Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole; Bruch / Anne Akiko Meyers, Et Al

Regular price $17.99
Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.
RCA have a penchant for portraying their female string soloists glamorously (witness the presentation of Ofra Harnoy), and the picture of Anne Akiko Meyers on...
RCA have a penchant for portraying their female string soloists glamorously (witness the presentation of Ofra Harnoy), and the picture of Anne Akiko Meyers on the front of her latest recording gives a certain sultry impression; ironically, since the style of her playing refuses to emphasize that very element in Lalo's sunny Spanish score. To make the strongest contrast with the bold opening, the ripeness of the first movement's famous secondary theme is handled with much delicacy and she caresses it daintily and subtly. There is a sense of fantasy, too, and that comes to the fore readily in the brilliant tracery of the scherzo. The ''Intermezzo'' could be more jaunty in feeling (Lopez-Cobos opens it a little heavily and the soloist responds by slight underemphasis of the rhythmic outline), but the Andante spins real magic: when the violin enters its main theme is very hushed, played on a mere thread of tone, yet later the climax is seductively throaty in its dark colouring. This is the most successful movement.

The finale goes quite spiritedly—the lightness of the soloist's bowing is delightfully mercurial—but later the secondary lyrical material again just goes momentarily off the boil, then the performance picks up brightly at the return of the spirit of the dance. The coda brings a sparklingly light, chimerical brilliance from the soloist. To gauge a violinist's tone from a record, where the microphones contribute their own influence, is never easy, but Meyers appears to have a sweet and cleanly focused timbre, not too opulent. Occasionally there's a touch of thinness on the E string, yet she can produce a fuller, gutsy effect on the G string whenever needed. Her Lalo reading is an imaginatively individual view and could have been an even greater success had Lopez-Cobos been able to combine his sense of orchestral detail (which the excellent recording and good balance help him to reveal readily) with more consistent spontaneity. As it is the performance does not always maintain quite the degree of concentration and sense of forward movement which Barenboim certainly manages in his joyful accompaniment for Perlman, and Mehta too—less imaginatively—conveys in accompanying Mintz (both versions on DG).

The Scottish Fantasy, however, is altogether a great success. The sombre orchestral introduction in the brass has an engaging dark yet mellow sonority and the very hushed entry of the violin is extremely affecting, while the high spirits of the second movement really have the sparkle of a Scottish reel. The Andante begins tenderly and both soloist and orchestra make a full romantic response to the glorious melody of the lament, I'm doun for lack o' Johnnie. The finale is jolly and folksy, its Scottish snap nicely caught, and later (starting at around 4'57'') there is more of Meyers's delicious gently tracery, improvisational in feeling, rising to a peak of restrained intensity at 6'00'', which makes one catch the breath before the brief boisterous coda.

The recording throughout, made at Abbey Road Studio No. 1, is absolutely first class, with a resonantly full orchestral image never clouding. The splendid sound is immediately arresting from the opening of the Lalo and much preferable to the relatively dry orchestral tapestries of both the alternatives. But as a performance I still rank the Perlman/Barenboim combination as the most seductive of all, and I, personally, also prefer Mintz's more voluptous tone and Hebraic intensity to the newcomer in this work.

-- Ivan March, Gramophone [9/1992]

Product Description:

  • Release Date: October 17, 2007

  • UPC: 090266094226

  • Catalog Number: RCA60942

  • Label: RCA

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: ""

  • Composer: Edouard Lalo, Max Bruch

  • Conductor: Jesús Lopez-Cobos

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: Anne Akiko Meyers