Malcolm Stewart / Douglas Bostock

Nielsen: Violin Concerto; Aladdin Suite; Romance for Violin Op. 2

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For fans of the Danish modernist Carl Nielsen, this disc will be mandatory listening. Why? Because it's got the first recordings of the latest editions of his Violin Concerto and Aladdin Suite plus the world premiere recording of his Romance for violin and orchestra. The new editions will not present too many surprises to those who already know the works -- the changes are in felicities of scoring not fundamental alterations of structure -- but the Romance, a transparent arrangement of an early work for violin and piano accomplished by a friend of the composer, will be a treat for those Nielsen fans who already know and love his early Little Suite for strings. The performances are uniformly first-rate. Douglas Bostock had already demonstrated his authority in Nielsen's music with his earlier recordings of the complete symphonies, and his performances here are similarly idiomatic and sympathetic. With the polished but powerful playing of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bostock creates wholly convincing performances of these less well known but no less winning works, especially in the seemingly eccentric but actually quite attractive incidental music from Aladdin. Violinist Malcolm Stewart is an expressive and persuasive soloist in the lyrical Concerto and a graceful and ingratiating soloist in the tender Romance. While newcomers to Nielsen's music should try his symphonies first, those who already know their Nielsen will find this disc irresistible, particularly in Classico's clear and smooth if ever so slightly too distant sound.

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