American Concertos – Bernstein: Serenade, West Side Story: Symphonic Dances; Korngold: Violin Concerto; Rózsa: Violin Concerto

Reviewed on Mon 10 Dec, 2018

The recorded sound from the Gothenburg Symphony’s Concert Hall home thrusts you into the emotional maelstrom of Bernstein’s Serenade with gleeful abandon, Skride altogether vital and visceral with aptly intense orchestral accompaniment.

The two programmes of 20th-century American concertos from Baiba Skride coupled together here offer very different listening experiences. Erring on the side of vivid immediacy, the recorded sound from the Gothenburg Symphony’s Concert Hall home thrusts you into the emotional maelstrom of Bernstein’s Serenade with gleeful abandon, Skride altogether vital and visceral with aptly intense orchestral accompaniment. No less accomplished is Korngold’s melodically luxurious Violin Concerto, the young Latvian soloist achingly plangent throughout and backed by ardent support from the Gothenburg players. More restrained sonics are on offer from the Tampere Philharmonic performances, where noticeably more delineated and defined sound spotlights Skride’s athletic lyricism and sonorous tone in Rózsa’s Violin Concerto while clinically framing the contributions of various orchestral sections. Things feel a little more exposed and under-powered in the encore – Bernstein’s West Side Story Symphonic Dances – where conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali favours controlled precision and melting poetry over inflammable panache and punch.
–Michael Quinn