Albums

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Concertos - Released September 2, 2016 | PentaTone

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Until the 2016 release of this album on Pentatone, violinist Arabella Steinbacher had mostly explored heavy repertory of the 19th and 20th centuries on recordings of Strauss, Franck, Shostakovich. She shifts gears with this collection of virtuoso favorites that might easily have appeared on a concert program of a century ago, or nearly that long. It's not a program of encores, which is more common today. The works on this program are substantial and, with the exception of Massenet's famous Méditation, between nine and 15 minutes in length. The novelty here is the opening Carmen Fantasie by Franz Waxman, written for Jascha Heifetz and edited by that great violinist. Despite her disclaimer, Steinbacher takes after Heifetz stylistically with her soaring, Apollonian tone, and this work fits her well. Another highlight is an unusually light, agile performance of Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, rather quick, but always seeming under control and not rushed. Steinbacher has plenty of competition here and elsewhere, but in the main, her performances have the refined quality that her classic models achieved, even in broadly popular repertory. She picks her material well, avoiding her polar opposite, Fritz Kreisler. Pentatone's spacious sound, recorded in an unspecified location, delivers on its audiophile claims, and Steinbacher's Booth Stradivarius sounds great. A recommended look back at the age of the star violin virtuoso.
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Violin Concertos - Released June 2, 2015 | PentaTone

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Duets - Released September 2, 2014 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released May 6, 2014 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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 26, 2013 | PentaTone

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Concertos - Released September 4, 2012 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Duets - Released April 5, 2011 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Violin Concertos - Released August 24, 2010 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Chamber Music - Released April 27, 2010 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released January 1, 2009 | PentaTone

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Concertos - Released January 1, 2004 | PentaTone

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