Friday, 4 November 2016

Tianwa Yang in the Symphonie Espagnole

Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Max Bruch, and Edouard Lalo have all survived as well-known composers mainly because of one famous work, without which their names would have faded. Lalo is now known almost solely through his popular Symphonie Espagnole, an attractive and melodious concerto for violin. I seem to have ended up with 38 different recordings of the work – evidence of its popularity – with the earliest dating from 1932 (Henry Merckel) with Yehudi Menuhin following in 1933. Latest acquisition, and in many ways one of the very finest, comes from the young Chinese violinist, Tianwa Yang, enthusiastically accompanied by the Barcelona orchestra. The work was written for Sarasate, and Ms Yang's playing invokes the poise, sophistication and delicacy of Sarasate's playing. I liked it enormously, and this is probably the recording I'll reach out for if ever I want to listen to the Symphonie Espagnole again. As a bonus, the recording is another must-have from the admirable Naxos company, truly the violin lovers' friend.

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