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Victor Carr Jr.

Artistic Quality 9/9 Sound Quality
Necil Kâzım Akses (1908-99), Violin Concerto (1969) is probably unlike any you've ever heard. Its thunderous opening, an angry theme consisting of repeated half-tone modulations around an insistent F tonic, sounds more like music for a disaster movie than a concerto. The violin enters in an agitated state, its delicate tone doing little to dispel the music's accumulated tension, though Akses does allow for moments of introspection in this sprawling, 26-minute first movement. As it progresses, the music's fundamentally romantic nature becomes more apparent—romanticism in a Korngold film score vein that is—even though the harmonic language is much closer to Bartok's. After an extended and wrenching cadenza, the second movement follows attacca with a calm and contemplative adagio theme that provides a much needed respite from the struggle just endured. This is briefly interrupted by a built-in scherzo (marked Vivo) that delightfully incorporates Turkish dance elements. A second extended cadenza provides a last moment of reflection before the angry music of the introduction returns to bring the concerto to a dramatic close with seven tam-tam crashes. Violinist Cihat Aşkın's amazing realization of the challenging solo part is made even more impressive by the fact that it was recorded live at a single performance. Rengim Gökmen, aided by stunning playing from the Hannover Radio-Philharmonie, successfully communicates the thrilling tension of the orchestral accompaniment. CPO's recording is naturally balanced with plenty of impact. If you'd like to hear a concerto with cajones, get this one.



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