Albums

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Violin Concertos - Released September 7, 2018 | Warner Classics

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Violin Concertos - Released June 22, 2018 | Sony Classical

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While Max Bruch's First Concerto was recorded, re-recorded and over-recorded to the nth degree, we can't say the same of Bruch's very elegant Scottish Fantasy Enter Joshua Bell, the new artistic director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, both playing the violin and heading up an ensemble to offer us both the Concerto – which he had recorded about thirty years ago with Marriner – and the Fantasy, a discographic first for him. This Fantasy, written in 1880 after the Second Concerto, was Sarasate but first performed by Joachim. The composer weaves it together from an infinitely elegant tissue of themes, and melodic impressions of Scotland, real or imagined. Joshua Bell, of Scottish descent himself, swims like a wild salmon through the clear waters of lochs and highland torrents, while the orchestra, clearly rapt, offers him a beautiful foil. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released June 8, 2018 | Claves Records

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Swiss violinist Caroline Goulding offers us a singular pairing here: the brilliant, lyrical and very fin-de-siècle-Vienna Concerto by Korngold, written in 1945 and based on themes borrowed from some pieces of film music, followed by an ever-so-delicate Fifth Concerto by Mozart, one of those miracles of the composer's youth, from when he was just 19, but already in full command of staggering powers. Consider that the whole orchestral introduction, which could easily serve as a rich opening theme, is in fact merely the accompaniment to the real theme, which is richer still, and played by the solo violin. Caroline Goulding has been building an international career since she started with the Cleveland Orchestra in 2006. Sometimes she will sit out for a few weeks of contemplative silence, and it is just one such period of silence which produced this album. Since her début, she has performed as a soloist with the orchestras of Toronto, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Milwaukee and Washington in North America, as well as with numerous European orchestras, in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Berne. Her style owes much to her teacher, Christian Tetzlaff. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released June 8, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The press is already in a spin about it: "The new Menuhin"; "a star is born"; "the enchanted bow"... Daniel Lozakovich, 17 years old, might have his head in the stars, but he has his feet firmling on the ground. He is shaping a dazzling career with stunning maturity. Born in Sweden to a family from the former USSR, he learned violin in 2007, at the age of 6. Two years later, he would play his first concerto, conducted by Vladimir Spivakov. There then followed the difficult quest to find a teacher who would "not change my musicality, but make me stronger." Daniel Lozakovich currently lives in Geneva, where he works with Eduard Wulfson, a private tutor that he met at the Verbier Festival. It was also at this festival, which showcases young talents, that the teenager met Valery Gergiev, who immediately took him under his protective and liberating wing. Signed to Deutsche Grammophon (DG), Daniel Lozakovich would soon record Beethoven's Concerto in D Major with his mentor, "a work whose structure is so clear", he said, "but whose music is so difficult". Daniel Lozakovich listened to a lot of records to perfect his playing and his musical knowledge. He learned a lot from listening to the great masters of the past, in particular Bruno Walter, who charmed him with his sense of detail, and the sound he gets from his orchestra, as well as his poetic phrasing. This preference says a lot about this very young musician, who we discover here on his first record, dedicated to Bach. Listening to the Second Partita (with its brilliantly-structured Chaconne) and the Concertos in E Major and A Minor, we are won over straight away by the solidity of his concept, the great beauty of the sonority with its long phrases and a discourse which is constantly expressive. His parents, who are not remotely musicians, would have preferred for him to be a great tennis player, but fate had other plans for this strong-willed teenager with a dazzling smile. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released April 27, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In 1994 John Adams composed his Violin Concerto, a work of breath-taking virtuosity written in an exhilarating and strongly rhythmic tone, sign that it was partly conceived for the New York City Ballet; even if the first movement is somewhat reminiscent − with its dreamlike atmosphere as well as fluid and elusive harmonies – of Berg’s Violin Concerto. It’s worth noting that the orchestra, in addition to its traditional elements, features a strong percussion section as well as two synthesisers that further add to the piece’s dreamlike and uncharted hue. That same year, violinist Leila Josefowicz (born in 1977) made her debut at Carnegie Hall in a concerto by Tchaikovsky conducted by Marriner: a big leap into what was to become an established international career. And it’s precisely for Josefowicz, small world indeed, that Adams wrote his dramatic symphony Scheherazade.2 for violin and orchestra: the bond between the soloist and the master is undeniably strong, and her interpretation couldn’t be more faithful to Adam’s original idea. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released March 9, 2018 | BIS

