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Penguin Guide, January 2009

The 17-minute Chaconne which John Corigliano has fashioned from the main theme of his film score for The Red Violin is cleverly structured, but uneven in appeal. It opens seductively, reaches an explosive climax and, after a cadenza, ends decisively. The performance and recording here can hardly be faulted.




Penguin Guide, January 2009

The Violin Concerto is an enigmatic work, with a not too easily penetrable opening movement, in which Chloë Hanslip is much more successful than Kremer in his Nonesuch version. She also catches the calm serenity which informs much of the Chaconne slow movement and is superb in the dazzling finale which has made the work popular. The Corigliano coupling is appropriate, but the Waxman transcriptions of Wagner (turned into a film-style piano concerto, with soloist Charles Owen) and the much abbreviated First Romanian Rhapsody of Enescu are curious, if enjoyable, encores. Vivid Abbey Road recording.



Kirsty Humphrey
Stringendo, October 2008

Chloe Hanslip is a phenomenal violinist. John Adams is a diverse and skilfulcomposer. This Cd is not to be missed! At just 19 years of age, Chloe has already proven herself to be one of the most talented young violinists of today. Her playing is not only technically brilliant, it has ‘soul’.  She communicates with a passion and understanding beyond her years. Additionally to the Adams Concerto, Chloe’s stunning performances of Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody no. 1, [Corigliano’s] Red Violin Chaconne, and Waxman’s little-known Tristan & Isolde Fantasia, put her entirely in a class of her own. Chloe has been playing the violin since she was two years old; her love of performing spills over. She studied with the great Russian pedagogue, Zacher Bron, and more recently with Gerard Schulz, of the Alban Berg Quartet.



Christopher Abbot
Fanfare, June 2007

This disc is another in the remarkable Naxos series titled “American Classics,” and the second to feature music by Adams (the first was the essential Adams collection conducted by Marin Alsop); but it also serves to showcase the talents of the young British violinist Chloë Hanslip, a protégé of Salvatore Accardo and Gerhard Schulz, among others; this is the first time that her repertoire and my critic’s domain have crossed paths. The major work, Adams’s superb Violin Concerto, is the hook for me, but the accompanying works are by no means mere makeweights… © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Gimbel
American Record Guide, February 2007

The 1993 Violin Concerto - now, strictly speaking, the "First Violin Concerto" - gets its fourth recording (it seems to have become "hugely popular", as the CD box has it, and I'm glad to hear it). Ms. Hanslip is a fine player, as you have to be to manage this knotty masterpiece, and she fares well against the high-level competition. Stephen Haller raver about her Bruch concertos(M/S 2003), and I can only second his comments about her golden tone and assured command. I think, we can dismiss the ragged Kremer (Nonesuch) and also safely put aside Robert McDuffee's Telarc (J/F 2000). That puts the main competition between this and Leyla Josefowicz on BBC's Late Junction label ( with the composer conducting, J/F 2004). I like Ms Josefowicz's recording more this time around and appreciated the extra presence of the composer and the audience. It's hard to say enough about Ms Josefowicz's playing, which seems to grow in vividness on every hearing. Ms Hanslip is altogether mellower, even suave. She and conductor Slatkin stress clarity and detail and give the work a warmer, more laidback approach, but with a clear sense of dramatic purpose. I honestly like both recordings.

Ms Hanslip has cinema and theater in her background - she was the "infant prodigy violinist" in the film adaptation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin with Ralph Fiennes and premiered Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantasia on Phantom of the Opera; the choice of companion pieces reflects this tendency. The opening piece on this program is a Chaconne based on the two principal materials from John Corigliano's score for The Red Violin : the slowly rising scale of the main title and the big mushy tune, 'Anna's Theme'. I must confess I'm clueless as to how specifically this is a Chaconne. It sounds to me simply like a fantasy on cues from the film, and it doesn't work very well as a concert piece. Don't confuse this with the Red Violin Suite, recorded by Eleanora Turovsky and chamber orchestra on Chandos (S/O 2005, with a reduced version of Corigliano's Second Symphony). I didn't think much of that either.

