"...marin alsop’s cycle has been top-notch since its first instalment in 2002. She unveils the dramatic energy of Serenade, perhaps his most finely crafted concert work... the houmour and intelligence of Divertimento elevates light music to the sublime." ****
Phillip Clark - Classic Fm magazine - January 2006
"The Serenade for solo violin and strings is one of the deepest, most ambitious works that Bernstein ever wrote, which makes it a pity that he gave this half-hour work the title ‘Serenade’, suggesting lightness, rather than calling it a full violin concerto. Philippe Quint gives a thoughtful, refined reading of a work inspired by the idea of mirroring Plato’s Symposium. He is well supported by Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth orchestra. Facsimile is a ballet score on the theme of post-war life…is most effective in the fast music, which distantly echoes West Side Story. The Divertimento, written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is an occasional piece that has its moments of fun…Excellent sound." ***
The Penguin Guide - January 2009
"...warmly recommended ..."
David Gutman - Gramophone magazine - December 2005
RD - ClassicalCDReview.com - February 2006
"...The playing here is superb throughout, from Philip Quint’s marvellous solo violin to the farting contrabassoon in the Divertimento. Marin Alsop’s interpretations are straightforward and eloquent, allowing Bernstein’s voice to speak clearly and convincingly. I defy anyone to find themselves sorry they bought this CD ..."
Dominy Clements - MusicWeb-International.com - February 2006
"Bernstein’s Serenade for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion deserves to be better known, and warrants a place among the more popular 20th-century violin concertos in concert programmes. As its title suggests, it is less a virtuoso vehicle than some, though its more lyrical demeanour provides challenges of its own. These Philippe Quint sails through, with playing full of firm tone and shapeliness. It is true that this meditation on love, inspired by Plato, has its moments of typical Bernstein sentimentality, but there is also plenty of muscle in its rhythms and orchestral writing, and Marin Alsop’s direction is firm yet pliant. The two couplings are no less enjoyable: Bernstein’s “choreographic essay” Facsimile, a reflective exploration of human relationships; and the Divertimento he wrote, towards the end of his life, as an often riotous celebration of the Boston Symphony’s centenary. Again, Alsop’s hand is much in evidence, drawing well-rounded playing from her Bournemouth orchestra – playing that encompasses characterful solo cameos as successfully as the controlled rowdiness of the Bernstein’s exuberance in full cry, nowhere more so than in the Divertimento’s final march."
Matthew Rye - The Daily Telegraph (Australia) - January 2006
5 Diapsons awarded
"Still not well known in France yet, (Russian born) Philippe Quint enlightens the Serenade with spontaneous and nimble expression and with a grand precise rhythm. Each movement,remarkably played and offers a wide variety of colors. As his name doesn’t show it (first name coming for the admiration of the Kings of France by his mother, last name originates in Italy) this student of Andrei Korsakov became US citizen in 1991. He had already recorded a violin concerto by William Schuman with Jose Serebrier and Bournemouth Symphony and the other one with Lukas Foss with the composer at the piano. This recording of the Serenade confirms the interest that young violinist has in this chef d’oeuvre. Having just put aside the recent Naxos issue of Kaddish [review] I was enthusiastic about discovering more of Bernstein’s music, which, short of the ‘Prelude, Fugue and Riffs’ which I’ve known since being in nappies, I was disturbed to find I knew hardly at all. As one might expect, this is somewhat lighter material than Bernstein’s religious music, but in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop’s capable hands it certainly doesn’t lack in heft."
Remy Louis - Diapason - January 2006
"...These are smart, sharply realized, well-recorded performances."
Phillip Scott - Fanfare - December 2005
"This splendid tribute to the diverse genius of Leonard Bernstein. His serenade, composed in 1954, drew inspiration from Plato’s Symposium and colorfully mimics the dialogue’s characters and their contrasting speeches in honour of love. Philippe Quint is an enchanting soloist: his ability to conjure up playful banter, wistfulness and bravado reveals a glorious, appetizing range of colours and moods. Both the mysteriously lyrical central slow passage (for Aristophanes) and quicksilver ensuing Scherzo are beautifully managed, with double-stopped harmonics lending added piquancy, while Marin Alsop produces brilliantly fresh and alive playing from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s strings.There are beguiling touches for solo violins, too, midway through Facsimile, in which perky, rhythmic dance element akin to Copland later surfaces. The strings’ playing in the five-in-a-bar Waltz of the Divertimento is pure enchantment; so is a clip-clopping Turkey Trot and the punchy parody of the finale. All of this is beautifully captured by Naxos’s recording."
Roderic Dunnett - The Strad - January 2006
"THE MUSIC: As loved as Leonard Bernstein’s theater music is, his concert pieces haven’t caught on quite as much. Perhaps the most popular is the Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, loosely – very loosely – inspired by Plato’s Symposium. Essentially it’s a violin concerto in the tuneful American tradition of Samuel Barber, and none the worse for that. The ballet Facsimile sometimes sounds like outtakes from West Side Story, and the late Divertimento is just good, clean fun.
THE PERFORMANCES: Marin Alsop and her Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra have become reliable purveyors of the American repertoire, and they don’t disappoint here. With an American at the helm, even British players can swing. Violinist Philippe Quint makes the most of the Serenade’s ethereal violin solos.
BOTTOM LINE: Good tunes, infectious rhythms. What’s not to love?"
Lawson Taitte - The Dallas Morning News - December 2005
"Would Leonard Bernstein’s 1954 Serenade after Plato’s Symposium for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion be played more often if it was called simply " Violin Concerto"? Probably; its neglect in concert halls, British ones at least, is certainly nothing to do with its quality. And it’s done full justice by the formidable techinque and shapely phrasing of the Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint, with outstanding support from violinist-turned-conductor Marin Alsop and her ever-improving Bournemouth Symphony. Their performance stands up to most of their challenging competition on the disc...Altogether, then, a REAL WINNER."
Anthony Burton - BBC Music Magazine - December 2005
"No reservations . . . about Alsop’s Bernstein disc for Naxos, recorded with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (she has been its principal conductor since 2002). It’s a grabber from the first notes. Everything clicks brilliantly in the Serenade. Philippe Quint is the sterling violin soloist; the ensemble sounds taut and fully engaged; Alsop gets right to the heart of the ingenious music, which deserves to be as well known to American audiences as any European violin concerto.The conductor illuminates the multiple layers of Bernstein’s intense, haunting ballet Facsimile and revels in the prismatic coloring and wit of his late-career Divertimento. Hot stuff."
Tim Smith - The Baltimore Sun - November 2005
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