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Prokofiev Violin Concerto - International Record Review


04 July 2005
International Record Review
Carl Rosman

There is plenty of good news here. Clean, crisp playing; fresh, airy sonorities; straightforward, untroubled interpretations. This is a small band in orchestral terms (strings 8.6.4.4.2), with all its members audibly pulling their weight: the standard of ensemble playing is excellent throughout, with the perilously exposed violin lines of the symphany's slow movement splendidly done.

I have never heard the Classical Symphony quite like this before. The textures are as impeccably realized as in any other version I know and the recording deserves to be heard just for that. In the Concerto Joseph Swensen both conducts and plays the solo line. Again, this is a feat in itself, and the notes themselves are excellently played. The Five Melodies succeed much better. Swenson finally allows himself to merge into the textures of the accompanying strings. The result is often quite delightful, especially when (as at the opening of the second movement) the solo line plays off against soloists from the orchestral sections. This is worth investigating.


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