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Editor's Choice

Best of the Month
for October 2011
 
 

 

Lucie Svehlova - The Lark Ascending
Classical and Film Music Violin Romances

Total Playing Time - 77:44

Produced by James Fitzpatrick for Tadlow Music.

Lucie Svehlova, solo violin. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine (Nos. 3,7,9,10), Miriam Nemcova (No. 1), James Fitzpatrick (Nos. 2,4,5,6,8) and David Arnold (No. 11).

Tadlow Music CD 015

Rating: ****

CD Tracks:

1. THE LARK ASCENDING - Ralph Vaughan Williams (17:19)
2. THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE - "Romance" -
Andre Previn (4:19)
3. THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES - "Gabrielle" -
Miklos Rozsa (5:18)
4. SCHINDLER'S LIST - "Main Theme" - John Williams (4:16)
5. SCHINDLER'S LIST - "Jewish Town" - John Williams (4:16)
6. SCHINDLER'S LIST - "Remembrances" - John Williams (5:44)
7. RENACUAJO - Nic Raine (5:53)
8. THE FIXER - "Main Title/ Finale" - Maurice Jarre (7:11)
9. LADIES IN LAVENDER - "Main Theme" - Nigel Hess (4:18)
10. EL CID - "The Barn: Love Theme" - Miklos Rozsa (5:06)
11. GREENSLEEVES RHAPSODY FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA - World Premiere Recording - Paul Hart (14:07)

This is a departure from the usual soundtrack CDs. It is actually a compilation of classical and film themes performed by the brilliant Czech violinist, Lucie Svehlova. This is still relevant to review here since eight of the eleven tracks are from film scores.

All of the film themes are beautifully performed by Svehlova. Since she has been concertmistress of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, she has ample experience in playing classic film themes by the composers represented here: Andre Previn, Miklos Rozsa, John Williams, Maurice Jarre, and Nigel Hess. A few of the film themes are also available on complete Tadlow soundtrack CD albums, including THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and EL CID -- both named Best of the Month.

Though some of these selections have been recorded many times already, such as the three themes from SCHINDLER'S LIST and the serene opening LARK ASCENDING piece by R.V. Williams, a favorite among many classical listeners. But Svehlova does them all justice with her sensitive playing.

The other classical pieces are also worth hearing, including two new ones:
Nic Raine's Spanish-flavored delight, RENACUAJO, meaning "a tadpole"that turns into a lively frog by the end of it. The other is the lengthy GREENSLEEVES RHAPSODY which quotes the popular English tune from Shaespeare's time while it challenges the ability of the solo violinist. Svehlova is certainly up to it and brings this major violin rhapsody into the light with admirable style and confidence.

Among the film themes I especially enjoyed were the lovely "Gabrielle" from THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, the heartbreaking "Remembrances" from SCHINDLER'S LIST, the gorgeous "Main Theme" from LADIES IN LAVENDER, and the memorable "Love Theme" from EL CID.

The CD booklet has helpful notes by Frank DeWald and the artwork is tasteful and appropriate for this superlative recording.

With all the loud and lowbrow music out there today, this CD is a pleasure to listen to and spend a relaxing hour or so savoring the beautiful violin playing of Lucie Svehlova and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of four different conductors. The results are flawless.

This is a rare gem of a recording.

Highest recommendation.

-- Roger Hall, 30 October 2011

 

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