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ALLA BREVE

March 15, 1987|ALLAN ULRICH

BARBER: VIOLIN CONCERTO. MENOTTI: VIOLIN CONCERTO. Ruggiero Ricci, violin; Pacific Symphony conducted by Keith Clark. Varese Sarabande VCD-47239 (compact disc). In this savvy and much-needed coupling of two affable, mid-century, neo-Romantic concertos, Barber's 1940 opus dominates; the composer treads the line between effusion and gush with remarkable skill. The Menotti work revels in a genuinely lyric gift, worlds ap1634890784operas. Ricci's empathy for the material cannot compensate for the astringent, not quite centered tone and the excessive portamento of the execution. An indiscreet timpanist and lackluster winds mitigate the Pacific Symphony's contribution, although Clark proceeds through the material with much urgency and not a trace of condescension. Excellent sonics.

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