PAPANDOPULO: Piano Concerto No. 3. Violin Concerto, Op. 125.
Oliver Triendl, piano. Dan Zhu, violin. Rijeka Opera Symphony Orch/Ville Matvejeff, cond.
CPO 555 100 TT: 75:27
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WEINBERG: Violin Sonaata No. 1`, Op. 12 (1943). Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 15 (1944). Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 37 (1947). Violin Sonata No. 4, Op. 39 (1947). Violin Sonata No, 5, Op. 53 (1953). Violin Sonata No. 6, Op. 136bis (1982). Violin Sonatina, Op. 46 (1949)
Grigory Kalinovsky, violin. Tatiana Goncharova, piano
NAXOS 8.57232320 (2 disks) TT: 61:11 / 66:28
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LAJTHA: Symphony No. 4. Op. 52 "Spring" (1951). Suite No. 2, Op. 38 (1943). Symphony No. 3, Op. 45 (1948).
Pécs Symphony Orchestra / Nicolás Pasquet, cond.
NAXOS 8.573645 TT: 74:15


DE BÉRIOT: Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor, Op. 46. Violin Concerto No. 6 in A, Op. 70. Violin Concerto No. 7 in G, Op. 76. Air varié No. 4 in B flat, Op. 5. Scene de ballet, Op. 100.
Ayana Tsuji, violin. Czech Chamber Philharmonic / Michael Halász, cond.
NAXOS 8.573734 TT: 69:20
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Boris Papandopulo (1906 -1991), a major figure on the Croation music scene, is virtually unknown outside his native country. He came from a musical family and always was interested in opera and theater. Papandopulo was a composer, conductor of orchestras and choral groups, and director-conductor of several national opera companies. He composed profusely writing well over 400 works including six operas, ballets, concertos, symphonic works, chamber and solo instrumental music. Yet his fame never spread outside Croatia, and few recordings exist of his music. It seems his scores are held by his family and not generally available. CPO's CD shows what we have missed, containing two important concertos. Piano Concerto No. 3 dates from 1959, a three-movement energetic work clearly influenced by jazz, bright and entertaining. It is also a virtuoso showpiece, and it deserves to be heard on regular as well as "pop" concerts. It is spectacularly played by Oliver Triendl, who apparently specializes in less-familiar repertory. Of even greater importance is the violin concerto which dates from 1943. It is perhaps the longest of all concertos for the instrument (45:49) and is virtually unknown. It is a magnificent work in every way, challenging for the soloist (the lengthy first-movement cadenza particularly). The final movement is a lively dance bringing the concerto to a rousing conclusion. Papandopulo was a master of orchestration; often reminiscent of Strauss and Korngold, with soaring lines for the soloist over a shimmering tapestry of orchestral textures. I would be surprised if this concerto isn't taken up by other leading violinists. The brilliant young Chinese Dan Zhu provides a scintillating reading. and the excellent Rijeka Opera Orchestra is in top form under Ville Matvejeff's sensitive direction. Engineers have captured all of this in perfect stereo. For me, this is one of the major releases of the year—unknown repertory, perfectly presented. Don't miss it!!

Some months ago this site praised a Naxos release of László Lajtha's Symphony No.1 played by the Pécs Symphony directed by Nicholás Pasquet (REVIEW). This Hungarian composer had imagination, often used folk tones, and was a superb orchestrator. Here we have two of his symphonies. Symphony No. 4, subtitled "Spring," was composed in the early '50s, a dark time both for Hungary and the composer, yet it is one of Lajtha's most positive works. The final movement is a joyous exhilarating dance. Symphony No. 2 utilizes music Lajtha wrote for a film version of T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. There are two movements to this brooding and rather disturbed score, far removed from the gaiety of most of his other works. The lively Suite No. 2 is actually a ballet suite of four short movements written for a dance comedy. Performances are excellent, as is audio quality. These recordings were made in Hungary in 1995 and have previously been issued. Now we are fortunate they have returned to the catalog.

 

 

Distinguished Belgian violinist/composer/teacher Charles Auguste de Beriot (1802 - 1870) was highly regarded during his era, and wrote a great deal of music for his instrument. Unfortunately these ten concertos have been overlooked by most violinists, but they are worthy of attention and surely make many demands on the soloist. Over the years, Naxos has been doing their bit to promote De Beriot's music and they already have issued disks of concertos 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9, and now continue the series with Nos. 4, 6 and 7. Each is quite brief, No. 4 has just one movement, the other two each have two movements. These sparkling performances by young Japanese violinist Ayana Tsuji show judges at the 2016 Montreal International Competition chose wisely when they awarded her numerous prizes. These are charming, worthy concertos that deserve a place, at least occasionally, in the concert hall. Thanks to Naxos for making them available in splendid performances. As a bonus, we have two of the composers best-known "encore" pieces, the Air varie No. 4, and Scene de ballet, both heard in their orchestral accompaniment version. A splendid release!

Fortunately the musical world - and record companies - are finally beginning to recognize th importance of one of Russia's major composers, second perhaps only to Shostakovich. A number of excellent recordings have appeared in recent years and many have been mentioned on this site including a Chandos SCD of various concertos (REVIEW), another SACD of three violin sonatas played by Linus Roth (REVIEW).and a Naxos recording of the mighty Symphony No. 12 (REVIEW). The Weinberg here is supplemented with a convenient disk of all of the violin sonatas in excellent performances by Gregory Albinos accompanied by Tatiana Goncharova. Recordings were made in four different sessions in New York's L. Brown Recording Studios in New York. An important release!