Ouvertüre in G, Op.3/1
Violin Concerto in C
Fantasia für Streicher
Symphony No.38 in D, K504 (Prague)
Leonidas Kavakos (violin)
Recorded on 12 August 2003 in the Mozarteum, Salzburg as part of the Salzburg Festival
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: December 2004
CD No: ORFEO C 629 041 B
Duration: 75 minutes
This CD preserves an excellent concert and extends our appreciation of Leonidas Kavakos’s musicianship beyond that of an international violinist. How much conducting he has been doing, or plans to do, I know not; but he seems a fine practitioner of the art.
The lively three-movement Stamitz sparkles with life; the playing is spirited and Kavakos gets an alert and unanimous response for this charming music. Rather different is the Henze, seven vignettes forming a fantasy based on his music for the film “Der junge Törless” (1966). The music is often gravely beautiful, looking back, very expressive, which is here soulfully rendered and, when required, with trenchant rhythmic attack that suggests the choice of music as no whim on Kavakos’s part but something he has a true feeling and a fine ear for.
In the Haydn, having produced a confident and modulated orchestral exposition, Kavakos plays not only with brilliance but also imagination, inflecting and colouring the line in a most agreeable fashion, lovingly refined in the Adagio (more an Andante here) and vital in the finale.
As for the conductorial challenge of the Prague Symphony, well, Kavakos displays a great deal of confidence in obtaining excellent playing; and he has some interesting interpretative ideas too, not least regarding dynamics, balances and highlighting detail. It’s an animated account, the flowing Andante very persuasive and, in the outer movements, there’s a progression and poise that is impressive: characterful, vivid and well balanced, the winds, brass and, not least, drums being the equal of the strings. The recorded sound is superb.