The theme of this recent entry in Naxos’ American Classics series is works by American composers for violin and orchestra. Of course Enescu was Romanian, but Hollywood film composer Waxman took mostly the second half of his popular Rhapsody No. 1 and refashioned it into a showpiece for violin and orchestra. This flows into a work entirely by Waxman which grew out of his score for the climax of a 1946 Hollywood film, Humoresque. Waxman takes themes from the Prelude and Liebestod of the Wagner opera and creates a sort of double concerto for violin, piano and orchestra. The opening selection of the CD is the yearning main theme of the score Corigliano created for another motion picture – The Red Violin.
John Adams’ concerto was premiered in l993 by Gideon Kremer. It has the violin playing constantly from start to finish of its three movements in standard concerto form. At its center is another Chaconne, with the violin slowly stretching out the theme. The work’s finale concentrates on virtuosity from both the soloist and orchestra, and seems to revert to the more minimalist style with which Adams’ composing career began. Hanslip is a first rate soloist in all the works, and the sonics are excellent – having been recorded at Abbey Road Studio in London.
– John Sunier