Archive for the Violin Category

Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides overture; Violin Concertos | Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment | Alina Ibragimova, violin

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral, Violin with tags , , , , , on December 30, 2012 by orinococds
Mendelssohn Violin concertos |

Mendelssohn Violin concertos; Hebrides | Hyperion | NZ$33

BBC Review Graham Rogers 2012-10-29

Ibragimova’s svelte, unforced violin tone is just right.

Felix Mendelssohn was, famously, one of the most extraordinarily precocious composing talents the world has ever seen. Presented in this new Hyperion release, alongside his well-loved mature Violin Concerto in E minor, is the earlier D minor concerto, written when he was just 13.

The soloist is young Russian star Alina Ibragimova, 2007 graduate of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme, partnered by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (on period-instruments) under Vladimir Jurowski.

Ibragimova adopts a historically-informed style on her 1775 Anselmo Bellosio violin, the sound lighter than we are used to hearing in Mendelssohn’s mid-19th century E minor masterpiece. But her svelte, unforced tone is just right in this context – and, with sparing use of vibrato, she conjures some beguilingly sweet tones. In the brooding opening movement she is marvellously fleet-footed, never underpowered.

Clear orchestral textures and crisp articulation heighten the intensity of the romantic sweep. The first movement brims with fervent passion – Jurowski driving forward excitingly, but also allowing space for reflection. Refreshingly, Ibragimova takes the sumptuous Andante at a genuine, gently flowing, “walking pace”, her violin singing eloquently and tenderly, followed by a daringly fast finale that she’s never in any danger of not pulling off.

Her absolute unanimity with the woodwind, which joins her in the scampering main theme, is breathtaking, and her occasional discrete use of portamento feels completely apt. This is a delightful, compelling performance from beginning to end, the equal of any in the catalogue.

The early D minor concerto, scored for string orchestra, is less distinctively Mendelssohnian, displaying, unsurprisingly, the juvenile composer’s classical heritage. But it is also forward-looking – there are shades of Weber in the cloak-and-dagger stalking motif that opens the first movement.

An attractive work in its own right, Ibragimova approaches the concerto with no less commitment than the E minor, and the result is a rewarding experience. With rhythmically taught OAE strings, the folk-like dancing finale is an exhilarating ride.

Sandwiched between the two concertos is an atmospheric account of the famous Hebrides overture, Jurowski tangibly evoking romantic Highland mists and an adventurous spirit with pungent woodwind, churning cellos and majestic brass.


Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas – Rachel Podger and Jane Rodgers

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental, Violin with tags , , , , on December 29, 2012 by orinococds
Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas | Channel Classics | NZ $33

Mozart and Haydn Duo Sonatas | Channel Classics | NZ $33

BBC Review  Graham Rogers 2012-01-25 (BBC Radio 3 website:
A warm ambience pervades this highly recommended album.

Following her excellent series of Mozart’s sonatas for violin and piano for Channel Classics, expert period-instrument violinist Rachel Podger now turns to the lesser-known duo sonatas for violin and viola. The two sonatas’ relative unfamiliarity can mainly be put down to rarity of opportunity of performance; for musical invention and sunny appeal they rival many of Mozart’s best chamber works. Podger and her violist partner Jane Rogers say they have long been favourite pieces of theirs (not least because the sonatas always ensured them double takings when busking as teenagers!) and their enthusiasm is borne out by these lively and committed performances.

Written in 1783, after Mozart had been settled in Vienna for a couple of years, the sonatas were actually the product of a return visit to his native Salzburg. His friend and fellow composer Michael Haydn (younger brother of Joseph) was still employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg, for whom he was struggling to complete a commission for six violin and viola duos. Haydn had finished four sonatas; Mozart stepped in to complete the set with two more.

Haydn’s sonatas are attractive pieces that are certainly worth hearing, but it is no great shame that Podger and Rogers include only two of them on this album: his affable but classically conformational style pales beside the extrovert originality of Mozart’s contributions. Building on the masterfully engineered relationship between solo violin and viola in his Sinfonia concertante K.364, Mozart revels in the operatic opportunities offered by – as Podger and Rogers put it, with only slightly fanciful exaggeration – “soprano diva” and “heroic tenor”. Anyone imagining that the works might lack depth, without piano or cello accompaniment, need only listen for a few minutes to be convinced by the richness and extraordinary variety of Mozart’s writing – especially in such vibrant and beguiling performances.

The splendid recording has a warm ambience without compromising clarity – but, listening on headphones at least, there is a disturbing amount of traffic noise from outside All Saints Church, East Finchley. This is a pity but, once adjusted to, doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise delightful and highly recommended album.

