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CD Review

Angèle Dubeau Plays

Violin Concertos

Angèle Dubeau, violin
Bulgarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ivan Marinov
Analekta 28714 (Fleurs de Lys 23045) 52min
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Commanding versions of two popular violin concertos by a gifted young Canadian violinist. Ms Dubeau's unique ability to spin incredibly long, arching phrases puts many of the more famous violinists who have essayed these works to shame. The beginning of the Sibelius is a perfect example: she treats her first entrance as one deeply impassioned, unbroken line. She takes 15:54 to wend her way through I; another favorite, Zino Francescatti, zips through it in just 14:05. Dubeau's expansive pacing allows her to achieve tremendous intensity and sense of timeless vastness. Marinov proves to be a superb accompanist. Like Dubeau, he strives to bring out the poetry and mystical beauty of the score. The Bulgarian orchestra is absolutely first rate, boasting lush strings and mellifluous winds. The clarinets and oboes at the beginning of II produce a truly glorious, unforgettable sound. I do hope that this conductor and orchestra record some of Sibelius's Symphonies at some future date. Dubeau is at her absolute best in II, singing Sibelius's haunting serenade with an almost operatic intensity. There are more fiery readings in the catalog (i.e. Heifetz and Perlman), but none as poetic or heartbreaking as this.

If anything, Dubeau's Glazunov is even more remarkable for its joyous exuberance and sensitivity to the composer's elusive idiom. What sounds trivial and trite in other hands is transformed into a magical and rewarding experience here. Dubeau treats the cadenza at the end of II in a very tender and understated manner, after which she launches into a beguiling version of the finale. I especially enjoyed her energetic and witty treatment of the peasant dance at the heart of this movement.

Analekta's recording was made at a low level, so be prepared to crank up the volume a bit more than usual. Otherwise, the sound is quite natural, and the balance between orchestra and soloist is ideal.

Copyright © 1998, Tom Godell