Nikolai Roslavets Violin Concertos/Alina Ibragimova

0 of 5 stars

Violin Concerto No.1
Violin Concerto No.2

Alina Ibragimova (violin)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov

Recorded 9 & 10 January 2008 in City Halls, Glasgow

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: November 2008
Duration: 58 minutes



The pizzicatos and shadowy lines that launch Nikolai Roslavets’s Violin Concerto No.1 immediately grab the attention, the violin soloist emerging from the texture, soaring, rather as in Szymanowski’s counterpart. Russian composer Roslavets (1881-1944) is also emerging from the shadows, something of a musical relation to Scriabin, but establishing his own mystical and sensuous remit.

The first of his violin concertos (1925) is intense and dramatic, full of incident, and not without its own behind-the-scenes drama, namely the apparent loss of the full score (the work had only been played, very occasionally, in a reduction for violin and piano). The full version was found in the 1980s, in the archives of the State Music Publishers in Moscow. It’s a great work, in three substantial movements, the first two linked and including a cadenza. Roslavets’s orchestration is wonderful in itself as well as very suggestive, a masterly use of a large orchestra, the musical invention not unaware of Schoenberg and Berg but with a rich intensity and vividness all its own … feverish … atmospheric … white-hot.

The Second Violin Concerto (1936) is a lighter, ‘simpler’ and shorter (19-minute) affair, also in three movements. The very opening might just deflect you to Elgar’s Violin Concerto! There is no lack of sweep, heroism and beauty, with plenty for the soloist to do, the smaller orchestra always a colourful contributor. If further references are needed, then Glazunov and Prokofiev (in their violin concertos) come to mind, but Roslavets is more than his own man, bequeathing something quite personal as well as loveable to us (the finale is marked ‘giocoso’ and it lives up to such billing).

Alina Ibragimova is a simply stunning advocate for these works and couldn’t have a finer partnership than that provided by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov. With outstanding recorded sound, this release is an absolute winner.

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