Linus Roth plays Hartmann, Weinberg and Shostakovich

Linus Roth plays Hartmann, Weinberg and Shostakovich

“Wartime Consolations”
Karl Amadeus Hartmann
Concerto funebre
Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996)
Concertino op. 42
Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes op. 47 n°3*
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Unfinished Sonata pour violin & piano*
World premieres

Linus Roth, violin – José Gallardo, piano
Württemberg Chamber Orchestra HeilbronnRuben Gazarian
2015 – Challenge records

If you like violin, but prefer The Lark ascending by Vaughn Williams to Schoenberg’s Violin concerto, this SACD is for you!
I won’t comment the intelligent program which speaks for itself.


The pionniers André Gertler (with Ancerl – 1969), Wolfgang Schneiderhan (with Kubelík- Live 1973), then Isabelle Faust, Gil Shaham, Vladimir Spivakov, Thomas Zehetmair and some others have already recorded the Concerto funebre by Karl-Amadeus Hartmann, which is probably his best known work.

Hartmann described it: My Concerto funebre was written in the autumn of 1939. This period gives a clue to the character and origins of the piece. The four movements – Chorale, Adagio. Allegro. Chorale – pass into one other without a break. The intellectual and spiritual hopelessness of the period was to be contrasted with an expression of hope in the two chorales at the beginning and end. The opening Chorale Is sustained for the most part by the solo voice- The orchestra does not accompany the soloist but serves only to add cadential harmonies. The second Chorale at the end has the character of a slow march with a songlike melody. Interrupted by episodes reminiscent of a funeral march, the Adagio is a lament dominated by melody and sonority. The Allegro – with its pounding quavers – unleashes rhythmic and dynamic forces. I wanted to write down everything I thought and felt and it was this that produced the work’s form and melos.”

I compared this recording to my favorite: Schneiderhan /Kubelik (Orfeo). Schneiderhan was a specialist of this concerto and met a warm and powerful support from Kubelik and the Bavarians that day. This new version sounds ‘post-modern’ instead of the ‘post-romantism’ of the older one, but that  does not disqualify it at all. This lecture sounds “thinner” and copes to a certain lack of impact with more subtle poetry. The consolating harmonies of the last movement are just magical.


In 1948, Weinberg’s Sinfonietta, though sometimes based on Jewish songs received warm comments from Khrennikov (“expresses the free and happy living of the Jewish workers in the socialist nation”. But he preffered not to publish his Rhapsody (then op. 47 n° 1). Nevertheless he was arrested in 1953 and owed his freedom, not really for the efforts of his idol, Shostakovich, but to Staline’s death.
The concertino is a charming work, quite tender. The second movement is just stunning.
In this version of the Rapsody on Moldavian Themes, Linus Roth sounds Moldavian or Jewish at will! but always in style despite the virtuosity. A good complement for a program with Enesco’s Romanian Rhapsody and Bartok’s Romanian Dances!


Not only being a superb soloist, Linus Roth is also a musicologist:  he founded last year with Thomas Sanderling The International Weinberg Society. He went to the “Association Internationale Dimitri Chostakovitch” in Paris to discover an unpublished fragment of a violin sonata. Again the same mastery and poetry from the soloist in this short piece (5’15”), a special mention to the superb accompaniment of the pianist, José Gallardo, even if, despite the overall quality of sound of this SACD, the piano is lacking of some presence.

A kinf of recording you go back to!

Here is the SACD’s trailer:

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