1930s Violin Concertos Vol 1: Barber, Hartmann, Berg et al – review

Gil Shaham explores the deep link between concertos, which emanated from an era of political exile and impending disaster

The 1930s saw a sudden flourishing of concertos for violin. In this selection, the first of a planned series, Shaham asks whether there is a deeper link between them, emanating as they do from an era of political exile and impending disaster.

I suspect this is simply an excuse to record some of his favourite concertos, most of which were taped “live” with different orchestras (including the BBC Symphony, to which he returns next week for Bright Sheng’s new concerto).

He finds unexpected parallels of rhapsodic beauty in Barber and Berg, captures the introspective intensity of Hartmann’s Concerto funèbre and infuses Stravinsky with wit and surprising tenderness. Best of all is Britten’s concerto – a performance of rare subtlety and feeling.

1930s Violin Concertos Vol 1

Barber, Hartmann, Berg, Stravinsky and Britten

Gil Shaham

(Canary Classics), 2 CDs

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

More on this topic

Suggestions below based on Gil Shaham

BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall

It is almost 70 years since a fateful night in 1941 when the Queen’s Hall was destroyed in the Blitz. The Proms were hastily moved to the Royal Albert Hall, where they have remained, but the search to find a smaller venue for chamber music has only recently been solved with the expansion at Cadogan Hall.

Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

In the short time that Gustavo Dudamel has been visiting to conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra, his star has risen fast. At the start of their relationship the Philharmonia probably felt it was helping to encourage a young talent. Now it is lucky Dudamel has time to drop in as he jets from one international engagement to the next.