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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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Duets - Released April 5, 2011 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released August 24, 2010 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released January 1, 2009 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released October 20, 2017 | PentaTone

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There are few clearer demonstrations of the high level of technical ability among violinists today than the profusion of good recordings of Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto, Op. 15, which Jascha Heifetz said was unplayable, but which is confidently taken on here by Arabella Steinbacher, accompanied by the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under Vladimir Jurowski. It is indeed a fearsome virtuoso essay, one of the few Britten wrote. One factor recommending this version over others is the pairing with Paul Hindemith's Violin Concerto, not a work commonly heard in the 21st century. It makes sense here: both concertos were composed in 1939, and the Britten has the flavor of a work prepared for the extroverted American market. The Hindemith has, perhaps, a different, more melancholy flavor of exile. Sample Steinbacher's performance in the slashing second movement of the Britten, where her perfect control does suggest Heifetz. The two concertos also both refer to Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, both in their timpani strokes and in a more general relationship of soloist to orchestra; Jurowski's accompaniment is unusually sensitive and well-integrated with Steinbacher's lines. Pentatone's studio sound, rather eerily clear, is another major attraction.
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Concertos - Released September 4, 2012 | PentaTone

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Violin Concertos - Released March 26, 2013 | PentaTone

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Duets - Released September 2, 2014 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released October 5, 2018 | PentaTone

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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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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

Violinist Arabella Steinbacher and pianist Peter von Wienhardt unite here on Violino Latino for truly a spectacular performance. Steinbacher's playing is, in a word, sexy. Though of German descent, her playing is filled with all of the hot-blooded passion, rhythmic vitality, and take-no-prisoners risk taking necessary to make these works truly memorable. Heard here on a new instrument (or rather, a much older instrument -- the 1736 "Muntz" Stradivarius) than what was on her previous recordings, the sound she achieves is quite memorable. She moves easily from the tender, suave music of Ponce's Estrellita to the aggressive, almost brutal playing in Piazzolla's Adios nonino and everything in between. Her exceptional musicianship and interpretive skills are paralleled by her dazzling technique and mastery of her instrument. The violin is clearly the star in these works, and von Wienhardt's accompaniment sensitively reflects that hierarchy. The sound quality of the recording is also quite good; everything can be heard clearly, from the occasional satisfying string buzz to the infrequent but guttural ferule clicks. This album is absolutely recommended without reservation.
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Violin Concertos - Released June 2, 2015 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Violin Concertos - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Violin Concertos - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Duets - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

With the release of each new album, violinist Arabella Steinbacher proves again and again that she not only performs an impressively wide and diverse repertoire, but that she commands different facets of it with incredible precision. This installment features works for violin and piano by French composers Fauré, Poulenc, and Ravel, whose output traverses three generations of wonderfully contrasting music. Steinbacher opens with the rapturous Poulenc sonata, a piece which showcases the amazing amount of controlled power and agility of her right arm. Contrasting completely with its light, effete, graceful qualities is Fauré's A major sonata, in which Steinbacher completely changes character to match the more fluid, hazy aesthetic. The greatest stylistic contrast comes in the Ravel sonata. Here, Steinbacher's tone and pacing give listeners the impression that she grew up listening to nothing more than jazz and blues. The album ends with a bang -- Ravel's Tzigane -- which allows Steinbacher one last opportunity to prove she is not only a master of musicianship, but possesses a fiery, dazzling technique on top of it. Her collaboration with pianist Robert Kulek is nicely unified and pleasingly balanced, a true example of like-minded chamber music at its finest.