A tender and autobiographical version of a beloved concerto

Alda Dizdari: Elgar

Alda Dizdari: Elgar

The Strad Issue: December 2020

Description: A tender and autobiographical version of a beloved concerto

Musicians: Alda Dizdari (violin) Musica Viva Orchestra/Alexander Walker

Works: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor op.61

Catalogue number: MELLOS 27543 (SACD or vinyl)

From the first note it is clear that this is going to be a thoughtful, tender account. Dizdari is nobilmente certainly, as Elgar directs, but she does not set off with the usual air of heroic ardour. She is sensitive, exploratory, and through all the technical flair there is a feeling of intimacy. The second subject is a gentle reverie, and the first appearance of extrovert jubilance comes in the tutti at the end of the exposition, with punchy brass playing, after which Dizdari continues on her mellifluous way, beautiful and expressive. She is mostly attentive to Elgar’s many markings, but goes easy on his more dramatic instructions: she does not take an accented fortissimo entry as a cue for heightened muscularity. Her playing can be thrilling and dynamic, but this is a performance attuned to poetry as much as theatre.

It is an approach well suited to the central Andante, although there are moments here of real passion. In the last movement she is light and capricious, dancing around the melodies in the wind, and she conjures a world of private mystery in the cadenza. The soloist is forward in the warm recording, with the orchestra well balanced.

There is also an audio book, Kiss Me Again: A Memoir of Elgar in Unusual Places, (reviewed in the November 2019 issue), written and read by Dizdari, on three CDs. It is available separately or as a special edition with the SACD, from aldadizdari.co.uk