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The almost complete disappearance of Hjalmar Borgström’s music from the repertoire is fully explainable by reasons not related to the quality of the music, but rather concerning a mismatch between the composer and the dominating trends in Norwegian music. Like Grieg in the preceding generation, Borgström went to study in Leipzig as from 1887. However, in contrast to Grieg who returned from Germany firmly resolved to carve out an authentic, Norwegian idiom, Borgström remained in Germany for a long time, immersing himself in the aesthetics of contemporary music there. When he returned to Norway for good in 1903, he was a staunch proponent of new German symphonic music. This conviction – or rather, his lack of interest in developing a national idiom – hampered his career in Norway. Grieg himself reportedly expressed bafflement at the phenomenon of a younger Norwegian composer, so obviously gifted and well trained as a musical craftsman – but with nothing specifically ‘Norwegian’ about his music. Borgström’s Violin Concerto was first performed at the 1914 Jubilee exhibition, a celebration of the centenary of the Norwegian constitution. A cultivation of national identity in the 1800s had developed into a near frenzy around the time the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905. The cultural climate was thus very much in favour of presenting new Norwegian music, and the concerto was well received. It did not establish itself in the repertoire, however, receiving only a few performances in the following decades. The concerto is in the conventional three movements and, in keeping with its neutral title, does not have any explicit programme. Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto was composed a few decades later than Borgström’s Concerto. This work too is marked by the uneasy fit between its composer and his environment. The difficulties Shostakovich experienced at the time were quite literally a matter of life and death. The post-war years saw the official denouncement of music containing ‘formalistic distortions and anti-democratic trends alien to the Soviet people’, in the words of the infamous decree by Zhdanov from 1948. Shostakovich, Prokofiev and others – that is, almost every composer of any significance in the Soviet Union – were accused of negating the basic principles of classical music. Shostakovich’s reaction to the Zhdanov doctrine was to follow two paths simultaneously. In public, he wrote ‘light’ music and film scores, works that paid the bills and would cause no problems with the authorities. In private, he composed the music that he wanted to write, music that met his own high artistic and intellectual standards but would have no chance of being performed in public. The First Violin Concerto falls decisively into the second category. A champion of Norway’s rich musical tradition, Eldbjørg Hemsing has been performing on some of the world’s most prestigious stages since the age of 11, when she made her solo début with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Her star rose when she gave a globally televised performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo. A regular guest soloist with some of the world’s top ensembles, she is honoured to count the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony 8 Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra among her most active orchestral partners. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released October 13, 2017 | audite Musikproduktion

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Following Sergei Prokofiev’s works for violin and piano, Franziska Pietsch now presents an album featuring both Violin Concertos of the Russian composer, with whose oeuvre and idiom the artist – a former promising star of the GDR – has felt at home ever since her youth. Alongside Cristian Măcelaru and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin she presents a thrilling new recording. The two violin concertos represent two phases in, and two sides of, Prokofiev’s life and work. The first was written during an era of early successes, stylistically and temporally close to his Symphonie classique, but not premiered until he was in exile. The second mirrors the itinerant existence of his life as a musician in exile, but also his longing to return to Russia. © Audite
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Violin Concertos - Released August 25, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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After the mystical Hebrides Overture and the masterly ‘Reformation’ Symphony, Mendelssohn embarked on his second violin concerto. After a long gestation in which he polished the orchestration and meticulously revised the solo part, the work was finally premiered in Leipzig in 1845. From David to Joachim, several virtuosos honed the violin part with the composer over successive revivals, leaving posterity traces of their playing style: fingerings, bowings, performance marks. This precious heritage has been scrutinised here for previously unexploited expressive resources. Isabelle Faust, accompanied by the Freiburger Barockorchester in top form under the direction of Pablo Heras-Casado, offers us a miracle of purity and lyricism in this freshly minted interpretation that fulfills Mendelssohn’s promise of ‘a concerto to make the angels rejoice in heaven’! © harmonia mundi
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Violin Concertos - Released February 3, 2017 | LPO

