Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole; Bruch / Anne Akiko Meyers, Et Al
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]
Catalog Number: RCA60942
Composer: Edouard Lalo, Max Bruch
Conductor: Jesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Performer: Anne Akiko Meyers