Friday, 10 March 2017

Charles-Auguste de Bériot

Charles-Auguste de Bériot fares quite well on my shelves, with 26 recordings of his musical works. He does not seem to fare so well in the concert hall, however, and I do not recall seeing a concert programme featuring his works. All a bit mysterious, when his music is tuneful, well written and attractive to listen to. He was certainly a better melodist than Alban Berg in his violin concerto!

My latest acquisition (thanks again to faithful Naxos) is a CD of Bériot's fourth, sixth and seventh violin concertos, plus a couple of substantial morceaux for violin and orchestra. The violinist is a young Japanese, born in 1997, Ayana Tsuji and she copes really well with Bériot's tough demands on the right arm, with ricochet and staccato bowing in constant use. She has the right delicate touch for this music – the central movement of the seventh concerto is especially moving. The music of de Bériot does not call for a Russian T34 tank.

Concerts featuring violinists seem locked into the same old eight or ten violin concertos (or else some ephemeral modern concoction cunningly placed between two popular pieces to forestall audiences voting with their feet). De Bériot's music is not hard on the intellect, but it is friendly on the ear and I listen to my 26 recordings with pleasure, including this new one with Ms Tsuji. And thanks again, Mr Naxos; 13 of my 26 recordings are on the Naxos label.

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