Saturday, March 23, 2013

Some good things are free: Viviane Hagner does Vieuxtemps 5th & Beethoven violin romances

A couple of months ago Viviane (violin) and Nicole (piano) Hagners came to town for a week full of concerts. I looked forward very much to hearing them since I enjoyed my (then only one) CD of them very much. Needless to say the performances were splendid and I went looking for more on Youtube and found this:

A fantastic clip of Viviane Hagner doing the finale of Henri Vieuxtemps' 5th violin concerto with the Lahti Symphony, a Finnish band that I had never heard of that sounded like a million buck. Anyhow, it turns out the whole concert is available for free at until 3 May 2013.

I know she sounds a bit odd at times (especially on high notes... just a tad shy of strident), but there is something very compelling about the way she uses her sounds and impeccable precision (and really fantastic changes of speed) to say something with the music in a very expressive and yet controlled way... It sort of reminds me of Vesselina Kasarova in her bel canto 90's days. I've heard a million renditions of Beethoven's romances for violin and orchestra, but never quite like this... the odd little slip in the middle of the G major romance not withstanding. Such a light and easy but sure touch, very gentle romances indeed!


Anonymous said...

"just a tad shy of strident" - brilliant Smorgy! :)
I must go and hear this at the earliest opportunity

yvette said...

Always new territories to explore... thank you Smorgy, and keep going to operas and concerts for our pleasure above all when it is free !

earwormopera said...

Cool! I will also have to catch this before it vanishes.

Smorg said...

Hiya Eyes, Yvette, & Ear:
Please do catch it. I'd love to hear what you think! :oD I was thrilled to death when Classiclive extended that clip's vanishing date (it was supposed to have gone offline on March 24th, but somehow that got extended to April 12th instead. I've been dropping in for my musical fix almost everyday... Wanted it etched to my brain in case a commercial DVD of it never materialized).

Georg said...

First time ever, Smorgy, that I listen to Mr Vieuxtemps.

The violin is a terrible instrument, so difficult to play. Some years ago, I went to listen to Beethoven's violin concerto in Paris. There was a part where the guy had to start playing with a very long, deep and loud sound: it went wrong, slightly wrong. Don't know why but I loved it. I only wonder why this kind of mishap doesn't happen all the time.


Smorg said...

Hallo Georgy,

Did you like Vieuxtemps' concerto? The opening movement of it took a while to warm to for me, but I'm liking it more every time I listen. :o)

The violin sure looks difficult to play. I wish I'm more familiar with it. Been looking up lots of clips on youtube, tho. The documentary film on Ida Haendel is particularly instructive (she's playing a Stradivarius, but it has a malfunctioning spot that she has to consciously avoid using or she'd produce fluttered note). :oP

Georg said...

Hey Smorgy,

The violin is a really amazing instrument. And one of my favorites is Beethoven's violin concerto (Opus 61). As far as I know he only made this one.

Please listen to Mr Menuhin, redorded in 1981 in Leipzig

Jehudi Menuhin was an outstanding performer, here he manages to make a round, deep sound and anyway, the concerto is so melodious, you can hum along as he goes.

As to the instrument itself, I think this talking about Stradivarius is more about the art of communication and publicity that real. Nowadays, the sound of this particular brand can be matched by contemporary manufacturer - though not from China - but they sell for less. If you have one, it's like driving a Rolls Royce but there are other cars, right.

Cheeers Smorgy
Keep on the good works