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Saturday, August 12, 2017

John Adams; John Corigliano - Violin Concerto; Red Violin 'Chaconne' (Chloë Hanslip)


Composer: John Adams; John Corigliano; George Enescu; Richard Wagner; Franz Waxman
  1. Corigliano - Chaconne from The Red Violin
  2. Enescu - Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 (arr. Franz Waxman)
  3. Waxman - Tristan and Isolde Fantasia
  4. Adams - Violin Concerto: I. quarter note = 78
  5. Adams - Violin Concerto: II. Chaconne: Body Through Which the Dream Flows
  6. Adams - Violin Concerto: III. Toccare

Chloë Hanslip, violin
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Date: 2006
Label: Naxos



Playing like this should secure Chloë Hanslip’s reputation for life

Let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way first. As an overall concept this album is a mess. Franz Waxman’s arrangement of Enescu’s First Romanian Rhapsody is positioned before the Adams Concerto and sounds like an encore before the main event. Waxman’s Tristan and Isolde Fantasia pushes Wagner towards Cecil B DeMille histrionics, while John Corigliano’s hacked-together Chaconne is episodic and rhetorical and is severely lacking in the material department. Misjudged for certain, and even assured playing like this can’t elevate such dubious programming.

This is a pity because nothing should hide the fact that Chloë Hanslip is the sort of musician every teenager forced to practise their scales dreams of becoming. The richness and clarity of her tone is beyond learning, and she demonstrates such profound empathy for John Adams’s 1993 Violin Concerto that Gidon Kremer (on the premiere recording – Nonesuch, 6/96) can consider himself completely outplayed. This is the sort of performance that secures a reputation for life.

The first movement strikes me as a particular challenge, as an unwinding melodic line generates itself over a quarter-hour span. Kremer plays the notes mechanically but Hanslip deconstructs their meaning and pieces together a cogent narrative direction that’s a bona fide interpretation. The sing-song ballad quality of the slow middle movement unlocks her lyrical imagination, while the tricky moto perpetuo of the violin part zigzags and breakdances across occasional Nancarrow-like rhythmic overlays in an exuberant finale. Assertive and enthused accompaniment from Slatkin and the RPO, too – everybody’s doing Adams the greatest of service.

-- Philip Clark, Gramophone

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: ****


John Adams (born February 15, 1947 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is an American composer of classical music and opera. He studied composition under Leon Kirchner, Roger Sessions, Earl Kim, and David Del Tredici. The music of John Adams is usually categorized as minimalist or post-minimalist, although in interview he has categorized himself as a 'post-style' composer. His works include Harmonielehre (1985), Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986), On the Transmigration of Souls (2002) and Shaker Loops (1978). His operas include Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and Doctor Atomic (2005).


John Corigliano (born 16 February 1938 in New York City, United States) is an American composer of classical music. Corigliano employs a wide variety of styles, sometimes even within the same work, but aims to make his work accessible to a relatively large audience. His scores, now numbering over one hundred, have won him the Pulitzer Prize, five Grammy Awards, Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and an Oscar. He is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College in the City University of New York and on the composition faculty at the Juilliard School.

Chloë Hanslip (born 28 September 1987) is a British classical violinist. Chloë studied for ten years with the Russian pedagogue Zakhar Bron. She has also worked with Christian Tetzlaff, Robert Masters, Ida Haendel, Salvatore Accardo, and Gerhard Schulz. At the age of 13, she was the youngest recording artist ever to be signed to Warner Classics UK, with her debut album released in 2001 to great critical acclaim. Hanslip has received numerous awards for her playing, including the Classical Brits Young Performer award in 2003. She plays a 1737 Guarneri del Gesu violin.


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