Notes and Editorial Reviews
Since her return to the concert circuit some five years ago, Midori has made a series of outstanding recordings for Sony, this being yet another. The taste, bravura, and sheer "class" of these performances exudes from their every musical pore, and they easily take a place among the finest versions available of both works. I just wish that major labels would learn to record artists when (as in this case) they have something to offer rather than to attempt to capitalize on the transient fame of child prodigies and immature players with little on display beyond technical facility. Midori has grown up, and it would be a thousand pities if either Sony or the musical public fails to give her the attention she deserves now that she has
shown herself worthy of it.
Both of these performances were recorded live in excellent sound, with the violin a bit to the fore but never at the expense of orchestral detail. You'd hardly know that this is the notorious Philharmonie, Berlin, so warm and clean are the sonics. The Mendelssohn is one of the most beautiful and winningly lyrical versions ever recorded, deliberate and wistful in the opening movement but never slack, subtly probing and exquisitely sensitive to dynamic shadings in the Andante. Midori's tone sports an expressive sweetness (never cloying) that she maintains throughout her entire range, at any speed. Indeed, the lively finale offers a veritable clinic in how to project a lovely sound under pressure, and Midori's willingness to interact with the orchestral winds--flutes and clarinets in particular--makes this reading utterly captivating from first note to last.
The Bruch is no less distinguished, and here we might take note of the fabulous playing of the Berlin Philharmonic under Mariss Jansons--0perfect in its poise, discipline, and ensemble cohesion. The concerto's prelude has passion aplenty, but the glowing Adagio is truly special, revealing Midori creating just the right tone of noble dignity. The unbuttoned finale again displays her ability to really dig into the instrument without ever making an ugly sound. Indeed, it's the sheer purity and roundness of her tone and her seamless legato that will make you listen afresh to music that you may think you know better than the players themselves. Yes, there are many, many recordings of these concertos, even coupled as here, but if ever a disc offered a reason to duplicate repertoire, then this one does. To hear it is to fall in love with these works all over again, and no praise can be higher than that.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1844; Germany
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