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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67498
Recording details: December 2004
Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: February 2006
Total duration: 20 minutes 0 seconds

'Hagai Shaham is something very special indeed with a sound that reminds me of Heifetz at his most silkily seductive. Both of these blazingly romantic works should be in concert halls the world over' (Gramophone)

'Hagai Shaham does wonders for these neglected scores, playing with beguiling purity throughout the range, and a heart-felt intensity that makes the most of Hubay's penchant for soaring E-string melody. Typically alert and sensitive backing from the BBC Scottish SO under the direction of Martyn Brabbins and luxury sound round out an excellent release' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The performances are uniformly excellent: Hagai Shaham is a supple soloist and gives the music all the support he can' (The Guardian)

'With Shaham, Hubay's legacy is in very safe hands indeed. He delivers these works with a solid technique and commanding authenticity. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins provide rather more than just support, aided by a reasonably natural recorded balance which lets Hubay's colouristic touches have full effect' (International Record Review)

'You wonder why all three works are not in the repertoire of every violinist. But then not every violinist sounds like Shaham. He really is something very special indeed. It almost goes without saying that that BBC Scottish and Brabbins provide their customary exemplary, colourful support. Earmarked for one of my discs of the year' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hubay's works should come as a most welcome addition to the recorded repertoire and Shaham's performances as an enthusiastic introduction. Recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'The virtuosic demands of Hubay’s music are more than adequately met by the formidable technique of violinist Hagai Shaham. One has to admire and be grateful to such musicians as he, for learning the music on this disc probably carries with it little promise that concert engagements of Hubay’s music will follow' (MusicWeb International)

'On retrouve dans cet album toutes les qualités de jeu du soliste qui nous avaient séduits dans les précédents volumes, finesse de timbres, agilité, panache, sobriété de style … Shaham fait preuve une fois encore d'une virtuosité scintillante' (Diapason, France)

Suite for violin and orchestra, Op 5
1877/8, revised in 1881

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Hubay’s Suite for violin and orchestra Op 5—composed in 1877–8, revised in 1881 and dedicated to Carolus Agghazi—is typical of Romantic suites in alluding to the dance origins of the Baroque suite while essentially being a free collection of genre pieces. This is one of Hubay’s early works, originally written for violin and piano before being revised with orchestral accompaniment, and it maintains a traditional four-movement form.

The ‘Gavotte’ preserves the character of the Baroque dance. After a short orchestral introduction the first theme is presented by the soloist, while the second theme consists of a contrasting two-part melody. After the repetition of the first theme, the soloist plays a fast variation on the second theme, which is also heard on the woodwinds. A return of the first theme completes the movement.

The ‘Idylle’, a pastoral siciliano-like movement, was also published and performed as an independent piece. In a straightforward A–B–A structure, the movement opens with an orchestral introduction before the soloist plays the main melody. The minor-key middle section is slightly faster and dynamically developed. The coda ends on the high harmonics of the solo violin.

The third movement, ‘Intermezzo’, starts with triplets in the strings. Over this backdrop the violin presents a marching tune. A more mellow, melodic section in the minor key leads to the marching first theme played by the horns. The soloist develops demanding technical variations on this theme before the slower melodic section appears in a different tonality, ending in high trills on the violin. The movement ends with a restatement of the opening theme.

The closing ‘Finale’ recalls the ‘Gavotte’ in its introduction, as if completing the circle. The tempo then changes to Allegro vivace and the soloist launches on a technically demanding run of triplets with a simple accompaniment in the strings. The middle section presents a second theme, characterized by quaver triplets first played by the orchestra. This theme is developed in different keys and leads to a short cadenza. As with the other movements in this suite, a recapitulation of the first theme concludes the movement.

from notes by Amnon Shaham © 2006

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