Hoffer: Violin Concerto

Album review
Hoffer: Violin Concerto


Violin Concerto

Label: Artek
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

Bernard Hoffer’s 2012 Violin Concerto begins with the unaccompanied violin announcing the work’s germinal motive: repeated staccato notes followed by a longer-held chord. Soon the soloist and his orchestral partners are tossing it back and forth in spirited interplay until, four minutes in, comes a big surprise: a brief but instantly recognizable phrase from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony! Suddenly we realize that although Hoffer’s concerto is the most un-Beethovenian music imaginable, filled with color, optimism, and geniality, it uses almost the same primal motive from which Beethoven built his taut, hard-driven masterpiece. Each time the motive reappears, as the concerto wends its way through songful reflection or high- spirited exuberance, it’s like meeting an old friend brimming over with good stories and merry companionship. Hoffer’s pristine, transparent scoring is another de- light. The violin vaults acrobatically over sharply-articulated brass chords, or muses above radiant harp arpeggios; distant horn fanfares reach out over Brittenesque string tremolos. That a man of 78 could write music so fresh, endearing, and salubrious seems a miracle. No wonder the performers respond to it with so much enthusiasm. Elmar Oliveira’s playing is richly sonorous, Dublin’s RTE orchestra superlative, and Artek’s sonics crisply detailed yet open, airy, and expansive. 

More Info

  • composer, Hoffer
  • primary artist, Oliviera
  • primary artist, RTE Symphony
  • conductor, Pittman
  • CD

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