Mendelssohn Violin Concerto - The Sunday Herald

The disc brings together some of Mendelssohn's most popular music: the Hebrides Overture, third symphony, and violin concerto, in which the orchestra's principal conductor, Joseph Swensen, is the soloist.

In the concerto the benefits of combining the role of conductor and soloist are apparent early on in a performance of great charm and flexibility.

I remember noting Swensen's daring approach to tempi in a terrific performance of Schumann's fourth symphony earlier this year. Here he lets the music sweep him and the orchestra from moments of introspection to a flurry of rapid-fire notes with exhilirating agility.

Mendelssohn's concerto is known for its lyrical purity, but Swensen tempers the cloying sweetness by exploring the darker moments with shadowy, almost eerie note quality.

10 November 2002