I guess the brief virtuosic conclusion of Enesco's First Romanian Rhapsody, in an arrangement for violin and orchestra by movie music composer Franz Waxman, is meant to serve as a Red Violin continuation (or encore). What other artistic purpose it serves is beyond this review's imagination. Waxman returns in a Tristan and Isolde Fantasia, originally the climax of the 1946 film Humoresque. It makes Wagner sound like Hollywood (rather than the other way around), complete with corny piano arpeggiations and mooning violin commentaries. Yuck.

I'm afraid those fillers place the Adams Concerto in an odd light, as if it were some kind of pops concert entry. It's not. I hope the young and breathtakingly talented Ms Hanslip resists that well-worn road, which management might foist on her if she doesn't take charge herself. She's a beautiful player, and her Adams is well worth hearing. I suppose the hope is that a coupling like this will sell records, and the unwashed masses will move up to the Adams somehow. I doubt that strategy works.



Christopher Latham
Limelight Magazine, January 2007

This might be one of Naxos’ best recordings ever. Young British violinist Chloe Hanslip is outstanding on this fascinating solo portrait CD, taking us through a range of eclectic and recent works. Corigliano’s Red Violin ‘Chaconne’, based on his main theme from the film’s soundtrack, demonstrates immediately that we are hearing a very special violinist. Hanslip’s sound is sensual, vocal and yearning and totally radiant in it top register. The Enescu Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 (arr Waxman) is a gem of Gypsy fiddling, and Waxman’s movie score Tristan and Isolde Fantasia, weaves the famous tunes into 11 minutes “over the top” excess that is deliciously good fun. To finish there is John Adams’ impressive violin concerto, the most original approach to the genre since the Alban Berg concerto. The first movement places the violin over endlessly rising caterpillars tracks of interlocked cells of orchestral colour. The second movement is a set of variation over a chaconne bass, and the last movement Toccare presents a minimalist texture with a curious fiddling lines carving their way through all the wackiness. Leonard Slatkin has the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at their best with Hanslip out front displaying poise and authority that should be impossible at her age. I am converted – she is likely to become the greatest violinist of her generation.



CNN.com, November 2006

American composer John Adams, composer of the astonishingly moving 1980 "Harmonium," is better known for operatic forays into politics - "Nixon in China," "The Death of Klinghoffer" - than his formal instrumental work. But the real colorist he has become (he's dismissed too easily as a minimalist) makes him an American icon. The young English artist Chloe Hanslip, when she can wrest her violin from her marketing mavens, has a start on some real subtlety in Adams' 1993 Violin Concerto. This Naxos album has Hanslip also essay the John Corigliano Chaconne from "The Red Violin" - music closely related to the superior Joshua Bell -- but her reading of the Franz Waxman "Tristan and Isolde Fantasia" marries her technique and emotion nicely.



Alan G. Artner
Chicago Tribune, October 2006

This is the third recording of Adams' engaging 1993 Concerto, and the 19-year-old Hanslip provides a feline, lyrical alternative to Gidon Kremer's recorded premiere on Nonesuch. She lacks Kremer's cumulative power in the first and third movements, but nor does he have her sense of meandering fantasy or Slatkin's delicate orchestral support in which especially the writing for winds, percussion and synthesizer register less as punctuation than atmospheric touches of color. The rest of the program is played as rapturously but, alas, it's based in inferior movie music. Those who have the now-deleted disc of the Waxman paraphrases on Koch may rest assured no new depths are discovered here. Each previous recording of the Adams Concerto provides better couplings--but Hanslip is singular in her approach, and Naxos' sound serves it well, without the edge that affects the louder, more densely orchestrated pieces.



