Nikolaj Znaider Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
- Released: September 27, 2005
- Label: RCA
- 1.Allegro Molto Appassonato
- 3.Allegretto Non Troppo; Allegro Molto Vivace
- 4.Allegro, Ma Non Troppo
- 6.Rondo: Allegro
A young violinist who wants to add his voice to the discography of these much-recorded popular favorites needs not only courage, but the conviction that he has something personal to say about them. Znaider's performance, recorded live, leaves no doubt that he has both. He considers the Beethoven Concerto the violinist's ultimate challenge and recording it the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. He has clearly given careful thought to its structure, style, formal and textural balance, and chosen the quintessentially romantic Mendelssohn as this recording's companion piece for utmost contrast. His Beethoven combines pristine classicism with flexibility and spontaneous expressiveness, his Mendelssohn is ardent and poetic but never sentimental. And his formidable virtuosity is entirely at the service of the music. His tone is strikingly beautiful, pure, warm, focused, invariably expressive, and he can vary its color and intensity instantly. His approach is a curious mix of simplicity and fussiness: although he observes dynamic indications meticulously, he often adds a sudden piano before a build-up. He can spin long lines, but also over-phrases and over-articulates. His tempi are judicious, but change frequently; he takes many rhythmic liberties, including long pauses. He slides a lot, but always for expression, not transportation. The orchestra supports him splendidly, but explodes in the tutti passages, so keep a finger on the volume control. --Edith Eisler
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