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 | Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op 45 | Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse | Geneviève Laurenceau (violin)

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral, Violin with tags , , , on December 23, 2012 by orinococds

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 | Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op 45 | Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Tugan Sokhiev cond.Geneviève Laurenceau (violin) | Naive V5256 | $NZ33

Following two highly praised recordings of Russian orchestral music (V5068 and V5073), this is the third recording by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Tugan Sokhiev for Naïve. The CD includes two more great Russian masterpieces, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto. The latter features the orchestra’s new leader, the talented soloist Geneviève Laurenceau.

Tugan Sokhiev became music director of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse in 2008, following three years as principal guest conductor and artistic adviser. During this collaboration he has conducted many critically acclaimed concerts across Europe and Asia, and their first two discs for Naïve received remarkable reviews. Tugan Sokhiev has just been named music director designate of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and will take up his role as music director from the 2012-13 season.

Born in Strasbourg in 1977, Geneviève Laurenceau was awarded the Grand Prix of the Académie Maurice Ravel at Saint-Jean-de-Luz in September 2001, and later won the fifth ‘Violon de l’Adami’ award, She has performed as a soloist with the leading French and international orchestras under the direction of such conductors as Michel Plasson, Kees Bakels, Walter Weller and Tugan Sokhiev.

Both Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff left Russia following the Revolution of 1917, and both made careers abroad as composer-pianists. However, while Rachmaninoff resolved never to return to Russia so long as it was under Soviet rule, Prokofiev took a more pragmatic approach and, though cautious in his dealings with Soviet authorities, remained on good terms with the Soviet authorities.

“Laurenceau is a seductive envoy of Prokofiev’s opening gambit, drawing the listener in with a poetic and rich-sounding introduction; furthermore she is as technically athletic and tonally acerbic as is required later on…She not only plays marvellously and fantastically but has a distinct and compelling view of the concerto, relishing its contrasts of mood and also its beauty” International Record Review, March 2011

“[Laurenceau] has the measure of the amalgam that goes to make up Prokofiev’s mid-1930s style…Crucial to the overall effectiveness of the performance is Tugan Sokhiev’s sharp-eared conducting of the Toulouse Capitole Orchestra, in which colour is deftly and discerningly applied, impetus strong and the shifts in the music’s temperament seamlessly executed.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2011

“Laurenceau is commanding, ardent, colourful and intonation perfect. She makes some of the passages…sound like they’ve never done before; and the final begins with splendid swagger…The Toulouse Capitole Orchestra has its virtues, not least those bright, caressing woodwind who launch the central reverie of Rachmaninov’s first symphonic dance.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ***

Vivaldi: Concerti per violino V | Dmitry Sinkovsky | Il Pomo d’Oro

Posted in Concerto, Violin with tags , , , , on December 18, 2012 by orinococds
Vivaldi: violin concertos Vol V  'Per Pisendal' |

Vivaldi: violin concertos Vol V ‘Per Pisendal’ | Dmitry Sinkovsky | Il Pomo d’Oro | OP30538 | $NZ 33 | 1 cd, 77min

This will be the 49th title in the Vivaldi Edition and the 5th volume, out of approximately 12, of the series dedicated to the violin concertos whose manuscripts are held in the National Library of Turin
All the concertos selected here are linked to German violinist Johann Georg Pisendel, member of the Dresden orchestra, that spent a long time in Venice in 1716-1717, beside the Electoral Prince of Saxony Friedrich August. Vivaldi and Pisendel became very close friends and the Prete Rosso composed several works for Pisendel. Moreover, Pisendel copied and performed afterwards in Germany several concertos of Vivaldi
This series of 7 concertos is an overview of the complete art of Vivaldi as a composer and violinist: large scale of music, invention, expression, energy, power of evocation, considerable virtuosity
Dmitry Sinkowsky is a fast rising baroque violinist and conductor. He is currently the conductor of the Italian leading baroque orchestra Il Complesso Barocco in Joyce di Donato’s worldwide ‘Drama Queen’ tour. In every concert of this tour, he performs Vivaldi’s violin concerto RV 242, featuring in this new recording.

The violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky gyrated like a rock guitarist during his gorgeous rendition of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D minor for Violin, Strings and Continuo (RV 242), his virtuosity seeming as effortless as Ms. DiDonato’s, and his soulful, aching rendition of the Adagio holding the audience spellbound.” — The New York Times – November 2012

“Of the four instrumental “fillers” they performed between DiDonato’s arias, Vivaldi’s Concerto for violin and strings RV 242 “per Pisendel” enabled Sinkovsky, who already dominated the ensemble with his dancing, bending, swooping style, to establish himself as DiDonato’s equal in virtuoso technique.” — San Francisco Classical Voice – November 2012