James Manheim
Allmusic.com, October 2006

This is an unusually sumptuous release for the Naxos label, with a fully designed sleeve bearing a sharp picture of young British soloist Chloë Hanslip placed over the usual Naxos template cover. The enhanced presentation is understandable, for the program is an unusually ambitious one -- it attempts to present an entirely fresh and crowd-pleasing group of American works for violin and orchestra, all composed in the twentieth century. And, as it turns out, the program is successful. Its outer works both make use of the chaconne principle, the repeating ground bass pattern that was one of the organizing devices of Baroque music. The Chaconne from "The Red Violin" by John Corigliano was abstracted by the composer from his score for that film in a novel way: he selected themes from the film and fit them to the ground bass. As such, the work presents a contrast between lush variety in its violin part (and other melodic parts) and its spare underpinning, way in the low background. The second movement of John Adams' "Violin Concerto" is also a chaconne, but of a more minimalist kind; Adams varies the pattern subtly, using bells and other percussion in what must be counted as one of his most alluring pieces. The whole concerto hangs together; the first movement is not a chaconne, but it is built on a repeating figure in the orchestra that slowly gains in intensity in a way characteristic of Adams; conceptually, it fits with the chaconne idea, as does the vigorous "Toccare" finale. Two works by film composer Franz Waxman constitute a little entr'acte, and they fit with the creative adaptation idea of the Corigliano: his arrangement of Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody No. 1" is a radical compression of that work down to under two and a half minutes, while the "Tristan and Isolde Fantasia," somewhat longer, is likewise quite a speed-read version of its model, with a unique piano part. Hanslip is a fine developing soloist who attacks the music with gusto and lacks only an electric presence at the top of her range to reach marquee-star status, and conductor Leonard Slatkin is in his element with all of this music, successfully molding the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra into a group capable of handling anything from Waxman's high-calorie Austro-Hungarian romanticism to the bracing strains of Adams. The Abbey Road Studios sound is fine, and in all this is an experiment that has succeeded and is likely to attract attempts at replication.



Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, October 2006

Corigliano and Adams together on one CD has to be a fairly safe commercial bet for any classical record label, especially with the combined big names of Leonard Slatkin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in support. These giants are topped by one of the most upwardly mobile young soloists around at the moment. Chloë Hanslip’s pure tone and naturally expressive playing suit this music right down to the roots.

Corigliano’s Red Violin is immediately associated with Joshua Bell, who recorded the original soundtrack. ‘The Suite From’ has appeared once or twice, but I don’t remember coming across this stand-alone Chaconne before – an extended work which uses the principal theme to create a set of variations over a ‘ground bass’ which is ever present, but not in the instantly audible Purcell sense. This is typically accessible Corigliano, with lyrical solo lines and colourful, resonant orchestration. The overall effect is certainly much more powerful than simply ‘film music’ fare. As we are led to understand that another two movements have been composed I suspect it won’t be long before we have the full ‘Concerto’ from …
Enesco’s romping Romanian Rhapsody No.1,or at least the bits of it which have been selected for arrangement by Franz Waxman, make for what would have been an excellent encore. There are one or two unmistakably folk-like moments in the solo part, but otherwise this is the kind of piece which would go down well at the average New Year’s gala concert, and none the worse for it. Franz Waxman is further represented in the incredible Tristan and Isolde Fantasia, which only just misses becoming Wagner’s "Rhapsody in Blue" – especially through the significant piano part taken brilliantly by Charles Owen. This piece was used in the 1946 Hollywood film Humoresque, which tells the story of an ambitious violinist who falls in love with his patroness, with inevitably tragic consequences. Elements from the Prelude and Liebestod are tossed around in a hot wok of Hollywood romanticism. While purists may cringe I couldn’t help turning up the volume to 11 on this one!

After the turbulence and emotion of Wagner/Waxman, Adams does well to pick us up from the floor onto which we have all melted. The opening of his Violin Concerto has been compared to the drowning scene in Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’, but with the fluid undulations in the orchestra being extended over the whole of the first movement it is more of an aquatic flying lesson than an agonising sinking feeling. The second movement is a moving Chaconne, with discreetly added bell sounds - some real, some synthesised - from within the orchestra. Polytonal counter-melodies and woodwind filigrees make this an attractive movement, even though its nearly 11 minute duration means it has more of a meditative effect rather than an intensely gripping one. The final Toccare has minimalist touches of ostinati: ticking woodblocks and both tuned and un-tuned percussion effects in a rhythmically demanding whirlwind of joyful Americana. It does come off in this performance, but you do have the feeling that everyone is playing by the seat of their trousers, sorry, pants.

