Romantic David dazzles in Brabbins' hands

BBC Scottish Symphony are in top form under Martyn Brabbins as violinist Hagai Shaham plays David's Romantic repertoire with charming ease

Composer:  David
Repertoire: Violin Concertos 4 & 5; Andante and Scherzo capriccioso
Artists: Hagai Shaham (vln), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: Hyperion CDA 67804

The Music If the name Ferdinand David sounds vaguely familiar it is almost certainly because he was the man for whom Mendelssohn composed his E minor Concerto. He was also a gifted composer in his own right, borrowing from Paganini, Mendelssohn and Weber in more or less equal quantities to often dazzling effect. 

The Performances Hagai Shaham possesses a relatively small-scale, sweet sound that is absolutely ideal for this repertoire. He retains his ‘cantabile’ composure at all times, even when the notes start flying, soaring gently aloft with a tonal purity guaranteed to set the heart fluttering. Once upon a time rare Romantic repertoire on disc was often accorded little more than a rough-and-ready run-through, but Shaham and the BBC Scottish Symphony (at their most sparkling and sensitive under Martyn Brabbins) play with supreme virtuoso ease throughout. 

The Verdict These may not be the most profoundly original concertos ever committed to manuscript, but played like this they constantly delight with their deft invention. Exemplary sound too from technical wizards Andrew Keener, Simon Eadon and Will Brown. 

Want More? The same team have also recorded Hubay’s four concertos for Hyperion (CDA 67498 & 67367).