Goldmark - Violin Concerto · Prometheus-Overture / Sarah Chang · Conlon
Despite the advocacy of Nathan Milstein and Itzhak Perlman, Goldmark's only violin concerto remains a marginal item. It is written in an attractive late-romantic style with a lot of impressive, idiomatic difficulties for the soloist, but it does meander somewhat. Now that we can stop marveling at Chang the young prodigy and consider her as a mature artist, her interpretation of this concerto bears comparison with the best. She plays with great suavity and refinement; she has a clear conception of what she wants, and plays it dazzlingly. She is very well seconded by the venerable Cologne orchestra under its American conductor, and they are all realistically recorded. The problem with the disc is that it comprises only the concerto and a long concert overture that probably won't interest most listeners very much. And Bronislaw Gimpel's antique recording of the concerto (in a super-bargain Vox set), while not nearly as well recorded, is probably more approachable as a performance; Gimpel really sells the concerto, playing with more overt romanticism. Still, Chang's many fans (including this reviewer) will certainly enjoy her playing here, while wishing they'd been offered more of it. --Leslie Gerber
Top customer reviews
Prometheus Bound is also a memorable work, and perhaps even more than the concerto instantly recognizable as Goldmark. It is full of energy and drama, and the thematic material is strong, though it is perhaps slightly overlong overall. The performances are superb, and Sarah Chang delivers a performance with plenty of fire and spirit in the concerto, but always with a beautiful tone and secure intonation. The sound is also overall good (if slightly distant), and overall this is something of a winner of a disc, easily recommendable.
This new EMI album of Goldmark's Violin Concerto and overture/symphonic poem "Prometheus Bound" provides a wonderful continuation in the promotion of his music. And what a marvelous performance violinist Sarah Chang gives us in the Concerto. In terms of meeting with some of most virtuosic demands the Concerto calls for, Sarah Chang is not behind Itzhak Perlman's performance (EMI with Previn & the Pittsburgh Symphony). Chang's flexibility and approach is nothing but admirable here, and I am especially awed at the warmth she displays at subtle, airy passages in the allegro moderato movement. There's something magical here and even in the Andante where the elegance in the playing is arresting. Perlman's approach is perhaps a shade sterner, but Chang opts for balance and delicacy and it pays off. James Conlon and the Gurzenich-Orchestra Kolner Philharmonic give their vivid, warm, and artful support, and comes up huge and persuasively in "Promotheus Bound"
Despite the fame of the Concerto (Milstein's advocacy is largely responsible for this), the recordings are surprising scarce. But this new one here with Sarah Chang and James Conlon with Gurzenich-Orchestra Kolner Philharmonic does this work a great favor (and justice). A very welcoming disc indeed.