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Charlotte Gardner
Gramophone, October 2017

Performances which bring sweetness and spark to this little-known Hungarian composer Hubay’s blend of Brahmsian romance, French panache and Hungarian spice. © 2017 Gramophone

Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, February 2010

Chloë Hanslip’s new accounts, let it be said right away, are right up there with [Hagai] Shaham’s [on Hyperion]. Her artistic insight and her well nigh flawless technique are both put very effectively to the service of these comparatively lightweight but undeniably attractive works and the disc will certainly add to her fast growing reputation (Christopher Latham’s assessment that “she is likely to become the greatest violinist of her generation” is merely one of many such plaudits recorded on her website).

Hanslip’s sympathy with Hubay’s characteristic Hungarian/gypsy idiom is apparent right from the very opening of the first concerto. She displays all the passion, lyricism, flamboyance and virtuosity that the score requires make its maximum effect (Concerto dramatique actually turns out to be a rather misleading title for, once the overtly “dramatic” orchestral introduction is out of the way, the dominant atmosphere is one of Romantic sensibility). Everything is, in fact, so well done that a great deal of the playing sounds entirely spontaneous and improvised such as a gypsy fiddler might produce—a fine tribute to Hubay’s cleverly crafted the score that was surely designed to give that very effect. The slow movement is the most distinctive and successful of the three, with an intensely yearning melodic line that Hanslip plays for all—and possibly more—that it is worth. The last movement has the expected zigeuner fireworks but also an unexpected application of the brakes at 3:06 when we are given a luscious “big tune” that sounds like something right out of a Hollywood weepie. Great stuff!

The second concerto does not make quite such an immediate impact, though the problem is the rather less striking score rather than the performance. To be sure, Hanslip performs once more with strength of purpose and confident energy, tossing off the virtuoso effects with apparent nonchalance. The slow movement again makes the strongest impression as her violin sings out its rather sad, plaintive melody in an entirely sensitive and idiomatic way.

The two fillers from Scènes de la Csárda are most enjoyable. No.3 reminds one irresistibly—even in its thematic material—of that old Palm Court favourite Monti’s Czardas and it and its companion are performed with verve and immense style. Close your eyes and you will easily be transported to a Budapest cafe where a gypsy violinist serenades you as you enjoy your dish of székelygulyás or sip your after-dinner glass of tokaj (though, for playing of this quality, he’d probably be expecting a very generous tip indeed).

Of course, in that Hungarian cafe the violinist would not have had the support of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. On these recordings the microphone generally favours the soloist—but then, of course, Hubay’s writing does too. As a result, the orchestra’s contribution can, especially in the concertos, be somewhat generalised (an effect somewhat exaggerated by the recording venue’s rather generous acoustics) but that did not worry me too much.

All in all, then, this is a most enjoyable disc. I’d find it difficult to choose on artistic grounds between it and Hagai Shaham’s Hyperion account, but the price band certainly counts in Naxos’s favour.

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, December 2009

The First Concerto of 1884 opens in fiery fashion. Certainly Carl Flesch was right to cite Vieuxtemps as an influence, but it’s nevertheless a broadly cosmopolitan opus, with long, rich Romantic lines. The gauzy textures of the slow movement underpinned by harp, have a chaste sweetness that invites light bowing and plangent phraseology…Hanslip…offer[s] rich things here…It’s the kind of thing that might have been ‘extracted’ to provide rich nourishment as an encore or recital. The finale has a broadly Hungarian gait, with a sweet lied encased in its B section.

The companion concerto—there are four altogether so I assume that these forces will give us the other brace before too long—was written around 1900. It’s fluently written and more obviously genial than the earlier work. Again it’s the slow movement that compels the most admiration. Hubay had a rich gift for this kind of thing, and he crafts here a movement of refined elegance. Hanslip deepens and widens her vibrato correspondingly, and there’s a rapt quality to her plays that compels admiration. The finale is a rip-snorting affair, wittily done, with a pawky conversation for the violin’s upper and lower voices. It’s a fine demonstration finale with some demanding virtuosic passages toward the end…With fine recorded sound and committed performances this is an admirable entrant, and its virtues are apparent in every movement.