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Augustin Hadelich is quite comfortable in the violin's standard repertoire, though in his recordings he has sometimes paired a well-known concerto with one that is less familiar, e.g., matching the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Concentric Paths by Thomas Adès, showing an adventurous side to his programming. However, for this 2017 release on LPO, he plays the famous Violin Concerto in D major by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, backed with a perennial concert favorite, the Symphonie espagnole of Édouard Lalo, two powerhouse Romantic works that need no introduction. These live performances, with Vasily Petrenko conducting the Tchaikovsky and Omer Meir Wellber conducting the Lalo, are unabashed showstoppers, and the response of the audience in London's Southbank Centre shows how effective these performances were. Hadelich takes a fairly relaxed approach to the barline, and his affable inflections and playing with phrasing show a seasoned virtuoso at home with the music and unafraid of where it will take him. The extraordinary sound of this recording puts Hadelich front and center, and there's no loss of orchestral details in the meticulous engineering, so every note is fully audible. While there's no shortage of recordings of the Tchaikovsky or the Lalo, this recording is worth considering for Hadelich's highly personal and personable performance, and the satisfying richness of the London Philharmonic's sound.
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Violin Concertos - Released October 28, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
"Not another complete recording of Mozart's violin concertos!", some might complain, and in absolute terms they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Except that this complete edition is signed by star violinist Isabelle Faust, accompanied by Il Giardino Armonico (who plays on instruments from Mozart’s time, including natural horns, nine-key bassoons, six-key flutes, two-key oboes), and – last but not least – the cadenzas are signed by Andreas Staier, since Mozart has left us no cadenzas for his violin concertos (unlike several piano concertos, as well as his Sinfonia concertante for violin and viola). Far from playing the star, Isabelle Faust prefers to blend in with the whole orchestra, a kind of primus inter pares attitude quite refreshing in this repertoire which, in fact, does not require so much emphasis of the part of soloist – the sound engineering and balance itself favours an overall sound rather than an opposition between solo violin and orchestra. This is a new and very original interpretation, whatever the abundant discography of these works may already be. In addition to the five concertos, Faust plays the three single movements for violin and orchestra – two Rondos and one Adagio – which are actually "spare" movements for one or the other of the concertos written on request for soloists of that time. One wonders what Mozart would have written had he had Isabelle Faust by his side! © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released November 18, 2013 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Le Choix de France Musique - Hi-Res Audio
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Violin Concertos - Released September 30, 2016 | Signum Records

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It may be that it takes non-Americans to see the continuity in American musical traditions. This release by English violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton has a unique program that will remind listeners of the antecedents to the musically accessible language of John Adams and his contemporaries. The 1949 Concerto for Violin of Roy Harris, and indeed much of this composer's music, is not often performed, and the violin concerto specifically was virtually lost after its composition (it received its premiere only in 1984). The booklet here presents a nice overview of Harris, who worked his way through the University of California by driving a dairy truck. The concerto makes an ideal pair with Adams' popular Violin Concerto. It is in a single movement with four sections, sounding in part like Copland in its evocations of fiddle tunes and of the American West, but often taking on a more economical language that shows Harris was listening to modernist composers even if he did not follow their lead. Sample his first section for an idea of how he pairs his fiddle tunes not with expansive tonal backgrounds as Copland did, but with a more restricted modal palette, and for a good representation of Waley-Cohen's lithe playing. The Adams concerto, finished in 1993, has been one of the composer's most popular works, and its exuberant melodicism ties it in a specific way to the Harris work. Might he have known Harris' concerto, obscure though it may be? Given the nature of his training, it's entirely possible, and the composer of My Father Knew Charles Ives has always been keenly aware of his place in American musical history. This fine British release makes that place all the more sure.
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Violin Concertos - Released May 6, 2016 | RCA Red Seal

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Violin Concertos - Released June 2, 2015 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released March 3, 2015 | BIS

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Violin Concertos - Released May 6, 2014 | PentaTone

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With several of her recordings of Romantic and modern violin concertos already issued on the PentaTone label, Arabella Steinbacher releases her first Classical-era album with this hybrid SACD of Mozart's Violin Concertos No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5. One may presume that she will eventually round out the series with the first two violin concertos and the Sinfonia concertante, but it's still a fine program for connoisseurs of Mozart and aficionados of Steinbacher's exquisite playing. Performing with Daniel Dodds and the Festival Strings Lucerne, she delivers all three works with bright sonorities and fluid grace, and plays with an elegance that is quite attractive. Even so, she reserves her virtuosity for the cadenzas (Wolfgang Schneiderhan's in the Violin Concerto No. 3, and Joseph Joachim's in the last two concertos), and the brilliance and warmth of her sound is well matched by the rounded tone of the orchestra, which in spite of its name includes woodwinds and horns. While the ensemble isn't a period orchestra, and Steinbacher makes no attempt to play in the historically informed manner, that's just as well, considering that the later vintage of the cadenzas would clash stylistically, and that this group of musicians obviously knew what they'd feel comfortable playing. In the end, it comes down to taste, and these are quite tasteful performances, so putting the historical debate aside, they are an enjoyable change of fare for this artist.
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Violin Concertos - Released March 3, 2014 | Avie Records

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Violin Concertos - Released March 26, 2013 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released October 4, 2011 | Naxos

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Violin Concertos - Released October 4, 2011 | Chandos

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