STRAUSS: Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 8. Sonata for Violin and
Piano in E Flat, Op. 18.
GOLDMARK: Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 28.
Prometheus Bound, Op. 38
Far more satisfying for the listener is the CD-mate for the concerto, Strauss's Violin Sonata in E Flat written in 1887, by an assured composer who in the five years following the violin concerto matured considerably, achieving success with Aus italien, two horn concertos and a semi-piano concerto called Burlesque. The important piano part of the Sonata is superbly played by Strauss specialist Wolfgang Sawallisch whose interest in the composer is Olympian. He has recorded many of the composer's orchestral works and a version of the violin concerto in which he plays the original piano version of the accompaniment.
The other CD features a violin concerto of even lesser interest than the Strauss, Karl Goldmark's Concerto in A Minor, Op. 28, composed in 1877. Goldmark is best-known for his Rustic Wedding Symphony, a lengthy symphony in five movements, about three of which are mildly diverting more so when played by Beecham in his historic recording with the Royal Philharmonicand for his opera The Queen of Sheba. As Goldmark was a virtuoso performer on the violin, his concerto gives ample opportunity for display. But even the efforts of Nathan Milstein, whose early recording has just been issued on Testament, couldn't nurture much interest in this dated music, nor could Itzhak Perlman whose recording with André Previn and the Pittsburgh Symphony didn't last very long in the Angel/EMI catalog. Another recording of the Goldmark has been announced, with Joshua Bell, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The EMI CD is filled out (sort of) with a lengthy (17:23) concert overture, Prometheus Bound, also available on Hungaroton's CD of overtures.
Sonic quality of both recordings is excellent and well-balanced. If you are interested in this music you will not find it elsewhere presented more effectively. However, these are full-priced CDs and each plays for less than an hour. Surely at least one more Goldmark overture could have been included on the latter CD, more of Strauss's music for violin and piano or solo piano on the other.
R.E.B. (Feb. 2000)