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

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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

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