"he hits the character with lightness and precision"
"Thomas Albertus Irnberger combines the violin concerto with chamber music for the violin Stravinsky, and then adds a Fantasy by Rimsky Korsakov. This work on two Russian folk song themes points in the direction of the Russian nationalist school. The texts give the impression of the character, the listener’s imagination does the rest. The similarities to Scheherazade are not purely coincidental. Nor is the virtuosity.
In their selection of Stravinsky’s works, Irnberger and pianist Kaspar limit themselves to those originally written for this instrumentation. The Divertimento, for example, arranged by the composer himself from ‘The Kiss of the Fairy’, is not included.
With partially new partners, Thomas Albertus Irnberger dedicates himself to these works of Russian soul not only with convincing technical realization, but also with the Russian spirit of the music, which is clichédly often interpreted as telling of the deepest emotion and infinite vastness of the country. Irnberger and his accompanists make it clear with a hand that is as fine as it is accentuated that these composers in particular did not put it that way, despite the reference to folk music. Of course, a Suite Italienne is already from the title and then also from the music it contains to escape the Russian character and accordingly to be presented with sunshine.
Irnberger’s extraordinary musical qualities have been repeatedly reported here. In the concerto by Stravinsky, which is both violinistic and brittle at the same time, he also hits the character with lightness and precision. In the Fantasia, he is able to indulge musically without overdoing it. In general, he is to be thanked for bringing out this little-known work.
Pavel Kaspar at his side on the piano first appeared in Czech trios, together with David Geringas. In the duo with Stravinsky’s chamber music, too, he can be heard as both an expressive soloist and a sensitive accompanist for his partner.
With Doron Solomon as conductor, Irnberger has once again secured the active creative participation of a familiar partner, who here, however, conducts the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Like all orchestras named after a radio station, the ensemble acts with self-confidence in view of its broad mandate as well as with excellent musical expressiveness, so that in Stravinsky the part accompanying the solo violin over long stretches is nevertheless not suffocating, and in Rimsky Korsakov it illustrates the already rather fairytale-like mood with colorful playing."