The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Rolla: Violin Concertos in B flat major, D major & A major
Period and modern playing styles meet some attractive Italian concertos
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Paolo Ghidoni (violin/conductor) Mantua Conservatoire Chamber Orchestra
DYNAMIC CDS 714
Alessandro Rolla (1757–1841) is best known as the teacher of Paganini and originator of some of his technical effects. Accordingly, these concertos hint at the opening-up of violin virtuosity in the late 18th century and are well-crafted compositions balancing an operatic Classical style with a proto-bravura sensibility. They are cleanly and strongly executed by Paolo Ghidoni, an alumnus of the Mantua Conservatoire and former student of Salvatore Accardo.
The B flat major Concerto gets things off to a good start with some very tidy orchestral playing, although it seems rather too closely recorded. Individual players can be heard at times, and the sound is a little too brassy – something that can disfigure Ghidoni’s otherwise admirably animated playing (especially on the E string). However, Ghidoni’s playing itself seems out of place stylistically: whereas the orchestra suggests some compliance with the historically informed performance agenda, Ghidoni is typically mainstream – percussive staccatos, somewhat strident tone and (as is especially evident in the middle movement of the D major Concerto) with some thick G-string vibrato.
The playing across the three works is at least consistent, as are the style and quality of the compositions themselves.
From the April 2013 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.