Edouard Lalo's music is rarely played now, so this album is a welcome addition to his discography. The main works are the Concerto Russe for violin and orchestra of 1879 and the Piano Concerto of 1888. The neglect of the latter is understandable, if regrettable: it's a dark, atypically austere piece, with densely interwoven solo and orchestral lines that leave the pianist no space for genuine display. The Concerto Russe was written, as were many of Lalo's violin works, for the Spanish virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, though he never played it. Melancholy in tone, it draws its thematic material from Rimsky-Korsakov's 1877 collection of Russian folk songs and is a difficult work. Jean-Jacques Kantorow tackles it with finesse. Pierre-Alain Volondat is the heavyweight soloist in the Piano Concerto, Kees Bakels the energetic conductor. Three short violin works form the fillers: the Fantaisie-ballet – reworking material form Lalo's own Namouna (1881) and exquisitely played by Kantorow – is by far the best.
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