The Romantic Violin Concerto, Vol 13 – Schumann
Anthony Marwood has an enviable reputation as a Schumann-player (among those of us who envy such things, at least). His Hyperion recording of the first two violin sonatas (8/01) continues to hold its own alongside more recent traversals by Carolin Widmann (ECM, A/08) and Ulf Wallin (BIS, 5/12), while his Florestan discs of the three piano trios (3/99, A/00) still bear comparison with the recent Award-winner from Leif Ove Andsnes and the Tetzlaffs (EMI, 7/11). So it’s a pleasure to report that his advocacy of the collected works for violin and orchestra continues this high standard and places this latest instalment in Hyperion’s ‘Romantic Violin Concerto’ series at or near the forefront in this repertoire.
Marwood’s two most recent competitors have been referred to above: Christian Tetzlaff offers the echt Violin Concerto and the single-movement Phantasie, while Wallin presents exactly the same programme as here. Marwood’s tone is characteristically focused with a notable sweetness which is matched by Wallin, while Tetzlaff opts for greater projection; Douglas Boyd and his Scottish players set ideal tempi in outer movements, enabling Marwood to negotiate fearlessly the fairly awkward and largely middle-range-lying solo writing and the fast figuration that emerges as each movement proceeds. The soloist is able to soar more freely in the composer’s arrangement of the Cello Concerto, a work which latterly seems to have become more popular with violinists than with cellists. If only these works were more popular with audiences: Menuhin considered the Violin Concerto the natural historical link between the Beethoven and Brahms concertos; such articulate championship by Tetzlaff and Wallin, and now this utterly winning and authoritative disc from Marwood, Boyd and the BBC Scottish SO only bears him out with ever-increasing persuasiveness.