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Busoni & Strauss: Violin Concertos, etc Becker-Bender/ BBC Scottish SO/Walker HYPERION 24/40

August 22, 2014

Andrew Clements

Busoni disowned most of his early works after he published his artistic manifesto, Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music, in 1907. But one of the pieces he retained was the Violin Concerto from 1897. It's audibly haunted by the ghosts of Beethoven and Brahms's violin concertos, but at just 23 minutes long, it's far less daunting. It's tuneful and easygoing too, and as Tanja Becker-Bender's performance underlines, it's hard to understand why it isn't performed more often. It's paired with an even earlier work by another composer whose later music took a very different direction: the Op 8 Violin Concerto by Richard Strauss, which he completed in 1882, aged just 18. It's flashy, long-winded and rather superficial, and even Becker-Bender's best efforts can't inject much of interest into it; there's little for Garry Walker and the BBC Scottish Symphony to get their teeth into either.

Reviews by Andrew Clements

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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