Composer: Antonin Dvořák, George Gershwin
Performer: Liza Ferschtman (violin)
Orchestra: Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Amsterdam
Conductor: Mario Venzago
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.1, 2.0
Label: Challenge Classics
Size: 2.95 GB
Liza Ferschtman, Mario Venzago, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Amsterdam
Dvořák: Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 53
Gershwin: An American In Paris
Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 53
01. Allegro ma non troppo-Quasi moderato 11:31
02. Adagio ma non troppo 10:33
03. Finale. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo 10:54
04. An American in Paris 19:16
About the album
The premiere of the Violin Concerto composed by Dvořák would be in Prague on 14 October 1883, played by the Czech violinist František Ondříček. A month Later he played it in Vienna with the Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Hans Richter. It was a special and memorable concert for Dvořák, all the more so since the Third Symphony of Brahms was on the programme as well, and Brahms had been a driving force behind the Violin Concerto.
We do not know why Joachim never performed the Violin Concerto. it was the idea that Joseph Joachim would have played the actual Premiere but this in the end did not happen.It was claimed that, having been trained in the German musical tradition, he thought the concerto’s form was too free. Although he never said so directly to Dvořák, a number of his proposed changes point in that direction. Strictly speaking he was right, but it was precisely the unconventional forms used by the composer that make the work so intriguing.(from the linernotes)
Liza Ferschtman gives a beautiful rendition of this intruiging concerto together with Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Mario Venzago.
On this cd we can also hear “An American in Paris”, a symphonic poem, or perhaps it can better be termed a free rhapsody for an expanded orchestra by Gershwin . Although Gershwin had not meant it as programme music and certainly not as an autobiographic work, it clearly shows features of both. And it was even Gershwin himself who described the piece as follows: “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere.” As the story continues, the man becomes homesick for the familiar sounds at home in America. But pleasure gains the upper hand and he flings himself with conviction into the hustle and bustle of Paris.
Review on SA-CD.net:
Northstar’s 1st class DSD recording is natural & impeccably balanced as usual, in a pleasantly resonant but not reverberant acoustic, & a low noise floor. The soloist is portrayed as standing just in front of the orchestra, blending well with the orchestral sound without any obtrusive spotlighting; the violin tone is given plenty of air to develop. … A demonstration-worthy recording includes a stunningly well-focussed sound stage, notably in front to back perspective. I was thrilled by this reading in both sonics & performance & can’t keep it out of my player.
~ John Mille
AllMusic Review by V. Vasan:
There are some musicians who are so comfortable with their repertoire that they truly own the pieces they play. On this CD, Dvoràk: Violin Concerto; Gershwin: An American in Paris, the pieces are owned by violinist Liza Ferschtman &d conductor Mario Venzago with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Amsterdam. From the very beginning of the concerto, one can hear the clean, bright energetic sound with a sensual, liquid violin soloing over the orchestra. There is indeed power in the orchestra, as one can hear in the timpani. Ferschtman plays with such ease that her sound is seamless, the result of solid technique & absolute comfort with the piece. Her sound is what one would expect from the designation “solo violinist”: confident, expressive, & a delight to hear. She moves through passages with agility, with the orchestra backing her fully. Her violin at the end of the 2nd movement sings so sweetly, & the concerto progresses into the clean, playful 3rd movement. None of this daunts the violinist, who changes emotional gears with no difficulty, & the orchestra keeps the music light. The players are full of emotion, but never over the top; Venzago maintains just a touch of elegant restraint. The minor key Slavic folk melody is very appealing, certainly a hallmark of the composer. An American in Paris is such a popular work that there is a danger of new recordings the piece becoming “yet another” performance that has nothing special to say. Here, however, the Netherlands Philharmonic performs it with exuberance & a buoyant quality. The players capture the contrasting textures simultaneously: crisp trumpets, machine guns snare rhythms, & legato strings. It is a testament to the conductor that he can bring out each part so clearly. There is no doubt that the orchestra members are enjoying themselves, especially in the languid, jazzy trumpet theme that conjures up Harlem in the jazz age. All the ingredients work together on this CD, a sleight-of-hand that masks the hard work & technique & creates magic.