Francesca Dego’s discs seem to always carry someting special, from her Il Cannone disc (see our post here, with interview) to Mozart Violin Sonatas with Francesca Leonardi, and Volume One ofthe current series of Mozart Violin Concertos; not to mention her DG disc of Paganini and Wolf-Ferrari.
The rapport between Dego and Norrington on thsi new disc is crystal clear, and the RSNO certainly seem to have fully assimilated his approach in the orchestral exposition of the Violin Concerto (No. 1) in B flat, K 207. (probably April 1773). Dego’s cadenza to this first movement is a little miracle in and of itself. This first movement is formally interesting as it melds what was to be sonata for, with a more Vivaldian ritorello in its alternations of solo and tutti. Michael O’Loghlin goes into a nice explanation of how that is achieved, and how therefore the fuller sonata form was born from the ritornello structure (the first concerto is earlier than the other four and so shows this most clearly):
Norrington’s speed for the central Adagio allows the music to move; the orchestral opening is full of grace and affection. Dego more than matches this; and the rapid tempo for the final Rondeau more than ensures contrast between the movements. The RSNO horns are on popping good form, with Dego’s virtuosity unstoppable:
Norrington catches the sense of a military march taken for a walk (pardon the positively ambulatory mixed metaphor) at the very opening of the Violin Concerto No. 2 in D, K 211 perfectly. Dego is almost playful at times here; both seem to be having a thoroughly good time, but one hears too the skill Mozart employs in constructing this little gem of a movement:
Each concerto has its own way with contrasts – here it is from that first movement to the very depths of profundity, reaching their zenith in Dego’s inserted cadenza, in the central Andante:
The Fifth Violin Concerto of Mozart is his most famous. Perhaps part of that is “nickname syndrome” – give a piece a nickname and it elevates its popularity via the label. Haydn Symphonies exemplify this par excellence. That sense of the gentle, lean-limbed and caressing, informs the fabulous Adagio:
There’s no missing the Turkish interlude in the finale (just after four minutes in). Dego and Norrington enjoy it but don’t over-emphasise it – just enough for it to make its effect:
A simply superb disc. At the time of writing, this disc is reduced by 17% at Amazon at the link below: