The work was dedicated to the great violinist Leopold Auer, whom Taneyev had known for over thirty years. Its conception represents a fusion of several different traditions - the idea of an updated baroque suite and baroque dance, the high romanticism of Schumann, and Taneyev's mentor Tchaikovsky. But the Suite de concert is also a formidable display piece, designed to show off the technique of a violinist of the highest calibre, evident from the very opening where the soloist enters immediately with a brilliant cadenza-like passage of scales, arpeggios and trills, establishing a level of Paganini-like virtuosity from which the music seldom declines.
This monumental work for the violin is here coupled with the Fantasy on Russian Themes by Rimsky-Korsakov, his only substantial work for violin and orchestra.
This unusual coupling of concertante works by two great friends neatly symbolises the era of the last decades of the nineteenth century in Russia. With their great conservatories, the cities of Moscow and St Petersburg dominated Russian music, but they were divided in influence. Rimsky-Korsakov, the youngest of the ‘Mighty Five', was a professor of composition in St Petersburg, while Taneyev, the protégé of Tchaikovsky, taught at the Moscow Conservatory. The two works give evidence of the two composers' contrasted attitude to the past and are sure to garner interest from all Russian music enthusiasts, especially when performed, as here, by musicians of such a high pedigree.
'...This excellent disc is rounded out with the lyrical 'Fantasy on Russian Themes' by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Lovers of red-blooded violin music, rejoice.' The Toronto Star
'The sound is immediate and full, Järvi's Glasgow musicians respond alertly to his direction, and Calum MacDonald supplies a first-rate booklet essay.'
International Record Review
'Rimsky-Korsakov's folk style Fantasy is pleasurable, while Taneyev's Suite is a violin concerto in all but name. Fine strong performances.'
Classic FM Magazine
'Lydia Mordkovitch plays throughout with a winning sincerity and burning sense of commitment that makes the best possible case for music that in the wrong hands can easily outstay its welcome. The real discovery here, however, is Taneyev's 47-minute concert suite which may lack Rimsky's heightened instincts for sonority and timbre, yet sounds far more comfortable in its virtuoso skin. Taneyev's Saint-Saëns-like exquisite skill and professionalism is well to the fore, especially when soaring aloft in cantabile overdrive and Mordkovitch responds with playing of melting lyrical intensity and tonal opulence.'
BBC Music Magazine
Editor's Choice: 'Mordkovitch has mellowed. She has refined her intonation, curbed her edgy dynamism. She is seeking and finding more tenderness. The heat of the moment, though, is still there and hse despatches Rimsky's not inconsiderable pyrotechnics, his double- and triple-stopped passagework, with fiery determination.' Gramophone
'This is a disc of bravura and allure well worth exploring.'