieuxtemps -
STEPHEN FRANCIS VASTA
'... crisp ensemble and warm, full tone ...'
The Vieuxtemps concerti used, in LP days, to turn up periodically -- virtuosi including Heifetz, Menuhin, Grumiaux, and Perlman all recorded one or the other of the two offered here -- but the digital era has treated them with benign neglect at best. This is too bad, really: the more lightly scored passages have a typically 'French' transparency and graciousness -- although the composer was actually Belgian -- while the tuttis, for all their turbulent drama, are clearly etched and adeptly and effectively orchestrated.
Of the two major works presented here, I much prefer the D minor. The A minor is nicknamed 'Grétry', apparently because Vieuxtemps quoted a melody by that composer in the Adagio; but that Classicist might have blanched at the 'innovative' structure of this score. The piece begins strongly, with an imposing, nicely varied eleven-minute opening movement, but in place of the expected slow movement, Vieuxtemps offers an extended cadenza for the soloist, followed by a five-minute movement into which he telescopes functions of slow movement and finale; the result is lopsided...
Copyright © 20 September 2010
Stephen Francis Vasta,
New York, USA
CD INFORMATION: VIEUXTEMPS: VIOLIN CONCERTOS 4 AND 5