HUBAY: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, “Concerto dramatique”; Scenes de la Csarda: No. 3, Op. 18; Scenes de la Csarda: “Hejre Kati”; Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major – Chloe Hanslip, violin/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Mogrelia – Naxos

by | Dec 13, 2009 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

HUBAY: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 21 “Concerto dramatique”; Scenes de la Csarda: No. 3, Op. 18; Scenes de la Csarda: No. 4, Op. 32 “Hejre Kati”; Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major, Op. 90 – Chloe Hanslip, violin/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Mogrelia – Naxos 8.572078, 70:46 ****:

Rooted deeply in the romantic tradition of Vieuxtemps and Viotti, the music of Jeno Hubay (1858-1937) attempts to synthesize the Hungarian style of Liszt with the Belgian school of violin playing. The 1884 Concerto dramatique in A Minor, Op. 21 has as its dedicatee Joseph Joachim. Rather lyrical in its opening movement, Allegro appassionato, the concerto asks of the soloist its fair share of short cadenzas, triplets, tremolos, double-stops, and sforzando passages that break into high harmonics. The two major affects remain scherzando and dolce. When the orchestra does play tutti, the affect becomes more resolute, but Hubay would prefer not to sustain the militancy over sweetness. The Adagio features some misty harmonies for strings and harp, rather indicative of a ballet scene or a Liadov tone-poem. The violin enters al cantabile, a lovely song without words, with only the middle section to provide a more bravura contrast. The finale, Allegro con brio, suggests a stormy hora or round dance with a bit Liszt’s Mephisto besides. While the lines evolve gracefully–a contrasting section for violin and harp–and idiomatically, the tissue does not seem particularly inspired.

Hubay promulgated the czardas as his Hungarian dance of choice, especially as its gypsy sensibility appealed to Liszt and Johann Strauss. In two sections, lassu and friss, the form permits any number of folk tunes in its rhapsodic development. The No. 3 (1883) utilizes a folk tune, “The Maros flows peacefully,” whose opening motif alludes to Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasia. A lament in parlando style gives way to a spirited buzzing gypsy dance that moves from the cabaret to the bonfire. “Beautiful Katie” (1886) remains Hubay’s most popular composition, a three-section poem whose natural line immediately gratifies. A luscious Lento section leads to an Allegro moderato, then the ritornello, and finally a fiercely breathless Presto. The nice use of color instruments in the winds makes for an irresistible brew.

The Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major–which makes both concertos’ keys conform to those of Bach–was composed around 1900. A brief martial introduction leads to the solo entry, who prefers to play dolce until some passionate gestures call for pyrotechnics on the G string. One might discern hints from Tchaikovsky’s concerto. The Larghetto plies a tender song, its central section exploding Piu mosso quasi Allegretto. Virtuosic triplets do not in themselves guarantee celestial melodies, but the Allegro non troppo makes for a light diverting movement, certainly a charming vehicle for the young Chloe Hanslip.

–Gary Lemco

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