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April 6   -   Guardian

Adams & Korngold: Violin Concertos CD review – Gringolts brings authority and spark to two US classics

Gringolts/Copenhagen Phil/Rouvali/Salemkour (Orchid Classics)

Violinist Ilya Gringolts brings together enduring American concertos from the two halves of the 20th century. John Adams says he knew that before he wrote a violin concerto he would have to “solve the issue of melody”, never previously a driving force for him. Whether his 1993 work entirely succeeds on that front is arguable – fast or slow, the violin’s relentless orations don’t seem to expect to arrive anywhere, and seem more like a device to create motion than melody. Still, for a work co-commissioned by the New York City Ballet, that focus on movement and momentum seems apt. It’s played with authority and spark by Gringolts, and Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s colourful orchestra flags only in a brief passage of the third movement. Korngold’s 1947 concerto – this one conducted by Julien Salemkour – is an even better showcase for Grigolts, whose strikingly expansive lyricism keeps schmaltz at bay.

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