I wondered how long it would be before the Schoeck concerto caught
the eye of Hyperion in their Romantic Violin Concerto series. It’s
such a delightful work with a lambently expressive absorption in the
singing heart of the instrument. That the music was written as a love
offering by Swiss lieder
and opera specialist, Othmar Schoeck
to Stefi Geyer who gave him the cold shoulder dampens the ardour of
the music not a whit. You can read the best account of that one-sidedly
imploring encounter in Christopher Walton’s unique, frank and
masterly intimate biography of Schoeck: Othmar Schoeck - Life and
[ISBN: 9781580463003, University of Rochester Press]. You
just have to hear this work - and likewise the Janis Ivanovs and August
de Boeck violin concertos - further candidates for Hyperion’s
It takes the gifted insight of Hyperion to make a love-match between
the Schoeck and the Glazunov and to have the well-founded confidence
of investing both works with Chloe Hanslip’s great musicianship.
This recording will do her reputation no harm at all; quite the opposite.
After this we need to hear her and her co-conspirators in lush romanticism
- Vedernikov and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana - in the Korngold
and the Tchaikovsky.
Listening to this Glazunov, a work I dearly love, was comparable in
effect to Hyperion’s
of the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No 2 by Marc-André
Hamelin. It vies with well-loved reference recordings - in that case
Here Hanslip is to be counted very high, in the same exalted company
, Rachel Barton-Pine
. I have high hopes of one other version as yet unheard
by me: Oscar Shumsky on Chandos (CHAN 8596). However this new one
is nothing short of superb - spine-tingling stuff. The two Glazunov
makeweights are lovingly done. They were not unknown to me but have,
to my knowledge, never sounded so succulent. Interestingly the Mazurka-Oberek
was not included in the indispensable Warner-Serebrier collection
of Glazunov’s complete concertos though there was room for it.
As for the Schoeck it has not been recorded on a large-scale. Geyer
can be heard on a Jecklin
in a recording made in later life - it’s a vintage item.
Other violinists who have championed the Concerto include Bettina
Boller on Claves
Emmy Verhey’s MGB account has been around since 1991 and Ulf
Hoelscher recorded it for Novalis. It’s a lovely work - in almost
constant song; perhaps too much for its own good at times. It needs
more stony drama but as a caressing love poem on a large-scale it
never lets the listener down for all its transient echoes of Brahms
and Mendelssohn meeting Delius. You can keep stylistic originality
if I have to decry music of this emotional impact.
Hyperion have rarely misplaced their commissions to write liner-notes
and their trust in Calum Macdonald is completely rewarded. The sound
quality throughout is big, warm and close - a superb job has been
done by Andrew Keener and Ben Connellan. The engineering forms a perfectly
adroit complement to the demands of these sunset works in performances
that seem faithfully to emote the composers’ intentions. In
a word: glorious.