Koh shines in three terrific concertos.
John B. Wolff | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 10/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just love this CD. I am surprised at how often Jennifer Koh's Szmanowski is a top choice in my listening room, and has been for the many months I have owned this CD.
The balance between the Orchestra and Koh are perfect allowing her to appear from within the depths of the orchestra to soar above in the best of Romantic tradition... something to love and hold close. Other older recordings are also good but I prefer this more laid back and, to me, more beguiling and emotionally involving presentation.
The Martinu is Martinu. If you don't know his distinctive music, this is not a bad place to start. Don't worry, it is all tonal.
Bartok: very nice and Jennifer understands this music so well. Just really fine. I could wish for some different bowing and fingerings Balance is so important, and, if you buy this, and you should, you will be pleased not to have the fiddler next to your ear drum whilst the orchestra is down the block. Koh's way of playing these pieces are a bit different, but entirely valid.
I almost forgot to say that the orchestra is just fine. The GPO has been giving wonderful concerts for many years. A shame they are not better known, but I guess if Chicagoans know about it, there is no need...they have a great audience built in.
Buy this CD; you will love it for its beautiful music, entrancing sounds, and fine performances."
RecordLove | 04/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Fanfare Want List 2006
Jennifer Koh's "Portraits" presents three top-notch performances of extremely challenging repertoire. Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 has for years been near the top of my shortlist of favorite concertos for that instrument. Koh's purity of intonation, the sumptuous sound of her high position e-string-playing, her ability to float an unbroken legato for pages at a time, and her razor clean articulation are in a class of their own. The less-recorded Martinu's Second Violin concerto goes in similar fashion, but with a keen understanding that Martinu's sound world is of a completely different nature. It is realized vividly, especially his bucolic second themes. In the Bartok Two Portraits, Koh et al. successfully realize a third sound world. The result is a third musical home run.
By William Zagorski"