“After an equally virtuosic display by members of Il Complesso Barocco in Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Minor (RV 242), led with flamboyant style and dizzying technical facility by Dmitry Sinkovsky.” — Opera Obsession – November 2012

| naïve, Vivaldi Edition | OP30538 | 32-page booklet (FR, EN, GE, IT) |

JS Bach: Sonatas and Partitas Vol 1 and 2

Posted in Chamber music, Instrumental, Violin with tags , , , , on November 14, 2012 by orinococds

JS Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol. 1 | Isabelle Faust | Harmonia Mundi HMC902059 | $NZ 33

JS Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol. 2 | Isabelle Faust | Harmonia Mundi HMC902124 | $ NZ 3

“Isabelle Faust completes her recordings begun in 2010 of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. “These works are the daily bedrock of my approach to the entire violin literature,” says the Faust. Based on on a careful survey of the original manuscripts as well as a lifetime of study, these are exceptional performances.

 … here is perfect technique allied to a faultless sense of rhythm. … Faust points out in accompanying notes that a violinist can only imply the polyphany and harmony, leaving them to be mentally developed by the listener. She provides every clue for this utterly enjoyable task.

 … These are surely award-winning performances. Bach for today” – Peter Shaw, North and South magazine (NZ) 12 Nov, 2012

Previous reviews in UK press of Volume 1:

“Her serious dedication soars from her Stradivarius, a dark-toned beauty but capable of much silver light in its higher reaches…Faust’s wonderfully focused playing pulls you right inside the music, and magically makes you imagine the harmonies that Bach only implies.”The Times, 10th April 2010 ****

“Faust’s account of the music is gently voiced and eloquently inflected. Her lightly articulated bowing, which eschews anything in the nature of aggressive declamation, is a constant pleasure…a poetic player with an irresistably warm sound, a tightly controlled vibrato and an athletic technique.”BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 ****

“Isabelle Faust has made a special impression as a deep, thoughtful, unshowy player, and these qualities make her ideally suited to the great Bach solo works…her command of the big structures, especially the huge C major Fugue and D minor Chaconne, is superb.” The Observer, 27th June 2010

Bartok: Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2; Viola Concerto

Posted in Concerto, Orchestral, Violin with tags , , , , on July 31, 2012 by orinococds
album cover image

Bartok: Violin Concertos BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda, James Ehnes
CHAN 10690  $33NZ

Violin Concerto No. 1, BB 48a 20:45

Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117 36:01

Viola Concerto, Sz 120, BB 128 20:406

James Ehnes violin and viola | BBC Philharmonic | Gianandrea Noseda

Internet retailer Presto had this to say about the Bartok concertos release in 2011:
“Hailed as ‘the Jascha Heifetz of our day’ (The Globe and Mail, Canada), the violinist James Ehnes is widely considered one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music, appearing regularly with the world’s finest orchestras and conductors… Ehnes is the soloist in Bartók’s two violin concertos in which he plays the ‘Marsick’ Stradivarius of 1715, as well as in the viola concerto, performing on the ‘Rolla’ Giuseppe Guadagnini viola of 1793, on loan from the Fulton Collection.”

James Ehnes said of this disc: ‘These three concertos are among the most striking examples of Bartók’s early, middle, and late periods, each showing a very different side of one of the great musical voices of all time; they are among my very favourite pieces to perform’.

“a performance that, throughout, is ear-catchingly alert to the music’s range of tonal shading, its abrupt switches of pace and mood, its powerful bravura and its pungent lyricism…this whole disc…gives a remarkable insight into Bartók’s compositional individuality in performances of captivating artistry.” The Telegraph, 2nd September 2011 *****

“Romantic” is not the first word that comes to mind with Bartók, but there is no mistaking the romantic influences that run through these concertos…Ehnes’s sweet tone and sensitive musicianship make this an unexpectedly rewarding disc, with warm-blooded accompaniments” Financial Times, 17th September 2011 ****

“His sinewy, lean tone is perfect for the mature Bartok’s stark, rebarbative harmonic language, yet he perceives the lyrical, folkloric vein that runs through the composer’s greatest masterpieces. Ehnes makes the attractive but uncharacteristic early concerto worth hearing, but he really warms to the late lyrical manner Bartok adopted for the Viola Concerto” Sunday Times, 18th September 2011

“Chandos could not have chosen a more ideal team for this project…Here they demonstrate an instinctive understanding for the different musical characteristics of each work…While encapsulating these distinctive emotional worlds, they nonetheless maintain a tight grip over the music’s structural direction…Chandos have done soloist, conductor and orchestra proud with a warmly engineered recording that allows us to hear a wealth of inner details.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2011 *****

“I can’t think of a finer CD version of the First Concerto than this… its pared-to-the-bone textures mean that Ehnes’s soul-warming contribution comes across as especially powerful.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2011

via Bartok: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2/Viola Concerto.

Playing time: 77 min 45 sec