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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: 23 minutes 47 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 5 in D minor, Op 35

Allegro serioso  [10'56]
Adagio  [5'01]
Vivace  [7'50]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
David’s Violin Concerto No 5 in D minor, Op 35 is—at least in its first two movements—a work of character, deploying an orchestra which (unlike that of No 4) includes trombones. Indeed, it begins Allegro serioso with a substantial orchestral tutti establishing an atmosphere of Sturm und Drang through its rising, thrusting opening theme with prominent dotted rhythm. There is a plaintive second idea, and then a chorale-like phrase on the horns introduces the violin’s first entry, with an espressivo variant of the opening theme. Throughout this work, in fact, David uses the orchestra in a more atmospheric and colourful way than in No 4, although it is still outshone by the marvellously conceived solo part. The soloist now embarks on a full-blown counter-exposition, finding pathos where the orchestra found drama, but also plenty of opportunities for bravura turns of phrase. The soloist then moves on to a more feminine dolce theme that adds a new element, and rhapsodizes up to a stern D minor tutti, marked by the first entry of the trombones. From here on begins the development, in which the violin takes up a variant of the dolce theme before re-working all the subjects with continuous bravura. The stormy, harried emotional atmosphere mounts until the dolce tune returns, sweetly indeed, in A major. Recapitulation blends with an ever more brilliant coda, the climax coming with the violin singing out ff largamente over dramatic string tremolos before the stentorian final bars.

A romantic horn solo opens the G major Adagio, leading the violin to share a touching cantilena of elevated nostalgia. Such music might be described as sentimental, but it is also beautiful, and charmingly conceived in its orchestral setting. It rises to a passionate protestation, and then an ad libitum link (it is too short to call it a cadenza) leads into the final cadence, which segues directly into the finale. Starting with excited orchestral preparation, this Vivace movement is a headlong, breathless dance that finds us seemingly among Mendelssohn’s fairies, with the violin the most brilliant elfin dancer of all. The orchestra adds enthusiastic assent to its caperings. A con grazia episode in A major moves in a slightly statelier measure, but the sense of fun is never lost. A larger tutti introduces a broader espressivo tune in F major, but the principal Peaseblossom dance soon returns. The con grazia subject comes back in D major (as if to prove the movement a sonata-rondo); and then for a moment we hear a tender reminiscence of the Adagio’s cantilena. Only for a moment, however, for the fairies are off again, into a molto animato coda of irresistible élan. This scintillating, will-o’-the-wisp affair, with its echoes of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream music, is such an original and delightful invention that one is amazed this concerto is not better known. It may be ‘violinist’s music’, but it is an example of the genre that we can all enjoy.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010

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