This is another superbly engineered and marvellously well performed production from Naxos. With the John Adams Violin Concerto as the central item it comes into direct competition with Robert MacDuffie on Telarc, coupled with the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, and Gidon Kremer on Nonesuch, with Adams’ "Shaker Loops" as a substantial filler. While this is a tough call, the Naxos CD does undercut both of the aforementioned competitors by a considerable price margin. Gidon Kremer might take the ultimate laurels for best performance in Adams’ Concerto, but there is nothing in Hanslip’s version which will make you wonder what you are missing.



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, October 2006

Chloë Hanslip is a deservedly celebrated young player. Naxos have done well to engage her for this project and mark it with a prestige card-sleeve as well as all the aural trappings of a deluxe production.

The recordings were made in unaccustomed realms for Naxos: Abbey Road no less. Look too at the conductor and orchestra.

Corigliano's Chaconne from The Red Violin takes themes from the 1998 film of that name and spins variations that are intense, impassioned, ardent, explosive and meditative. The language scarcely drifts from a range marked out by Walton and Shostakovich. It is not a difficult listen and rises to an impressive tempest of protest.

The Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1 is in this case a sparking piece for full orchestra and solo violin. Here it’s all done within 2:26 so it’s not the whole of Enescu's original. Hanslip delivers spirited zigeuner virtuosity - all lightning and flashing eyes!

Then come two works by Franz Waxman as arranger - and more in the case of the Tristan and Isolde Fantasia. This latter piece stands at the climactic point in the 1946 film Humoresque. The Tristan item is also with orchestra and there’s an orchestral piano too, here played by Charles Owen. The style was not quite the torrid superheated affair I had expected. This is more of a romantic pastiche of Mendelssohn or Bruch; very convincingly done as well.

We may well look back at the violin concertos by Glass, Adams and Rorem in years to come as triptychal sisters. All have been convincingly recorded and all several times. Hanslip gives us a convincing performance of Adams’ fantasy-concerto. Its opening bars seem to sidle into the listener’s consciousness. The glistening mystery of the central Chaconne is outstandingly done. The Toccare finale darts and chatters in a return to Adams' brilliant minimalist roots. The ticking variegated percussion (tom-tom and much else) adds counterpoint to the flighty and fast-pattering violin line.

This is a lovely disc which adds valuably to the Naxos American Classics marque. More from Chloe Hanslip please. Let's hear her for example in the two Creston concertos and if you can bear with me for this motley crew of wonderful neglecteds: in the violin concertos of Lionel Sainsbury, Edward Burlingame Hill and Haydn Wood.



William Dart
The New Zealand Herald, October 2006

English violinist Chloe Hanslip made her first CD with Warner Classics in 2002. She was 14 and it was a batch of lollipops under the baton of Paul Mann, a familiar name to Auckland Philharmonia audiences.

Four years on, her debut with Naxos is a formidable addition to the label's encyclopaedic series of American classics.

Half of the album may be movie music, but it is strictly A list. Take Franz Waxman's Tristan and Isolde Fantasia, a potent concoction of Wagner patched together for one of Joan Crawford's juiciest melodramas, the 1946 Humoresque.

Devout Wagnerians will shudder at the first ripple of harp and surge of piano arpeggio, but this is supreme kitsch, dashed off with vertiginous virtuosics and not a smidgen of shame.

After the dramatic climaxes and Carmen Cavallaro-style tinklings around the Liebestod have left you weak at the knees, Waxman's romp through Enesco's First Romanian Rhapsody is highly recommended. Hanslip reveals the gypsy in her soul, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin follow suit.

The opening track, a Chaconne by John Corigliano, fashioned from his score for Francois Girard's 1998 film The Red Violin, is a more substantial concert piece.

