HARTMANN Concerto Funèbre WEINBERG Concertino
Linus Roth follows up on his impressive coupling of Weinberg and Britten concertos with some equally deserving mid-20th-century concertante works, in performances of equally stylish accomplishment. Hartmann’s Concerto funebre has already had a number of first-rate recordings, and latterly Weinberg’s Concertino has been catching up. They make a complementary pair – the Hartmann more angular and unpredictable, the Weinberg more lyrical and whimsical, each one inventive, deeply felt and thoroughly distinctive.
To have two premiere recordings into the bargain is quite a bonus. In its original orchestral version and its violin-and-piano transcription, Weinberg’s pungently energetic Rhapsody is one of his most often-heard scores. If we take the composer’s reported word for it, he also made a version for violin and orchestra, but the whereabouts of that manuscript are currently unknown. Ewelina Nowicka’s arrangement works a treat and Roth’s playing has all the colouristic flair and rhythmic punch the piece invites.
Finally, Shostakovich’s unfinished sonata movement of 1945 gives us another of his intriguing ‘false starts’ (those for the Fourth and Ninth Symphonies have been recorded; others await). This one reached the middle of its development section because he perhaps realised that the material was more appropriate for a symphony – at any rate he returned to both main ideas eight years later when composing the first movement of the Tenth Symphony. Here again Roth shows musical intelligence and violinistic proficiency in equal measure. The accompaniments are excellent, and it all makes for an eminently collectable disc.