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Dvorak Violin Concerto - ClassicsToday.com


01 November 2005
ClassicsToday.com
4½ Stars

Joseph Swensen is an extremely intelligent performer, and he's made some outstanding recordings for Linn both as violinist and conductor, most notably his Brahms and Prokofiev recitals. The Violin Concerto opens very well, with snappy rhythms and seductive phrasing from Swensen, and he continues with as poetic an account of the central Adagio as we could ask. As with Queyras' recording of the Cello Concerto for Harmonia Mundi, the presence of a crack chamber orchestra permits a welcome lightness of texture and emphasis on the beautiful woodwind writing. It's worth remembering that orchestras in Dvorák's day often were this size, and the resulting interplay between soloist and ensemble has great naturalness. Swensen deserves credit for personalizing the music in a way that's different but never disrespectful, and he does get excellent results from the orchestra. Both the Nocturne and the Waltz Op. 54 No. 1 come off splendidly, and as usual Linn's sonics are superb whether in stereo or multi-channel formats. In sum, there's a great deal here to enjoy.
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