Weingartner: Violin Concerto Op. 52; Schubert: Symphony In E (Arr. Weingartner) / Breuninger, Swr Rundfunkorchester

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Felix Weingartner's 1912 violin concerto is decidedly late-romantic in style, its violin writing ranging from Mendelssohnian to the kind of thing you would hear in 1930s movies whenever the subject called for something "magical" or "mystical". Weingartner's melodic material is fetching if not particularly memorable, and this--along with the composer's facility with orchestration--makes the concerto a briefly transporting and enjoyable experience. Violinist Laurent Albrecht Breuninger's stylish performance shows his able command of and respect for the work. He's ably accompanied by Alun Francis and the SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslautern.

Schubert's Symphony in E major (the so-called Symphony No. 7) is considered a fragment due to its being only partially scored--about three-quarters of the first movement, the remainder ranging from instrumentation on four staves down to long stretches of a single melodic line. Weingartner's completion views the work from a late-19th-century perspective, with some passages (particularly in the finale) clothed in a Brucknerian timbre. The slow movement draws on Brahms' woodwind style, while the scherzo features a distinctly Mahlerian-flavored trio. Weingartner unfortunately makes a number of cuts, something not done by Brian Newbould in his "realization", which sounds markedly closer to Schubert's actual style.

Even so, the music itself, with its many pre-echoes of the Unfinished and Great C major symphonies, is compelling as it forms a bridge from Schubert's "juvenilia" to the mature masterworks of his "late" period. Francis leads the orchestra in a lively rendition, though he doesn't supplant the earlier recording by Heinz Rögner with the Berlin RSO. CPO's resonant recording places the orchestra to the rear, but at least in this case the violin doesn't dominate the acoustic. A novel and worthy release, especially for Schubertophiles.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 999424-2

  • UPC: 761203942428

  • Label: CPO

  • Composer: Felix Weingartner, Franz Schubert

  • Conductor: Alun Francis

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Swr Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslautern

  • Performer: Albrecht Breuninger