BBC Music Magazine

Dvo ák • Suk


Dvoˇrák: Violin Concerto;

Suk: Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra; Liebeslied (arr S Koncz) Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin); Antwerp Symphony Orchestra/ Alan Buribayev

BIS BIS-2246 (hybrid CD/SACD)

63:02 mins

Bringing together works for violin and orchestra by Anton Dvo ák and his beloved son-in-law and compositio­n pupil Josef Suk has long been a popular pairing. Recordings range from Karel

An erl and the Czech Philharmon­ic Orchestra’s landmark performanc­e with Josef Suk the younger (the composer’s grandson) as soloist, to Christian Tetzlaff and the Helsinki Philharmon­ic Orchestra’s more recent disc, also featuring Suk’s Romance for violin and orchestra. This solid release from the excellent BIS label explores this same winning composer duo and features some fine playing but is perhaps not world-class.

Twenty-eight year old violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing has been something of a household name in Norway for a number of years, having given her concerto debut with the Bergen Philharmon­ic Orchestra at the tender age of 11.

Her reading of the Dvo ák is agile and characterf­ul, although perhaps lacks the soaring sweetness that the Concerto’s central movement calls for, and the finale from both soloist and orchestra at times feels a touch heavy-handed. Both Hemsing and ensemble shine much more convincing­ly in Suk’s Fantasy in G minor (1902) a rip-roaring concerto-length work packed with virtuosic violin writing and sumptuous orchestral textures.

The recording’s real highpoint is, however, the all-too-brief final track of the disc, Suk’s delightful ‘Liebeslied’ (the opening movement of his Six Piano Pieces of 1891-93) heard here in a clever arrangemen­t for violin and orchestra by Stephan Koncz. Hemsing plays this endlessly tender ‘love song’ with a perfect blend of heart and restraint, closing the disc with a small but perfectly formed musical jewel.

Kate Wakeling



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