Concerto for Orchestra
Olivier Charlier (violin)
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schurmann
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: March 2002
CD No: CHANDOS CHAN 9915
Gerard Schurmann was born in Java to Dutch parents in 1924. His music combines colour, rhythm and long melodies in thoughtfully constructed, brilliantly scored expanses that brim with emotion.
The Violin Concerto dates from the ’seventies. Written for Ruggiero Ricci, the violin’s lyrical abilities are highlighted, its sinewy expression integrated into the orchestra’s varied palette. Two large movements give the soloist plenty of display, superbly taken by Charlier. The concluding ’Theme and Variations’ reminds initially of Bartok and then the sensuousness of Walton. Each variation is part of a cumulative and knot-tying groundplan. An absorbing and satisfying work.
Lorin Maazel commissioned the Concerto for Orchestra for the Pittsburgh SO (although the premiere was conducted by Edo de Waart). More overtly American in its harmonies, the Concerto for Orchestra explodes into life. Its five movements are well contrasted – active, nocturnal, reminiscing and decisive. The melodic generosity of ’Aubade’ is a particular highlight. With authoritative performances under the composer’s direction and excellent sound doing full justice to Schurmann’s variegated and virtuoso orchestration, this CD of two vibrant scores is heartily recommended.