Ida Haendel plays Sibelius – EMI

0 of 5 stars

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47
Serenades in D and G minor, Opp.69a & 69b
Humoreske in E flat, Op.89/3

Ida Haendel (violin)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paavo Berglund

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: June 2002
CD No: EMI ENCORE CDE 5 75236 2

This is a towering account of Sibelius’s concerto. Superbly transferred, there is an attractive analogue glow to the sound. Recorded in July 1975, this issue is also analogous to the original ASD LP release.

Short measure doesn’t enter into the equation here. Ida Haendel has made this concerto very much her own. Spaciously conceived, and with the backing of a master Sibelian in Paavo Berglund, Haendel’s trenchancy, poise, expressiveness and tonal variety are always at one with Sibelius’s design.

It’s a compelling reading, soloist and conductor in rapport, Haendel never crossing the line between interpretative validity and attention seeking; the latter wouldn’t occur to Haendel I suspect given her integrity. This honest and heroic account, with Berglund’s darkly luminous backing a joy in itself, is certainly among the very finest and preferable to some lauded versions of more recent vintage.

If Haendel is slightly too closely balanced, her playing can take the spotlight – everything she does is for the music; the reverberant acoustic (Southampton’s Guildhall) aids the orchestra’s depth of tone.

The two serenades are rather more substantial and searching than the title suggests, while the perky Humoreske is a delight – what a shame Haendel didn’t record all six!

At budget price, this CD is an essential purchase.

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