Uncle Dave Lewis
Music Is The Key, November 2009

What Hanslip brings to this project is youth and starry-eyed enthusiasm; her violin blazes with energy throughout this supreme test of her ability; the “Dramatique” concerto (No. 1) is just that. The shorter pieces are pulled off with gusto and aplomb. With Andrew Mogrelia and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Hanslip has…sympathetic accompaniment

The Strad, November 2009

The explosive virtuosity of these two concertos by Hungarian violinist and composer Jenő Hubay is underpinned by beautifully coloured orchestral writing. Chloë Hanslip is on sparkling form, bringing to bear a rich, full tone in the wild romanticising of the First Concerto’s opening Allegro appassionato, but pulling back at times to allow the light to shine through the texture. Glassy, sometimes almost Debussy-like orchestral meanderings support the gorgeously lyrical theme in the Andante ma non tanto, described with infinite care by Hanslip. The Allegro con brio is full of bravura from soloist and orchestra—passion balanced with elegance of gesture.

Hanslip clearly delights in the acrobatics of the more familiar Scènes de la Csárda

John Warrack
Gramophone, November 2009

Eugen Huber, born in Budapest in 1858, changed his name to Jenő Hubay when he was 21 in a conscious adoption of Hungarian nationalism. He did indeed do much for Hungarian music, as a violin virtuoso, as a teacher of violinists including Szigeti, and as director of the Budapest Academy from 1919, though by then the late-Romantic, Brahmsian attitudes he had inherited from his own teacher Joachim brought him into sharp conflict with Kodály and especially Bartók. He had also spent a fruitful period working with Vieuxtemps in Brussels.

Not surprisingly, then, his music is essentially Brahmsian with plenty of French virtuosity stirred in, plus a liberal sprinkling of paprika. The first of his four violin concertos, written in 1884, was dedicated to Joachim, and immediately declares its hand as a “concerto dramatique” with its flamboyant opening statement. However, it is really in the slow movements of his concertos, in particular the Adagio of the First, that a distinctive melodic talent is revealed, together with a fine ear for the most luscious orchestral sonorities that can enhance a lyrical violin line. Chloë Hanslip’s generous sweetness of tone is well displayed here, with good support from the orchestra. She is also more than a match for all the virtuoso fireworks that Hubay throws at his soloist in the vigorous fiddling of the finales and in two of the once very popular Scènes de la Csárda. These have fallen out of favour now, but many violinists of the older generation have recorded them, including Hubay himself (in 1928 - by when he would have been past his best), who recorded the fifth, characteristically entitled Waves of Balaton.

Uncle Dave Lewis, November 2009

With the assistance of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Mogrelia, British violinist Chloë Hanslip performs a program of works by Jenő Hubay. She encompasses the technical demands of Hubay’s music so naturally that the listener may at first be unaware of their existence. And she invests it all with a lovely singing tone that is just what the composer requires. Having previously distinguished herself with Naxos recordings championing two other “forgotten” composers, Godard [8.570554] and Bazzini [8.570800], she approaches Hubay’s Violin Concertos No. 1, subtitled “Concerto dramatique,” and 2 with the requisite style and elegance needed to bring them to life.

Hubay (18581937), a Budapest native of German extraction changed his birth name of Eugen Huber in the interest of Hungarian nationalism, even as he adopted the gypsy style that gave his music its characteristic flair. A student of Joseph Joachim, friend of Liszt, and colleague of Henri Vieuxtemps, Hubay was squarely in the tradition of the virtuoso composer. Though his life was roughly divided between the 19th and 20th centuries, there is no doubt where his loyalty lay. He was a romantic in the best sense of the word, and never made any concession to the modern age.

In Concerto No. 1, after a rather noisy orchestral introduction, we are immersed in Hubay’s distinctive ethos right from the entrance of the violin, calming the waters and soothing the listener’s sensibilities as it weaves its spell. Entering on a high E and with a cadenza-like passage (life is short, so play your cadenzas first), the violin alternates vigorous passagework with dolce and dolcissimo sections, which Hanslip takes as softly and expressively as the traffic allows. In the Adagio movements, she cultivates a high, singing tone as slender as possible without becoming brittle, like a fine glass figurine blown to airy thinness. An energetic finale, marked Allegro con brio and involving some interesting harmonics and requiring of the soloist doublestopping within the line, brings matters to a satisfying conclusion.

