The Strad Issue: January 2008
Musicians: Vadim Gluzman (violin) Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton (conductor)
Composer: Glazunov, Tchaikovsky

Vadim Gluzman’s honeyed tone in the opening movement of the Glazunov Concerto transports us back to the days of David Oistrakh, recreating that innate Russian musicality of a previous generation. Yet throughout there is also a feeling of youthful spontaneity as Gluzman shapes Glazunov’s long flowing melodic lines, especially in the richly fashioned central Adagio and jauntily projected finale. He can at times be idiosyncratic in his selection of tempos, as in the first movement’s mercurial spiccato passage which takes him beyond his own comfort zone. Otherwise his intonation is impeccable, and the 1690 ‘Leopold Auer’ Stradivari sings with unforced beauty.

He plays the three movements of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher with an affectionate delicacy and the finale is particularly full of happiness as it scampers to its sparkling conclusion. The piece forms an introduction to the concerto, where Gluzman’s first two movements again bring Oistrakh to mind in their sublime musicality, and where the customary added rubatos are supplemented by some tasteful hesitations. His finale is very different and recalls that wonderfully wild account from firebrand Ivry Gitlis: Gluzman hurtles toward the concluding passage high on adrenalin. In the concert hall it would sound tremendously exciting, but with the orchestra at times sounding hard-pressed, it may not stand the test of time as a library performance.

The Bergen orchestra offers very positive support throughout, and the engineers create a natural balance between soloist and orchestra.