Ernst: Concerto Pathétique; Concertino

Ernst: Concerto Pathétique; Concertino

by Ilya Grubert
     
 

If one was able to go back in time and ask jazz great Glenn Miller who his favorite trombone player was, rather than the expected Miff Mole or Tommy Dorsey one would be surprised to hear him answer "Wilbur Switchenburg," the name of a player who later solved his nominal challenge by changing his name to WillSee more details below

Overview

If one was able to go back in time and ask jazz great Glenn Miller who his favorite trombone player was, rather than the expected Miff Mole or Tommy Dorsey one would be surprised to hear him answer "Wilbur Switchenburg," the name of a player who later solved his nominal challenge by changing his name to Will Bradley. Likewise, if one could go back still further and ask Joseph Joachim his favorite violinist, he would happily proffer the name of Moravian Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst over those of Ole Bull or Sarasate. The problem with both answers, of course, is "Who?" Ernst's name is known to violinists, as exercise excerpts drawn from his various compositions routinely litter their practice books, and some may even have tried out his "Elégie sur la mort d'un objet chéri, Op. 10," Ernst's best-remembered work. Overall, despite Midori's acceptance of his "Variations on The Last Rose of Summer" as an encore piece, the music of Ernst has remained the domain of violin history experts such as Ingolf Turban or old timers like Ruggiero Ricci, who learned Ernst's music at the feet of elder masters. Naxos has stepped forward to represent Ernst with an entry in its Violin Virtuoso Composers series, Ernst: Concerto Pathétique/Concertino, featuring five works of Ernst, including the aforementioned "Elégie sur la mort d'un objet chéri, Op. 10"; his "Concerto Pathétique, Op. 23"; and "Concertino, Op. 12," and two novel paraphrases on Mozart and Rossini. Ernst was strongly devoted to Niccolò Paganini and, in a stylistic sense his work seems stuck in the late classical/early Romantic Italian manner, taking its cue from composers like Rossini, Nicolai, Bellini, and Donizetti. Although Ernst was not writing opera, this in itself is not such a bad thing, as his approach to this style was inspired and expert and his writing for the violin demonstrates a complete knowledge of the instrument's capabilities. Moreover, as compositions, these works are thoroughly delightful examples of arch-Romantic violin music; perhaps not as deeply felt as the violin concerti of Beethoven or Brahms, but too sturdy and well considered to be seen as belonging to the salon, not to mention immensely entertaining. Ernst's trick bag of double stops, extreme leaps of register, and relative lack of legato writing sometimes leads to results that can't help but sound a little scrappy. Although violinist Ilya Grubert, who has distinguished himself before in Paganini for Chandos, admirably executes Ernst's giga-difficult violin writing and has a breathtaking turn in the "Rondo Papageno, Op. 20," he is not at all helped by the sound recording, made in the studios of Russian State TV Company Kultura in Moscow. One cannot imagine why the engineers didn't want to get closer to the violin; Grubert is playing a 1740 Guarnieri and it almost sounds like a Stroh. Indeed, there are recordings of the violin made in 1912 that sound more responsive to the instrument's presence and resonance than this one does. Nevertheless, the Russian Philharmonic has a splendid outing here, with the full-throated Russian brass making the most of their significant roles in the "Concerto Pathétique." Despite its shortcomings, anyone who loves the violin, and many who play one, will certainly enjoy Naxos' Ernst: Concerto Pathétique/Concertino -- while it is not perfect, it doesn't represent much of a risk.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/12/2006
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313256525
catalogNumber:
8557565
Rank:
309234

Tracks

  1. Fantasie Brilliante on a Theme from Rossini's "Otello" for violin & orchestra, Op 11  - Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst  - Benjamin Chai  - Benjamin Chai  - Dmitry Yablonsky  - Ilya Grubert  -  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. Concerto for violin in F sharp minor, Op 23  - Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst  - Benjamin Chai  - Benjamin Chai  - Dmitry Yablonsky  - Ilya Grubert  -  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
  3. Elegie in C minor, song for violin & piano, Op 10/3  - Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst  - Benjamin Chai  - Benjamin Chai  - Dmitry Yablonsky  - Ilya Grubert  -  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
  4. Concertino for violin & orchestra in D major, Op. 12  - Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst  - Benjamin Chai  - Benjamin Chai  - Dmitry Yablonsky  - Ilya Grubert  -  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
  5. Rondo Papageno for violin & piano in B major, Op 21  - Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst  - Benjamin Chai  - Benjamin Chai  - Dmitry Yablonsky  - Ilya Grubert  -  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra

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