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David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2020

Continuing Naxos’s complete cycle of Henry Vieuxtemps’ music for violin and orchestra, Reto Kuppel plays eight of the Belgium composer’s virtuoso showpieces.

Born in 1820, touring circuit around Europe in his early teenager years. As a composer he was largely self-taught, and though far from prolific, he added new scores to his portfolio almost all of his life, mostly for his own use as a performer. He did not write in the fashionable ‘tricks of the trade’ used by Paganini to excite his audiences, but the agility of the left hand was used to enthral the listener. His Russian ‘Fantasie’, based on a melody from an opera by the 19th century Russian composer, Aleksei Vestovsky, the fast tempo for the final moments intended to raise the listener’s musical temperature. Old England is a threadbare compendium of popular English tunes subjected to cross-string dexterity and a noisy march-like finale using The British Grenadiers, Rule Britannia making a brief appearance. The Duo Brillant for violin, cello and orchestra—the disc’s most extended work—has rather more worthiness, both instruments equally sharing the three movements. The finale, marked Allegretto here taken at a measured pulse. Eight years earlier, in 1853, the Andante et Rondo appeared with either piano or—as we have here—an orchestra, the opening concentrating on tonal beauty with the Rondo adding the showmanship required for the two finger-knotting encore-length pieces that conclude the disc. In previous releases I have expressed admiration for the German-born violinist, Reto Kuppel, and he is in fine form, ably supported by the Qatar Philharmonic and the German conductor, Marcus Bosch. © 2020 David’s Review Corner



Records International, June 2020

All but the Paganini homage are orchestrations of violin-and-piano originals, the highlights being the Duo brillant, Op. 39—a dramatic and expressive 14-minute mini double concerto for violin and cello, the bravura caprice Old England and the Air varié with its rich lyricism, four variations and dashing coda. © 2020 Records International



Ralph Graves
WTJU, May 2020

Especially interesting is the Duo Brilliant for violin, cello, and orchestra. Vieuxtemps wrote two cello concertos and was well aware of the instrument’s possibilities. In this 15-minute work, Viextemps challenges both soloists technically, and also musically. This piece depends on the performers not losing the thread of the melody. And neither Reto Kuppel nor cellist Kirill Bogaturev does.

This release helps me further appreciate this Belgian artist. And also the artistry of Reto Kuppel. © 2020 WTJU Read complete review





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