The marquee work here, Kurt Weill's Concerto for violin and wind orchestra, Op. 12, was composed in 1924 and has been recorded a number of times. The work originated shortly after the end of Weill's period of study, which included lessons from both Engelbert Humperdinck and Ferruccio Busoni, and it has a little of everything in it. Those looking for premonitions of The Threepenny Opera and Weill's later popular career will find jazz impulses, beneath the surface and ready to break out, but it's not the most prominent feature; dissonance rules in the five short movements that mix Stravinsky's neo-classical stasis with Schoenberg's rigor of material. It's not an easy work to love, but it comes off very well here. Partly that's due to the taut playing of violinist Gabriele Pieranunzi and the Soloists of the San Carlo Theatre, Naples. These might not be musicians you would naturally pick for this repertory, but Pieranunzi and his brother Enrico are fluent in jazz as well as classical music, and the rest of the program, with its stronger jazz component, brings out the stylistic issues of the whole period, the varying responses of European composers as they tried to deal with the startling new music coming from America. Pairing the Weill with music from Stravinsky's jazziest period and with the more playful take of Milhaud results in a thread that connects the whole. The players don't add jazz improvisation, but they do insert a short composition by Enrico Pieranunzi into the sequence of pieces by Stravinsky. There doesn't seem to be any very good reason for this, but in general this recording puts across the stylistically plural musical world of the 1920s better than most.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concerto for violin & wind orchestra, Op. 12|
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|Suite, for violin, clarinet and piano, Op. 157b|