Mozart Violin Concertos
The Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux made his debut in 1940 and established himself after the war as a consistently fine player with a wide repertory whose recordings show not only his mastery of the instrument but also unfailingly good taste—and lest anyone thinks that last phrase implies a lack of personality, we should remember that it was one which Haydn chose to praise Mozart. These performances of the five standard violin concertos, the Sinfonia concertante and a couple of other pieces were admired when they came out on LP, and still earn praise for their crispness, lightness and eloquence. Grumiaux was also fortunate in his partner in the Sinfonia concertante, for Pelliccia is also an expert Mozartian and they give a performance of this beautiful piece that is expressive but still avoids self-indulgent romanticism. In the solo concertos, too, Grumiaux plays cadenzas that suit the music in length and style.
Both Sir Colin Davis and Raymond Leppard are sympathetic partners in this repertory, and since the playing of the two London orchestras is no less satisfying, this issue scores all round artistically. The 1960s recordings do not sound their age, and indeed are pleasing save for a little tape hiss and, it must be said, an excess of bass that hardly suits the style of this translucent music. However that is a small price to pay when so much else is admirable, and Grumiaux's fine tonal palette is well caught.'