Gerhard Taschner

Violin Concertos

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Despite his busy teaching and performance schedule during his lifetime and the body of recordings that he left behind, Czech-born violinist Gerhardt Taschner often remains an overlooked performer. Even MDG Records, which has restored many of Taschner's historic performances, devotes only a paragraph to the life of this artist, which reads more like a rap sheet than a bio. Still, fans of historic recordings will enjoy his passionate playing. The Sibelius Concerto was one of Taschner's "calling card" works, having performed and recorded it many times for radio. The first movement, in particular, is extremely free and romantic, much more like a free-form fantasy. The third movement is often somewhat of a sticking point for Taschner and this recording is no exception. In an effort to maintain excitement, Taschner pushes the tempo beyond its realistic limits resulting in a finale that sometimes gets away from him and the orchestra. His commanding performance of the fiendishly difficult Khachaturian Concerto is much more secure and controlled. Even the frenetic third movement is tossed off with humor and assuredness. The album concludes with Sarasate's Carmen "Fantasy," a work perfectly suited to Taschner's quasi-improvisational approach. Sound quality here is much more distant than in the previous two works.

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