Hungarian Kristóf Baráti is recognised as one of the most outstanding violinists of his generation. His dazzling technique (often compared with the young Heifetz), his sincere, intensely musical interpretations and strong personality have brought him to today's top. This release presents two virtuoso showcases, the violin concertos nos. 1 & 2 by Paganini, the wizard of the violin, suspected of having sold his soul to the devil in order to receive a transcendent technique.
Wieniawski's scintillating works are played with brilliance and great musical charm here by Perlman and Sanders (piano) for the duets, and Ozawa conducting the LPO for the concertos. It is somtimes said that Perlman's playing has often been recorded too "forward", so one can hear the "between the notes" bowing sounds when he plays.
At the ripe old age of 19 Mozart wrote five violin concertos, and they represent his coming of age as a composer of orchestral music. From here on, it's basically one masterpiece after another. Though not difficult works, technically speaking, they partake in full measure of Mozart's uniquely sensual brand of melody. That means that successful performances must know how to spin out a singing musical line, while at the same time making the most of the rare opportunities for soloistic display.
Intriguingly this disc documents three violin concertos all of which are noted in tonality. Within that broad highway the Vasks is the most original and prone to use of avant-garde technique, the Arutiunian is most emotionally ordered and controlled and the Bronner unashamed of heart worn on the sleeve.
There is certainly no shortage of recordings of these popular Bach violin works, but this one by the Dunedin Consort with violinist Cecilia Bernardini has many aspects to recommend it. At the top of the list must be the soloist's flair of Bernardini herself, playing a bright-eyed 1743 Camillus Camilli violin. In her playing you get the virtuoso energy of the contemporary Italian school without the hard edge, and there is a sense of play in her music-making that one senses Bach would have loved.