Michael Erxleben, Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur, Jac van Steen – Frank Martin: Concertos (2004)
SACD Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 64:00 minutes | Scans NOT included | 3,32 GB
or DSD64 Stereo (from SACD-ISO to Tracks.dsf) > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front, Scans NOT included | 2,52 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (carefully converted & encoded to tracks) 24bit/44,1 kHz | Front, Scans NOT incl. | 562 MB
Features Stereo and Multichannel Surround Sound | Label: MDG # 901-1280-6
Frank Martin’s Violin Concerto must be counted one of the finest 20th century works in the genre. It’s a very beautiful, lyrical work. The opening orchestral tutti alone instantly establishes an unforgettable, magical atmosphere, an amalgam of impressionism, jazz, modal harmony, and a touch of 12-tone technique. There was an old Decca recording with Wolfgang Schneiderhan (recently reissued on DG), which was quite good, but this version is in another league. Not only does Michael Erxleben essay the solo part with a wholly winning combination of shapely phrasing and rhythmic suppleness (Schneiderhan was a touch foursquare), but the Winterthur orchestra under Jac van Steen plays Martin’s austere but evocative score with real character. The balance between solo and ensemble also is perfectly judged, allowing a vivid interplay between the two and support for the soloist that, however gentle, never lacks for color and impact.
Even though Frank Martin at times experimented with Schoenberg’s twelve-tone system, he used the row merely as a modification of his already flexible tonal language. As a result, his Violin Concerto (1950-1951) is smooth and fluid as it drifts between its chromatic, dissonant counterpoint, and overtly tonal passages, for these are derived from the same interval relationships. Most notable about this Concerto, however, is the integral role the violin plays. Martin eschewed virtuosity for its own sake, and reasoned that the solo part must always be an extension of the whole work’s material and development, not just an endless cadenza with accompaniment. Consequently, violinist Michael Erxleben has comparatively few opportunities to display his fine technical skills, and must instead let his tone and expression carry the piece along. The polished Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur, conducted by Jac van Steen, is solidly behind Erxleben, and the soloist and orchestra seem evenly balanced in MDG’s natural, unprocessed recording. The fairly comical Concerto for 7 wind instruments, timbales, percussion and string orchestra (1949) and the quasi-Impressionistic ballet piece Danse de la peur for two pianos and small orchestra (1936) are pleasant to hear for their vibrant colors, but are perhaps less intellectually and emotionally stimulating than the Violin Concerto.
01. Concerto pour violon et orchestre – I. Allegro tranquillo
02. Concerto pour violon et orchestre – II. Andante molto moderato
03. Concerto pour violon et orchestre – III. Presto
04. Concerto pour 7 instruments à vent, timbales, batterie et orchestre à cordes – I. Allegro
05. Concerto pour 7 instruments à vent, timbales, batterie et orchestre à cordes – II. Adagietto misterioso et elegante
06. Concerto pour 7 instruments à vent, timbales, batterie et orchestre à cordes – III. Allegro vivace
07. Danse de la peur pour deux pianos et petit orchestre – Adagio-Allegro con fuoco-Lento-Allegro
Michael Erxleben – violin
Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur
Jac van Steen – Conductor
Produced by Reimund Grimm. Recording Supervisor: Friedrich Wilhelm Rödding. Editor: Dr. Irmlind Capelle.
Recorded on October 23, 2003 (tracks 4-6); January 15-17, 2004 (tracks 1-3 & 7) at Stadthaus Winterthur.