Thomas Gould

Live In Riga

(Edition Classics)

However many versions of Beethoven's Violin Concerto you possess, squeeze them along to accommodate another, a wonderful account of the work from violinist Thomas Gould, recorded live in Latvia with the Riga Sinfonietta. And it really is thought-provoking and revealing. Gould, associate leader of the Britten Sinfonietta and leader of the Aurora Orchestra, has taken an unforced, unhurried and completely non-rhetorical view of the piece. In his hands the concerto is spacious and supple. It retains its nobility, meat and muscle, but is shaped by Gould's subtle and seductively expressive lyricism; and for him the concerto sings. There's also a marvellous discretion to the Riga Sinfonietta's playing. The resultant intimacy in the performance is a wonder - late-night Beethoven, if ever there was such a species - and there's a fantastic first movement cadenza, by Beethoven himself, that you might not know (I will absolutely not spoil that surprise for any potential listener). The Lark Ascending is a lovely coupler on this album gem.

Michael Tumelty