The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto no.5 in A minor op.37. Wieniawski: Violin Concerto no.2 in D minor op.22, Fantaisie brillante on Themes from Gounod’s ‘Faust’ op.20
Sunday, 01 March 2009
Corey Cerovsek (violin) Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Hannu Lintu (conductor)
Although Corey Cerovsek and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra deliver polished performances here, this disc displays a conventional stylistic approach to the repertoire. Cerovsek, born in Vancouver and a graduate of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music as well as of Indiana University, is without doubt prodigiously talented, gaining masters degrees in both music and mathematics at the age of 16. However, this versatility and undeniable talent has not created sufficient independence of artistic spirit. A pupil of Josef Gingold, Cerovsek sounds in many ways like his master and fails to resist the temptation to smother these works in a thick varnish of protective vibrato. Admittedly, this impression is scarcely aided by Claves’s over-engineered and rather opaque recording, and Cerovsek should not be criticised for this – it’s just that his playing seems oddly old-fashioned with few concessions to recent understanding of 19th-century performing practice. Balancing this, there is a tautness that makes the performances vivid and enjoyable, especially in the finale of Wieniawski’s Second Concerto.
The music on this disc will be familiar to many. Vieuxtemps’s Fifth Concerto has passages of evocative music, although there are also less convincing episodes that seem rather aimless. The Wieniawski Concerto is arguably more successful, while his Fantaisie brillante on themes from Gounod’s Faust is a good example of the genre. Cerovsek is certainly on top of the works technically (he has a particularly neat up-bow staccato) and listening to the disc is a pleasant, if not especially memorable experience.
From the March 2009 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.