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CD Review

From The Archives

Works for Violin & Orchestra, 1953-1956

Gerhard Taschner, violin
Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra/Herbert Sandberg
* NDR Symphony Orchestra/Hans Schmidt Isserstedt
** Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Lehmann
Dabringhaus & Grimm Archive MDG6421508-2 74m ADD (Rec: )
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This is the third issue from MD&G featuring the lamented Gerhard Taschner and yet again, one can only marvel at the multifarious talents of this great violinist in 20th century violin works that range from the famous to the not so off the beaten track but rarely heard nonetheless.

I greatly enjoyed the Sibelius concerto and at times, Taschner's playing reminds one of the tragically short-lived Ginette Neveu (with Barbirolli on Dutton) especially in that over arching and highly imaginative opening movement. The Khachaturian Concerto is a much bigger work to bring off but here, Taschner plays with great personality and fine panache, exploring the deeper colours of the music especially in the haunting slow movement. The Sarasate, always a party piece, is given a suitably ebullient performance here.

The recordings are preserved in astonishingly good sound for their age and this is all the more remarkable when one considers the fact that they were recorded in the devastation that was post war Germany in the early to mid 1950's. That does nothing to detract from the spirit of the orchestral playing which is of the highest order coaxed by legends of the podium such as Schmidt Isserstedt and Lehmann. A rewarding disc, and not just for those with a penchant for historical recordings.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech