Jessica Gethin (conductor)
Rudolf Koelman (violin)
reviewed by Neville Cohn
photo by Roel Loopers
Saint Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso 09:04
Saint Saens: Havanaise 08:40
Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor, opus 22
Allegro moderato 10:51
Romance: andante non troppo 04:26
Allegro con fuoco 00:33
Allegro moderato (a la Zingara) 05:15
Rudolf Koelman, for many years concertmaster of Holland’s famed Concertgebaauw Orchestra, makes frequent visits to Australia. On a number of these occasions, he has fronted up as soloist with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra. Some of this happy collaboration is now preserved on CD, recently released by the FCO.
Koelman, a formidable soloist, is featured in Saint Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso as well as Havanaise in addition to Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No 2.
Unsurprisingly, Koelman sounded in his element here, adapting to the requirements of each work like fine wine to a goblet. Stylistically impeccable, tonally refulgent, he seems incapable of an ugly sound.
There is a good deal of virtuosity on the part of the soloist but it is never there purely for its own sake. Invariably, it is entirely in context. In this sense, the presentation is in the very best of musical taste and all the more to be recommended for that.
There is clearly an excellent rapport between orchestra and soloist with Jessica Gethin doing sterling work in maintaining momentum and ensuring an equitable tonal balance between soloist and orchestra – and recording engineer Thomas Wearne has come up with the most sound (no pun intended!) result. It’s a recording well worth getting excited about – and for all the right reasons. And there is an extra frisson to the performance, doubtless due to the recording being of live performances before an audience in Fremantle.