VIVALDI: Gloria in D Major, RV 589; The Four Seasons, RV 269; 315; 294; 297 – Mimi Coertse/Ina Dressel/Sonja Draxler/ Julian Olevsky, violin/Vienna Opera Orchestra/Hermann Scherchen – Tahra

by | Jan 11, 2011 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

VIVALDI: Gloria in D Major, RV 589; The Four Seasons, RV 269; 315; 294; 297 – Mimi Coertse/Ina Dressel/Sonja Draxler/ Julian Olevsky, violin/Vienna Opera Orchestra/Hermann Scherchen

Tahra TAH 697, 77:30 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

Hermann Scherchen (1891-1966) maintained an abiding interest in older music, but Vivaldi figured relatively rarely in his programs between 1924 and 1963, in merely seven concerts, of which the Gloria appeared once, on 5 April 1963 in Milan with the RAI Orchestra. The present performance dates from two studio sessions 18-19 November 1960, in which Scherchen elicits some luminous sounds from his forces, particularly in the strings and brass. The piece utilizes two sopranos and one contralto, the latter in the Domine Deus and Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris in which Sonja Draxler executes some lovely melismas on “Miserere nobis.” The duple time Gloria movements always captures our fancy, its festive piety intense and dramatically graduated. The scoring of the final movement, Cum sancto Spiritu, beginning  with the male voices then high female voices, and layered with strings and winds, suggests an influence on Mozart’s Kyrie in the Requiem Mass. Eminently exalted and ceremonial, the performance ranks among Scherchen’s more refined efforts, tasteful and assured in its musical aims.

The Four Seasons
with Julian Olevsky (1926-1985) derives from sessions 2-18 June 1958. Generally subdued and intimate, the inscription bears Scherchen’s imprimatur of deliberate, even willful tempos–as in the Larghissimo in the E Major Spring Concerto–that demands the utmost response from his assembled forces. The final movement–Song of the Birds–luxuriates in warbles and flights of musical and natural fancy. The G Major “Summer” Concerto opens with a contrived torpor, only to burst forth in agitated figures that will culminate in a summer storm of sweeping intensity in the final movement. Huge ritards infiltrate this reading, old school a la Mengelberg. Thusly, the eruptions of force and Nature’s virility emerge the more sudden and ineluctable.

The F Major “Autumn” Concerto enjoys a largesse of spirit and textural transparency quite alluring. Olevsky and the continuo engage in a heated exchange meditative and innately colorful as the leaves themselves that attest to Nature’s alchemy.  The Adagio’s magical riffs from the harpsichord over a floating string drone must be heard to convey its serenity prior to the festive hunt that concludes the shortest of the concertos. The darkly virile F Minor “Winter” Concerto receives Scherchen’s sustained dramatic sense, opening with wicked appoggiaturas in dotted rhythm, and Olevsky’s solo exploding into the mix with a fatality that Bach must have perceived as crucial for his own violin concertos. “Spend at the chimney calm and quiet days” invokes the poet for the Largo section. The pizzicati make a strong counterpoint to Olevsky’s serene melody line. To conclude, Scherchen indulges in great contrasts in tempo, from a drone-based, moderate allegro to a demonic presto describing the fury of the North Wind.

–Gary Lemco

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01
La Clave – Acoustic Sounds

La Clave – Acoustic Sounds

Verve/Universal Music Group releases a re-mastered vinyl of an obscure, but highly entertaining 70’s album.