Rolla: Violin Concertos / Paolo Ghidoni, Mantova Conservatory

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ROLLA Violin Concertos: in Bb; in D; in A • Paolo Ghidoni (vn, cond); O da Camera del Conservatorio di Mantova • DYNAMIC 714 (60:30)...

ROLLA Violin Concertos: in Bb; in D; in A Paolo Ghidoni (vn, cond); O da Camera del Conservatorio di Mantova DYNAMIC 714 (60:30)

Dynamic’s release of violin concertos by Alessandro Rolla makes available three of the 21 works in the genre written by the violinist, teacher, conductor, and composer. Those versed in the lore of Nicolò Paganini will remember Rolla as the teacher to whom Paganini’s father brought the young prodigy, who read one of Rolla’s concertos at sight while waiting for the master to appear. That anecdote alone (not cited in the booklet notes by Mariateresa Dellaborra) should lend these works a special interest for aficionados of the violin. The notes cite the sources from which Marco Pinotti transcribed each of the three concertos for performance. Listeners will notice from the outset that the winds (oboes and horns) that Rolla incorporated in his orchestral textures serve a more important function than merely fluffing up the blanket of orchestral sound. The solo part of the first movement of the Concerto in Bb-Major explores a range and variety of technical devices (though, surprisingly, not double-stops) far in advance of Giovanni Battista Viotti but hardly so daring as those of Paganini. Paolo Ghidoni serves as a bold and technically alert champion, playing the solo part of this concerto with a big-toned ardor, accompanied from some distance behind—despite the recorded sound’s clarity—by the orchestra, which, for its part, occasionally detours into a byway of contrasting affect. The first movement’s cadenza sounds brilliant without making onerous demands on the soloist. The slow movement opens with a theme of near-Mozartean purity, in both the orchestral and solo parts; Ghidoni embellishes it with sweet figuration, much of it in the violin’s higher registers, leading into the final movement, an elegantly lyrical “Rondò.”

The Second Concerto on the program, in D Major, falls into the same three movements, the first opening with an orchestral tutti that includes darker threads among the brighter ones. Once again, the solo part lies in a somewhat higher tessitura than those in Viotti’s and Pierre Rode’s concertos, although the passagework remains similar, at times uncannily reminiscent of particular figural turns in Viotti’s celebrated Concerto No. 22, though the interaction between solo and orchestra has grown more conversational in Rolla’s concertos. The slow movement enshrines passages of melting cantabile and leads to a “Rondò” that again recalls Viotti’s concertos. If the D-Major Concerto recalls Viotti, the final one on the program, in A Major, suggests Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, especially in the first movement’s orchestral thematic statements, although the violin part still bears traces of Viotti’s influence. Ghidoni sounds particularly rich in the few passages in the lower register that Rolla provides for the soloist in this movement. The simple and straightforward slow movement leads to a “Rondò polonaise,” recalling in its themes rondos by Viotti and Louis Spohr. These concertos should prove interesting in their own right for collectors who delight in exploring the violin literature’s byways but should also ingratiate themselves with general listeners—and they could provide a technical missing link between Viotti and Mozart for violin students. Warmly recommended.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham

Product Description:

  • Release Date: October 30, 2012

  • UPC: 8007144607142

  • Catalog Number: DYN-CDS714

  • Label: Dynamic

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Alessandro Rolla

  • Conductor: Paolo Ghidoni

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Mantova Conservatory Chamber Orchestra

  • Performer: Paolo Ghidoni