It comes with percussion that will make you fear for the security of household walls and intense playing from Hanslip in more lyrical passages.

The centrepiece must be John Adams' 1993 Violin Concerto, described by its composer as a study in "hypermelody" - rightly so as Hanslip hardly has a rest during the piece's 35 minutes.

Ethereal melodies over shifting orchestral patterns in the first movement recall Debussy; later on, soloist and orchestra indulge in Coplandesque conversations.

The emotionalism of the absorbing second movement is hinted at in its title, Body Through Which the Dream Flows, recalling the sumptuous romanticism of Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto.

The Finale, dazzlingly delivered, is cinematic in its criss-crossing rush of semiquavers, reminding me curiously of a montage sequence from Waxman's Humoresque score.

Throughout this major 20th-century concerto, the clarity of the Naxos recording is immaculate, making the balance between soloist and orchestra notably clearer than in Gidon Kremer's 1993 CD.

The result is a rare communion between composer, soloist, conductor and orchestra.



Daniel Felsenfeld
Time Out New York, October 2006

British violinist Chloë Hanslip offers an ambitious and rangy program on her Naxos debut, bravely performing only more-or-less-contemporary works. Her abundant, almost-vocal tone is straight out of the High Romantic tradition, an approach well suited to the Chaconne drawn from John Corigliano’s score to the film The Red Violin. This piece turns a stark light on good old-fashioned virtuosity, combining the old ethos of the showpiece concerto with some radical, modern orchestral timbres. Hanslip’s lush but aggressive sound suits it perfectly.

Hanslip also makes good fun of two arrangements by Hollywood legend Franz Waxman, of George Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 and the soupy (in the best, most verdant way) Tristan and Isolde Fantasia. In the latter, she is aided and abetted by Charles Owen’s piano obbligato; he holds his own as a stylist against Hanslip’s mighty sound.

Where Hanslip and conductor Leonard Slatkin falter slightly is in John Adams’s confounding Violin Concerto. There is something a bit aimless about both the piece—which has a lot of fascinating gurgles, pretty colors and Hollywood-thrilling moments, but fails to come together as a whole—and this performance. Hanslip hardly fails to dazzle, especially in the exhausting virtuoso turn of the final movement, as exciting an ending as one could want from a concerto. But one wonders about her choice of material: Would not a piece of a more romantic nature made for a more coherent record?



Scott Cantrell
The Dallas Morning News, September 2006

Apart from a couple of arrangements by Franz Waxman (now mainly remembered as a film composer), these two CDs feature American music from the last decade and a half. There are patches of atonality, but only patches in what's been called a "maximalism" embracing multiple stylistic strands. This is the public face of American musical modernity.

John Adams' Violin Concerto has had well-deserved success in the concert hall. If on CD it sometimes seems a little long-winded, it's still a brilliantly written showpiece. John Corigliano eventually devised a whole violin concerto from music he wrote for the 1998 film The Red Violin, but he first released this Chaconne, a dramatic and effective updating of the baroque variation form.

Waxman's violin-and-orchestra arrangement of the second part of the Enescu Romanian Rhapsody is fun. His Tristan and Isolde Fantasia, created for the 1946 film Humoresque, is a curious cut-and-paste version of the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's opera. The solo violin is a plausible substitute for a dying Isolde, but add-on piano parts are strangely obtrusive.

British violinist Chloë Hanslip plays everything wonderfully, well supported by Leonard Slatkin and the Royal Philharmonic. And Mike Hatch, one of the best recording engineers around, gets great sound.



Stephanie von Buchau
Oakland Tribune, September 2006

This is the fourth recording of the 1993 Violin Concerto--a perfectly acceptable performance. Hanslip is a virtuosa. Yet, even if you already have the Adams, the rest of this album is worth Naxos's bargain price--Corigliano's "Chaconne," Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody" and Franz Waxman's Fantasia on "Tristan und Isolde," sensational movie music from "Humoresque" (1946).






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