Brahms gluzman

The Strad Issue: August 2017
Description: Powerful, spacious account of a mighty Romantic concerto
Musicians: Vadim Gluzman (violin) Angela Yoffe (piano) Lucerne Symphony Orchestra/James Gaffigan
Composer: Brahms
Catalogue Number: BIS CD 2172

This is playing in the grand tradition. The first movement of Brahms’s Concerto is steadily paced, spacious and mighty, Gluzman and Gaffigan shaping the great architectural spans with unhurried authority. Although they never linger they always have time to let the music breathe. Gluzman’s playing has warmth and power, and he is not afraid of a few rough edges to his bowing when the heat is on. Touches of rubato are everywhere, just enough to bring a phrase to life. Joachim’s cadenza is here a magnificent etude with a smattering of caprice. In the second section of the Adagio, Gluzman is fluid, musing, seeming almost to be improvising. The finale is an ebullient partnership between violin and the always excellent orchestra. The recorded sound is rich and full. The Vivace ma non troppo of the Sonata is genial at the outset, and there are exquisite moments when Gluzman and Yoffe stop to smell the figurative roses, but elsewhere they are urgent, even vehement. Similarly, in the second movement, after the glowing lyricism of the opening Adagio, the Più andante central section has high drama. Much of the final Allegro is gentle and eloquent. The ‘FAE’ scherzo has fierce energy.  TIM HOMFRAY