Alexandre da Costa / Gilad Karni / Thomas Rösner / Orchestre Symphonique Bienne

Bruch: Kol Nidrei; Violin Concerto No. 1; Serenade on Swedish Folk Melodies

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From the most well-known to the most obscure, this Guild CD features quite a wide range of output from composer Max Bruch. The First Violin Concerto in G minor is by far the most frequently performed of Bruch's output, a frustration for the composer himself, who was not especially fond of the piece. Kol Nidrei, a work almost exclusively performed on the cello, is heard here in a version by the composer for violin and orchestra. For these two violin works, Alexandre da Costa joins the Orchestre Symphonique Bienne under Thomas Rösner for what turn out to be acceptable but uninspiring performances. Da Costa's playing in the concerto is technically sufficient, but there are just too many errors that pop up in a concerto of limited technical difficulty. His playing is also somewhat musically bland, taking a surprisingly lackluster tempo in the normally energetic finale. The version of Kol Nidrei for violin and orchestra is also lacking in the depth and repentant tone the work usually carries, and the violin seems ill-equipped to deliver the same sonorous depth as the cello. The remaining works on the program are far more successful. Gilad Karni's playing in the Romance for viola and orchestra is rich and graceful, and the orchestra brings to life the Serenade on Swedish Folk Melodies with well-executed technical playing that is simultaneously inviting and playful, truly evocative of a folk idiom.

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