The Strad Issue: January 2013
Description: Well-played accounts of two concertos, despite a missing cadenza
Musicians: Yury Revich (violin) Lionel Cottet (cello) Federico Diaz (guitar) Hof Symphony Orchestra/Luca Bizzozero
Composer: A. Romberg, B. Romberg

This disc features the work of the Romberg cousins – violinist Andreas (1767–1821) and cellist Bernhard (1767–1841). The young Russian violinist Yury Revich performs the outer movements of Andreas’s Third Violin Concerto op.46 with full-blooded authority, fleet-fingered dexterity, innate musicality and substantial accuracy, although, for me, his intonation has a tendency to veer towards the sharp side. His reading of the central Andante captures the contrasting emotions expressed, despite some questionable tuning from soloist and woodwind.

Lionel Cottet meets head-on the technical challenges of Bernhard’s Second Cello Concerto op.3, cultivating a rich sonorous tone and intense vibrato and venturing into the stratospheres with commendable accuracy. However, some of the lower-string passagework in the outer movements sounds unnecessarily rough and there is an uncomfortable moment of poor ensemble in the slow movement, which is otherwise executed with grace and poetry. Somewhat mystifying is the omission of a cadenza in the first movement – the orchestra makes the conventional preparation and termination but there is no cadenza in the sandwich. Someone in the production team will doubtless have a red face, matched by that of the contributor of track details in the booklet notes.

The Hof Symphony Orchestra accompanies somewhat routinely – a touch more bite and a more spacious and better-balanced recorded sound would have lent greater immediacy and impact, especially to the two overtures in this programme.

A bonus disc features Revich in an excellent account of Andreas Romberg’s solo Sonata op.32 no.3 and Cottet, with guitarist Federico Diaz, in a characterful reading of Bernhard’s Divertimento on Austrian Folksongs.