Juraj Cizmarovic soars with Wagner

Slovakian violinist Juraj Cizmarovic offers a seductive performance of less than stellar material.

Composer: Richard Wagner, Siegfried Wagner and Hans Pfitzner.
Repertoire: The Seasons
Artists: Juraj Cizmarovic, WDR Radio Orchestra Köln/Marcus Bosch
Rating: 3/5

Genre: Orchestral

Label: Coviello COV31104

The Music: Although an arrangement of Richard’s song, Träume (‘Dreams’), is featured as a rare bonus, the Wagner whose deeply sensuous concerto is included here is his son, Siegfried, alongside his contemporary Hans Pfitzner’s all-conquering concerto of 1924.

The Performances: Despite being skillfully written and constructed, neither concerto possesses a particularly strong creative profile, so three cheers to sweet-toned Juraj Cizmarovic, who sounds as though he believes in every note, especially in the gentle finale of the Pfitzner, which he shapes with sensual allure. Fascinatingly, while virtually every other composer could barely escape his father’s influence, the dancing rhythms of the finale of Siegfried’s concerto are more reminiscent of middle-period Dvořák, and here again Cizmarovic proves sparklingly seductive. 

The verdict: The sensation of music waiting for a first-rate melody to arrive (it never quite does) is fairly inescapable, but Cizmarovic and the expert Cologne players could hardly be more persuasive. 

Want More? For more late-Romantic concertos off the beaten track, try the two by Szymanowski (Sony, 88697 439992).