Christian Tetzlaff / David Zinman / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto - Violin Romances

Christian Tetzlaff is a brilliant violinist, one whose technique is equaled by his intelligence. He recorded a very respectable Beethoven Violin Concerto with Michael Gielen, last available on Point Classics in so-so sound. This newcomer is finer still, an interpretation with real personality and a point of view. It's a reading of high contrasts in which the music's antithesis between energetic outbursts (particularly in the first movement) and lyrical effusiveness comes to the fore. Zinman establishes this dichotomy right from the beginning: tempos are swift, accents are sharp, and when Tetzlaff enters, the polarity between solo and orchestra swiftly establishes itself.
In this
context, Tetzlaff's use of Beethoven's own cadenza from the piano concerto version of the piece, recast for solo violin, proves an inspired choice, carrying the drama straight through to the end of the movement. The Larghetto finds Tetzlaff offering tenderness and real "Innigkeit" without a shred of excessive sentimentality; and as throughout the performance his exchanges with the orchestra's woodwind section are just lovely. Even in the rambunctious finale Tetzlaff displays remarkable variety in his phrasing of the main theme, at first a touch subdued, as if still shrugging off the previous movement's legato dreaminess, but then frisky and buoyant. It's a remarkably comprehensive conception of the piece, and the two Romances, the logical coupling, seldom have sounded more elegant.  (David Hurwitz)

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