Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is arguably Kyung-Wha Chung’s finest recording, aided and abetted by the magnificent accompaniments provided by Rudolf Kempe and the Royal Philharmonic. Bruch’s First Concerto and Scottish Fantasy are both masterpieces of spontaneous romantic expression unencumbered by the misapplied vestiges of classical sonata form. They fully deserve their historical popularity, and they have never been better played (or conducted) than they are here.
In the Concerto, Chung opens with a fluent and passionate prelude, leading to an absolutely gorgeous account of the Adagio. Sample her wonderfully thoughtful playing of the tune that Strauss later stole for his Alpine Symphony, and note how
perfectly she interacts with the orchestra while differentiating between the main theme and the cascades of passagework. The finale is as dashing and breezy as anyone could wish. This concerto seems to be in decline as a popular concert item at present; perhaps over-familiarity has produced a reaction among players and the public, but it is a noble work and this is a noble performance.
The Scottish Fantasy is, in some ways, an even greater piece. Longer and more ambitious than the concerto, it has always been a favorite item among violinists, less so the public for whom the word “fantasy” seems to suggest something slight and formally diffuse. This work is neither, and Chung gives the piece a bold and gutsy interpretation that culminates in a particularly dashing Allegro guerriero finale. Once again Kempe and the Royal Philharmonic support her every step of the way, and in both works the vintage Decca sonics are ideal. A must-have disc for all lovers of the violin repertoire.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicToday.com
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