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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67804
Recording details: December 2009
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon & Will Brown
Release date: October 2010
Total duration: 26 minutes 6 seconds

'Sweet melody coupled with passages of virtuosic fire, underpinned with graceful, discreet orchestral writing' (The Observer)

'Hagai Shaham delivers a fastidious and vivacious sympathy to the flow of figures, a real acolyte of an otherwise marginal repertory' (American Record Guide)

'David's slow movements are especially appealing … but you can turn almost anywhere here to find unreserved melodic delight … Hagai Shaham's playing is sweetness itself, and he's secure in every technical detail … under Martyn Brabbins' alert direction, the BBC Scottish players impart a refreshing clarity to David's Mendelssohnian orchestral writing, their attentiveness supported in Andrew Keener's transparent recording … in short, this disc offers an hour of unremitting pleasure which you would be daft to deny yourself' (International Record Review)

'Shaham and the BBC Scottish Symphony (at their most sparkling and sensitive under Martyn Brabbins) play with supreme virtuoso ease throughout … played like this, these concertos constantly delight with their deft invention. Exemplary sound too' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hagai Shaham pulls off that great virtuoso trick of making the music sound complex, but also making clear that he has every note under his fingers and that he is not sweating it. To non-violinist listeners, the greatest attraction of this music is its lyricism, and Shaham always brings this to the fore, especially in the exquisitely crafted middle movements … excellent playing from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who again demonstrate that they are a force to be reckoned with' (MusicWeb International)

Violin Concerto No 4 in E major, Op 23
composer

Allegro  [11'55]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Violin Concerto No 4 in E major, Op 23 is among David’s most substantial compositions with orchestra. The first movement’s short opening tutti is broadly Classical in outlook, opening with a suave theme for strings and woodwind that is immediately contrasted with a perky march tune for wind instruments and a more lyrical, Mendelssohnian string melody. The violin enters con fuoco in an expressive counter-exposition of this material at much greater length and volubility. A turn to C major instates a Mendelssohnian tune, dolce ed espressivo, as a full-blown second subject, rising to an emotional climax. The rhythms of the march tune then serve as the propulsive power for a development centred almost entirely on the volatile solo line. After a short dramatic orchestral tutti, solo and orchestra combine in a recapitulation which could be described as a second development, because of the remarkably expressive and fluid variants and decorations continually being introduced by the violin. The second subject returns in C major but moves tutta forza into the tonic E. In the coda the solo writing grows yet more ornate and brilliant.

The slow movement, an Adagio cantabile in C major, has a beautiful, almost hymn-like opening tune, at first accompanied only by strings. Discreet chromatic turns of phrase do not detract from the tenderness of this charming music. A more agitated theme in A minor (appassionato) introduces a troubled middle section, and then the opening tune returns against a murmuring viola counterpoint in A major before being stated grandly by the soloist with triple- and quadruple-stopping in C major. The more agitated theme returns briefly before a peaceful coda. Although the principal focus of all three movements is (of course) the violin, David scores for the orchestra with exemplary sensitivity and delicacy, and this movement is a prime example of that virtue.

The finale is an Allegretto grazioso sonata-rondo in jig time, with a pert, capricious main subject, immediately presented with scintillating violin virtuosity. A flamboyant risoluto is the first episode, followed by a suaver, dolce subject. A return of the main subject leads to a rumbustious tutti, out of which emerges a timpani solo, with which the violin dialogues before returning to the rondo tune. The dolce melody reappears in the tonic E major, until the jig tune takes over again. The timpanist now urges the music forward into a capricious coda, Presto, in which the violin drives merrily to the finish. Though this is in many ways a display concerto, it is rather unusual in that it does not contain a cadenza.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010

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