Concerto No. 2 begins with an orchestral march that is then taken up by the violin, followed by a dolce theme (and Hubay is one composer who really means it when he uses that adjective) and a more passionate development. The middle movement, Larghetto, is another exercise in delicate lyricism which Hanslip pulls off nicely. The finale, with a highly articulated rondo theme in triplets, allows the violinist more opportunity for play.

Included in the program are two Scenes de la Csárda (Scenes from a Village Inn), Nos. 3 & 4, both steeped in the Hungarian national dance, the Csárdás (pronounced char’ dash). Subtitled “The Maros flows peacefully” and “Beautiful Kati,” they reveal Hubay in his most endearing vein.

Carl Rosman
International Record Review, November 2009

Chloe Hanslip clearly has the technical measure of these works and seems completely at home in the sometimes demanding writing.

Malcolm Hayes
Classic FM, November 2009

The music of both concertos is always engaging. So is Hanslip’s playing, which is as well, since Hubay doesn’t let her stop much—a challenge she meets with ceaseless energy, supported by lively orchestral accompaniment.

Julian Haylock
BBC Music Magazine, November 2009

Hanslip’s radiant artistry and phrasal sensitivity is highly seductive…such is her mastery of line, deeply-felt sincerity and glorious tonal opulence that she could easily be mistaken for Itzhak Perlman at his mid-1970s peak…devoted support from Andrew Mogrelia and the Bournemouth SO and well-balanced engineering rounds out a splendid release.

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, October 2009

If you love the Violin Concerto, especially from the likes of Vieuxtemps, Bruch, Mendelssohn, etc…then your ship has come in. Jenő Hubay was a Hungarian composer and violinist who lived from 1858 to 1937. His music is a combination of multiple 19th century styles and ideals, deeply rooted in romanticism. His circle of friends included Liszt, Joachim, and Vieuxtemps, the who’s who of virtuosity at the height of its powers. Therefore his music is an ideal combination of great flowing melodies and intricate technical demands.

The young violinist Chloë Hanslip is, as I’ve mentioned before in other reviews, a delight to listen to. Her playing always has a singing tone and a beautiful sound, and she blends technique and art seamlessly. The orchestral support given here by conductor Andrew Mogrelia is first class and adds rich colors to the music at hand. One of the highlights of the Naxos new releases for the fall of 2009.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2009

Described as “the most charismatic violinist the UK has produced in recent years”, this disc would show Chloe Hanslip on the way to being the greatest it has ever produced. Still only 21, her virtuosity is immense even in an age of virtuosos, and the depth of musicianship she brings to these two long-forgotten concertos is striking. The booklet does not credit the violin she is playing, but she draws from it the most honeyed tone, silvery brilliance and pianissimos of feather-like delicacy. Her intonation is very good, and she throws off the fireworks with an ease that belies their difficulty. By the time he was Hanslip’s age, Jenő Hubay was himself a young virtuoso of the violin, and had travelled much of Europe, leaving his native Hungary to settle in Paris as a central point for his operations. He took to teaching, first in Brussels and later in Budapest, where he was largely responsible for founding the Hungarian style of playing. He married into aristocracy, and spent much of his later years as a composer, though his style, based on the romantic era, was outdated before he died in 1937. He was only twenty-six when he composed the first concerto, Concerto dramatique in 1884, and it was to be a further sixteen years before the second was complete. Composed in the familiar slow movement surrounded by high impact allegros, they share the same mixture of creamy smoothness and fiery brilliance. Had he been born a generation later he would have made a fortune in Hollywood. Two Csardas, including his best known work, Hejre Kati, complete the disc with a further display of Hanslip’s agility. The Bournemouth Symphony is in scintillating form, and Andrew Mogrelia conducts. Added reverberation but superb sound.

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