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  Sony Classical -
  SS 87740
  Mendelssohn/Bruch: Violin Concertos - Midori
  Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Bruch: Violin Concerto

Midori (violin)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Mariss Jansons (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Mendelssohn Concerto Recorded live at the Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany, January 11-13, 2003. Bruch Concerto Recorded Live at the Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany, June 18-19, 2002

Producer: Steven Epstein
Recording Engineer: Richard King
SACD Authoring Engineer: Robert Wolff
Technical Supervisor: Andrew Granger
Technician: Tim Wood
DSD Engineers: Tom Lucker, Petra Smits
Editing Engineer: Robert Wolff
A&R Managers: Alison Riach, Susanne Schmidt
  SIGC-27 in Japan.

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Reviews: 2

Review by darkroommd January 27, 2007 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Mendelssohn - Hahn/Oslo on DG
Bruch - Grumiaux/New Philharmonia on PentaTone

I bought this Midori album because I was not fully satisfied with either of my 2 reference SACD's listed above. I am not disappointed as these are two highly enjoyable performances by Midori and Berlin, and ones that I will return to. But I am not totally blown away either to give it 5 stars.

I gave Hahn 4 stars for performance, and I am also giving Midori 4 stars here. But the soloists are very different. Hahn's forte is her technical prowess and her relative weakness is her artistry. Midori is just the opposite. That said, I believe I will find myself listening to Midori's Mendelssohn more often. Whereas Hahn has dazzling ability to dispense runs of perfectly articulated notes at perfect pitch, I find her music less captivating than Midori's impassioned playing. With Midori, it is more about the music and less about her. Mendelssohn is at turns dark, elsewhere sparkling, elsewhere sentimental; Midori manages to convey all of the above convincingly.

Surprisingly, I find the Bruch to be the relative stronger performance on the disc, perhaps because there is less competition for it in my collection. Again, Midori's artistry eclipses the restrained performance of Grumiaux, IMHO.

Mariss Jansons leads the Berliners in an excellent supporting role here. The famous Berlin strings manage to do justice to even the most thickly scored sections of the Bruch, imbuing the piece with a wonderfully dark romanticism. Here again, nothing so superlative as to warrant 5 stars, but an altogether very enjoyable performance.

Sonically, this is short of the greatest but still an excellent SACD.

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Review by Dinko November 16, 2003 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Well, if her Mendelssohn violin concerto isn't a classic, it has a lot to be enjoyed. There are a couple of moments, especially in the opening minutes, where Midori's playing seems hesitant, as if she were afraid to move on to the next note. But all that disappears after a while, and she provides a good account of the Mendelssohn. Hers is a more solemn, less flashy version than many out there. Yet it isn't slow, or bland - it's simply more serene, peaceful.
Her playing during the Bruch concerto seems more dedicated, and more energetic.

Mariss Jansons leads the Berlin Philharmonic in as solemn an accompaniment as Midori's playing in the Mendelssohn, but Jansons and the Berliners take on a stronger, broader, more committed role in the Bruch.

Sonically, this is a very good album though probably not of demonstration class. In stereo I find the solo violin too prominent relative to the orchestra. Orchestral textures are a little muddy.
That said, when the orchestra or sections of it adopt a "full power" mode (say the strings outburst at 6:10 in track 3, or around 1:10 in track 4) the SACD allows for the full orchestral punch to be experienced in a broad and deep sound stage. The Berlin strings can be fully appreciated, especially their lower range. Brass instruments are there but they sound slightly remote, whether due to the recording or hesitant playing, in any case it isn't much of a detriment as the string textures are exquisite enough to compensate for any lack in the brass or winds.
In surround mode, there is just enough output from the rear speakers to create the illusion of a concert hall without attracting too much attention as to which direction the music is coming from.

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Works: 2  

Max Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Violin Concerto in E minor, MWV O 14 Op. 64