Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Nielsen
Nikolaj Znaider (violin)
London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lawrence Foster
CD No: EMI CDC 5 56906 2 Duration: Reviewed: March 2001
Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
If The Classical Source had a CD of the Month or some such accolade, then Nikolaj Znaiders debut CD release would be a strong candidate for it. This opening sentence needs to be expanded: The Classical Source is continually developing and EMIs claim that this CD is Znaiders recording debut should be qualified in that I understand he has previously recorded Sibeliuss concerto; I do not know the label and have no further information.
So in one sense, to the wider public, this is Znaiders debut and he couldnt have introduced himself more positively. First, he has a marvellous coupling in two of the most loveable concertos in the violinists repertoire; second, Foster and the LPO give him unstinting support; third, the recording although slightly favouring the soloist is superbly open and detailed.
Znaider well withstands the auditory spotlight on him. Hes a fabulous player, quite one of the most individual musicians to have appeared in recent years for that alone one must be grateful. Interesting shouldnt be read as controversial or calculated. That he has a superb technique may be taken for granted its what he does as a musician thats important. He thinks! He is a naturally communicative artist; one senses he is reaching out to share his music-making with listeners. Time and again in Nielsens glorious concerto in which melody and bravura, majesty and wit combine to make such endearing music one never senses Znaider wants to show-off what he can do. He establishes this at the outset with a superbly confident rendering of his opening solo. OK, he can play; what he also does is colour, inflect and shape in the most beguiling way. Ah, a musician!
What I especially like about Znaider born in 1975 in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents is his ability to invest a phrase in so much poetic meaning. Time and time again in the Nielsen he seems to find more expression more music if you will - than I can recall from other soloists. Znaider answers the wistful idea that steals in at 138 from orchestral violins in the most heartfelt way and one senses a glance between he and Foster that suggests the closest rapport. Similarly in the cadenza (track 2, 609-923) Znaider expands the musics emotional possibilities, building an expansive world of expression in which every note speaks, compels attention, and informs of his imagination and long-viewed thinking.
The evergreen Bruch is also new-minted fresh in response and, again, the product of an intelligent musician. For once, the famous Adagio is at a tempo that justifies the marking - Znaiders introduction of the wonderful tune is rapt, intense and confidential.
Little more need be said except that Znaider stands out from the crowd. He is the real thing an intelligent, communicative musician who is also a virtuoso violinist, one who brings so much imagination and interpretative range to what he does. He couldnt have been better presented or produced as he is here. Fosters on-the-button conducting and the LPOs commitment are significant factors to this outstanding release.