Tuesday 29 September 2015

Through a romantic lens - Baroque Inspirations

Baroque Inspirations - Hideko Udagawa
Tartini, Vivaldi, Stamitz, Vitali, Kreisler; Hideko Udagawa, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Nicholas Kraemer; Nimbus Alliance
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Sept 18 2015
Star rating: 3.5

Baroque music seen through a more romantic lens, including a pastiche by Kreisler

This new disc on Nimbus Alliance from the UK-based Japanese violinist Hideko Udagawa is something of a contrast to her previous discs of music by Khachaturian, being a programme of baroque music with works by Tartini, Vivaldi, and Tomasso Vitali, but the addition of a concerto in the style of Antonio Vivaldi by Fritz Kreisler rather gives the game away. Entitled Baroque Inspirations, this is a disc of music which has often been appropriated, or misappropriated by later composers and was often known in highly romantic editions. Here Udagawa plays concertos by Kreisler and by Karl Stamitz, and a concertante work by Vitali, accompanied by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Kraemer, as well as unaccompanied music by Tartini, and Vivaldi.

She starts with Tartini's Sonata in G minor, 'Devils Trill' in a version for solo violin. The composer published it with a basso continuo accompaniment but said in correspondence about his Piccole Sonata that the sonatas were 'notated with a bass part for the sake of convention', but he played them 'without the bass', and this had been his true intention. Without a surviving manuscript, the work has a number of different versions, some like that of Kreisler more extreme than others. It would perhaps be interesting to hear Kreisler's version, but Udagawa plays Cartier's more scholarly one, and it works remarkably well unaccompanied, allowing the violin free rein.

Next comes a tiny Vivaldi piece for unaccompanied violin, in fact a later transcription of one of his Sonate a violine e basso per il cembalo, Op.2. Again, working remarkably well on solo violin.

Karl Stamitz's Concerto in B flat for violin and orchestra was one of the concertos which he probably presented in Paris where he spent a lengthy period. He was the eldest son of the celebrated Mannheim violinist and director of music. His concerto in three movements moves interestingly between the earlier 18th century and more modern styles.The opening Allegro has a traditional baroque structure but more modern musical material including a cadenza for the soloists. The Adagio is expressively lyrical, again with some showy moments whilst the final movement is a lively, if short rondo.

Kreisler's Concerto in C for violin and orchestra in the style of Antonio Vivaldi is of course, nothing like Vivaldi to our ears. But it was intended as a baroque pastiche (a companion to the works which Kreisler's publisher passed off as Kreisler's genuine baroque discoveries). It is a three movement work, again fast, slow, fast, and intriguingly mixes neo-baroque material with more romantic gestures. Though, we have to consider that it is perhaps not that far from some of the real baroque works which were presented in extremely romantic editions

The Chaconne attributed to Tomasso Vitali  was originally printed in Ferdinand David's violin collection published in Leipzig in 1867. Other so-called editors produced rather more creative editions, but even in a scholarly one the music is hardly anything like Vitali. Again it is an interesting example of later misappropriation. The attraction of the piece is for increasing opportunities for elaborate display. Udegawa plays it with the orchestration revised by the young composer Danyal Dhondy.

Udagawa is a pupil of Nathan Milstein, and she combines a richly expressive and vibrant timbre with a fine technique. There is no hint of modern baroque style in her playing, so though she uses modern editions the sound world she evokes is that of earlier performance in the 20th century. That said, the overall style is actually rather captivating, and I did feel that it might have been fun to go further and give works like the Chaconne or the Tartini in more Kreisler-esque editions. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Nicholas Kraemer accompanies finely, matching Udegawa in vibrancy.

Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) - Sonata in G minor, 'Devil's Trill'
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) - Prelude: Andante in C minor
Karl Stamitz (1745-1801) - Concerto in B flat for violin and orchestra
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) - Concerto in C for violin and orchestra in the style of Antonio Vivaldi
Tomasso Vitali (1663-1745) - Chaconne in G minor
Hideko Udagawa (violin)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Nicholas Kraemer (conductor)
Recorded 23 May 2014, St Jude's Church, Hampstead, 15-16 April 2014, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Elsewhere on this blog:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts this month