- Concerto No. 2 in D minor for violin & orchestra, Op. 11
- Concerto in D major for violin & orchestra, Op. 77
Joseph Joachim's musical relationship with Brahms is well known -- so well known, in fact, that one wonders why his music is so rarely played. Listening to the Hungarian-born violinist-composer's Violin Concerto No. 2 "In the Hungarian Style" (completed in 1860 and dedicated to Brahms), one discovers what might be considered a missing link between Brahms's own Violin Concerto (1878) and Beethoven's (1806). The first movement of the Joachim is expansive -- almost monumental -- in the manner of the first movement of Beethoven's concerto, and the character of the music has a similar thoughtful lyricism. True, Joachim's melodies are not nearly as sweet nor as memorable, but there are many beautiful passages throughout, and one does not have to listen long to hear how Brahms was influenced by his elder friend's work. Violinist Rachel Barton calls the Joachim a "masterpiece," and whether or not you agree, it's clear that she plays it with passionate conviction and remarkable technical assurance. Her Brahms Concerto is equally fine, with relaxed tempos that provide an aristocratic sense of spaciousness. The Chicago Symphony sounds glorious, of course, and Cedille's recording is state-of-the-art. It must be pointed out, too, that Barton wrote the informative booklet note, and in the Brahms, she includes her own imaginative cadenzas in addition to the traditional ones by Joachim. Not to be missed.