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William Walton: Violin Concerto
Presto capriccioso alla napolitana
William Walton: Cello Concerto
Lento - Tema ed improvvisazioni
“Tim Hugh, outstanding in every way, gives a reading of the Concerto that's the most searching yet. More than direct rivals he finds a thoughtfulness, a sense of mystery, of inner meditation in Walton's great lyrical ideas – notably the main themes of the outer movements and the yearning melody of the central section of the second movement Scherzo. Most strikingly his pianissimos are more extreme. The openings of both the outer movements are more hushed than ever heard before on disc, with Hugh in inner intensity opting for broader speeds than usual. Not that he dawdles, as the overall timings of each movement make plain, and the bravura writing finds him equally concentrated, always sounding strong and spontaneous in the face of any technical challenges. In the Violin Concerto Dong-Suk Kang plays immaculately with fresh, clean-cut tone, pure and true above the stave. Many will also applaud the way that Kang opts for speeds rather faster and more flowing than have latterly been favoured. That follows the example of Heifetz as the original interpreter, and Kang similarly relishes the bravura writing, not least in diamond-sharp articulation in the Scherzo. Paul Daniel and the English Northern Philharmonia play with equal flair and sympathy, so that the all-important syncopations always sound idiomatic. But though the recorded textures are commendably clear, the strings are too distantly balanced, lacking weight, so that moments where the violins are required to surge up warmly sound thin – hardly the fault of the players. An excellent coupling, though, with the Cello Concerto offering new depths of insight.”
“At any price, this version would be a top contender.”
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