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Kerson Leong|Britten & Bruch: Violin Concertos

Britten & Bruch: Violin Concertos

Kerson Leong, Philharmonia Orchestra and Patrick Hahn

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The Violin Concerto, Op. 15, of Benjamin Britten and the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26, of Max Bruch both open quietly, like Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61; Britten's work directly refers to Beethoven's timpani strokes, but other than that, they have little in common. Britten's wiry work clearly reflects the tension of the period 1939-1940 when it was composed, and it has never been terribly beloved by audiences. However, it comes alive here in this treatment by the young violinist Kerson Leong, for it forms a stark contrast with the warm, lush Bruch concerto and especially with the deeply melancholy entr'acte, Bruch's In Memoriam, Op. 65. Some will be attracted to the album for the fine performance of this work alone, which Bruch considered his finest work for the violin, but that is not terribly often heard. The real news is the personality Leong brings to each of the main attractions, whose contrasts emerge in full color. He certainly has a full technical arsenal, with sparkling top notes that are generating raves in live concerts. Beyond that is a sort of sincere, wide-eyed appreciation for each of these works and a way of realizing it musically. One might add that his interactions with conductor Patrick Hahn and the Philharmonia Orchestra are of a subtlety that generally comes only with much longer experience. Leong made news with his note-perfect renditions of Ysaÿe's showpieces sonatas for solo violin, but this recording suggests he will be around for the long haul.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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Britten & Bruch: Violin Concertos

Kerson Leong

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Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 15 (Benjamin Britten)

1
I. Moderato con moto - Agitato - Tempo primo
00:09:54

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist - Copyright 1965 by Hawkes & Sons (London), Ltd, MusicPublisher

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

2
II. Vivace - Animando - Largamente - Cadenza
00:08:27

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist - Copyright 1965 by Hawkes & Sons (London), Ltd, MusicPublisher

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

3
III. Passacaglia - Andante lento (Un poco meno mosso)
00:14:29

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist - Copyright 1965 by Hawkes & Sons (London), Ltd, MusicPublisher

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

4
In Memoriam, Op. 65
00:14:45

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Max Bruch, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, Op. 26 (Max Bruch)

5
I. Vorspiel. Allegro moderato
00:08:36

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Max Bruch, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

6
II. Adagio
00:09:00

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Max Bruch, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

7
III. Finale. Allegro energico
00:07:43

Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Max Bruch, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Kerson Leong, MainArtist - Patrick Hahn, Conductor, MainArtist

2023 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2023 Kerson Leong

Album review

The Violin Concerto, Op. 15, of Benjamin Britten and the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26, of Max Bruch both open quietly, like Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61; Britten's work directly refers to Beethoven's timpani strokes, but other than that, they have little in common. Britten's wiry work clearly reflects the tension of the period 1939-1940 when it was composed, and it has never been terribly beloved by audiences. However, it comes alive here in this treatment by the young violinist Kerson Leong, for it forms a stark contrast with the warm, lush Bruch concerto and especially with the deeply melancholy entr'acte, Bruch's In Memoriam, Op. 65. Some will be attracted to the album for the fine performance of this work alone, which Bruch considered his finest work for the violin, but that is not terribly often heard. The real news is the personality Leong brings to each of the main attractions, whose contrasts emerge in full color. He certainly has a full technical arsenal, with sparkling top notes that are generating raves in live concerts. Beyond that is a sort of sincere, wide-eyed appreciation for each of these works and a way of realizing it musically. One might add that his interactions with conductor Patrick Hahn and the Philharmonia Orchestra are of a subtlety that generally comes only with much longer experience. Leong made news with his note-perfect renditions of Ysaÿe's showpieces sonatas for solo violin, but this recording suggests he will be around for the long haul.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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