Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Op 35

Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Op 35

Article excerpt

Tchaikovsky

Violin Concerto, Op 35. String Quartet No 3, Op 30 (arr Weithaas/Steuri)

Camerata Bern / Antje Weithaas vn

AVI-Music (F) AVI8553393 (77' * DDD)

'A gracefully elegant, thoroughly aristocratic Russian' is how the German violinist Antje Weithaas describes Tchaikovsky in her booklet note. She professes her desire to take his Violin Concerto away from being a virtuoso showpiece, making it more of a chamber collaboration. To this effect, she succeeds, in close partnership with Camerata Bern, who play without a conductor. Hers is an unassuming, unhurried account that shies away from heart-on-sleeve passions.

Weithaas steals in sweetly in the first movement, her tone clean and with minimum vibrato. Even her double-stopping sounds efficient and clinical rather than impassioned and her precise treatment of the cadenza (from 10'10") is a little like treading over glass, skating over the concerto's emotional core. This isn't a rethinking of the score as radical as Patricia Kopatchinskaja's controversial recording but it has a detached quality which I find altogether too cool.

There is an attractive sweetness to her muted tone in the Canzonetta, which doesn't wallow, with lovely woodwind exchanges. …

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