Arabella Steinbacher – Dvořák & Szymanowski

0 of 5 stars

Violin Concerto No.1, Op.35
Romance in F minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op.11
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.53

Arabella Steinbacher (violin)

Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin
Marek Janowski

Recorded May 2009 in Haus des Rundfunks, Berlin

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: November 2009
PTC 5186 353
Duration: 72 minutes



An intriguing coupling of Slavic violin concertos finds Marek Janowski and the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin conjuring a wealth of colours and inflections from Szymanowski’s exotic orchestration. What a marvellous violinist Arabella Steinbacher is! Her instrument soars potently and her lyrical playing seduces. She can be as spiky as required, as edgy, as dug-in, but the timbre of the violin remains pure if intoxicating. The performance of this kaleidoscopic, heated and volatile piece is remarkably alive, the recording beautifully balanced with no-end of fastidiously crafted detail revealed without spotlighting; an enthralling performance of power, passion and enticing subtlety.

The Szymanowski concerto is placed and, following it, the lovely Romance of Dvořák may seem rather conventional, but its gorgeous and heartfelt melodies offer a different sort of allurement and certainly when played with this degree of intensity and refinement. And his (underrated) Violin Concerto similarly benefits from a fiery and loving approach, with plenty of high spirits in the finale (the tempo ideally poised, the slower central section beautifully integrated), conductor, orchestra and soloist working as one – such teamwork reflected in the recorded sound – and leaving in no doubt that Arabella Steinbacher is a violinist of wonderful craft and a musician who communicates without tricks.

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