Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.82
Violin Concerto in D minor
Violin Concerto No.1 in D, Op.19
Julia Fischer (violin)
Russian National Orchestra
Recorded on 12 & 13 May 2004 in DZZ Studio 5, Moscow
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: March 2005
CD No: PENTATONE CLASSICS
Duration: 79 minutes
Julia Fischer, born in Munich in 1983, is one of the most exciting violinists of her generation. Exciting because she is an innate musician, someone who plays music with sympathy and refinement, from somewhere within herself. In an age when show-offs take plaudits, and plaster music with effects, Fischer’s eloquent musicianship is something to be treasured.
Fischer raises this generous collection of popular Russian violin concertos to a high level: she looks into the music and searches out what is required. Not for her the application of technical devices. Thus Khachaturian’s Concerto has all the virtuosity and demonstration required; but, time and again, Fischer’s soaring lyricism and her exacting staccatos are always intrinsic to the music – she plays from the heart, and her range of tone-colour, inflexions and dynamics are perfectly attuned to the music. Here is panache, passion and sensitivity to illuminate the music. The long cadenza in the first movement is wonderfully alive and also integral to the work as a whole. Yakov Kreizberg secures a buoyant and detailed response from the Russian National Orchestra. Poise is another word that aptly describes Fischer’s playing, as the Khachaturian slow movement displays; there is something truly seductive about what she does – but it isn’t obvious, and the way she dances through the finale, without forcing the notes, is a joy.
The first of Prokofiev’s concertos opens mysteriously, and Fischer spins a long, fantastic line full of promise. Kreizberg grades the quiet orchestral dynamics admirably and ushers in some suggestive sounds. Fischer makes trills expressive and short notes abound with vitality; in the scherzo, how well Fischer keeps her tone in the violin’s highest register, and the languor of the finale is finely attuned without sagging.
The wonderful Glazunov concerto is given with appreciable intimacy and warmth; it’s a lovely piece, and whether in heartfelt slow music or the vibrant finale, there is much to be moved and impressed by in what Fischer achieves, not least her unexaggerated but burgeoning expression. Kreizberg and the RNO play their part, too; indeed, all seem convinced that the work is a masterpiece. It is. I wish a little more could have been made of the floating horn solo in the finale (2’44-2’50”), but the movement as a whole has all-important wonderment.
My first experience of Fischer was in Elgar’s Concerto – one hell of a piece to introduce yourself with! – and my colleague’s review (link below) needs no addition from me. Meanwhile, Julia Fischer is exclusive to PentaTone (the Bach Partitas and Sonatas are just announced) and one looks forward to more recordings from this exceptional artist. The CD under review is superbly recorded, not least the wholly natural balance afforded her with the orchestra; somehow, it couldn’t be any other way.