Julia Fischer – Poeme = Works of RESPIGHI; SUK; CHAUSSON; VAUGHAN WILLIAMS – Julia Fischer, violin/Orch. Philharmonique de Monte Carlo/Yakov Kreizberg – Decca

by | May 5, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Julia Fischer – Poeme = RESPIGHI: Poema autumnale; SUK: Fantasy in D Minor, Op. 25; CHAUSSON: Poeme, Op. 25; VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: The Lark Ascending – Julia Fischer, violin/Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo/Yakov Kreizberg – Decca B0015535-02, 69:59 [Distr. By Universal] ****:
In these bucolic and fanciful accompanied works (rec. Monte Carlo 20-24 November 2010) for violin solo, Julia Fischer collaborates with the late Yakov Kreizberg (1959-2011), her preferred orchestra leader. It was Giuseppe Sinopoli who persuaded Fischer to learn the Poema autumnale (1925) of Respighi, whose written “program” by the composer suggests that it corresponds in his catalogue to Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Both reflectively melancholy and archaic in sound, the piece asks the violin for an expressive tone, even given an E Minor cadenza that features somewhat virtuosic double stops. The chorale-like episodes would align the piece with Respighi’s own 1921 Concerto Gregoriano; here, Respighi calls the lyrical writing a “vintner’s song.” The character of Pan (the flute), according to the program, enters in G Minor. The “dance” as such has little rhythmic dynamism, and we leave with that tender melancholy feeling that held a subdued attraction for us from the outset.
The 1903 Fantasy in D Minor by Josef Suk opens with a volatile flourish we might expect from Wieniawski or Vieuxtemps. Its muscular optimistic style reflects something of the extroverted qualities in the Violin Concerto in A Minor by Suk’s father-in-law Dvorak. Sectionalized, the Fantasy alternates between pompous grandeur and lyrical exuberance, the latter aspect of which quite beguiles us for melodic invention coupled with delicate scoring. The tremolando section calls for some fine woodwind playing while the violin weaves a more bravura tapestry that becomes inflamed and transitions into a balletic, moodily martial atmosphere in canon. More impassioned and melodic writing ensues, certainly worthy of a violin concerto, with nice assistance from French horn and tympani. The Allegro section makes demands for stylistic brilliance, and the syncopes from the orchestra prove no less audacious. The writing of the last pages becomes dreamy and modal, even surreal in color, the violin occasionally soaring over the woodwinds. The piece ends as it began, with bold onrushes of sound in an aggressive manner. Fischer’s instrument–a 1742 Guadagnini–projects fluently exquisite tone, vibrant and commanding.
Chausson’s 1896 Poeme–based on a tale or allegory of Turgenev–has compelled listeners since its inception, and many great soloists from Heifetz to Kreisler to Oistrakh have imposed their personalities on this mordantly lovely work. The double-stopping at the outset of the cadenza brings its especial allure from Fischer.  The style, distilled from Franck and Wagner, often hurls big sonorities at us, a passion that threatens to break the delicate fabric of the angular melodic line. Once more, the Monte Carlo section leaders in French horn, oboe, flute, harp, and brass make their contributions significantly intense. In the more intimate moments of the work, Fischer and Kreizberg present a chamber music sensibility undeniably effective. The swelling passages to the final peroration–in the major key–bring a pageantry to the work perhaps too colossal and Romantically hyperbolic, but the consistency of vision imposes a sense of rightness on the interpretation.
The 1914 The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams (orch., 1920) has always had an immediate appeal; two generations ago the piece seemed to be “owned” by violinist Hugh Bean. Based on a poem about a skylark by George Meredith, the piece incorporates variations on pentatonic scales, and the metrics become dreamy in the violin’s cadenzas, which lack bar lines. Its ternary form absorbs the composer’s rather Impressionist scoring, one which is no less indebted to the English folk song tradition. Fischer’s violin captures the “aerial rings in light” dynamics of the skylark, the trills and vaulting arpeggios in transparent but ardent tension. The orchestra adds its own bird calls in fluent colors. The entire album well pays tribute to the Fischer-Kreizberg relationship in music that proved fruitful to us all.
–Gary Lemco

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