Playing itself definitely deserves 5 stars!
Kenneth | Seoul Korea (South) | 12/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whenever I listen Sibelius in this CD, I usually turn up volume very high to follow Kang's impeccable articulation. The only problem on this CD is recording technology of NAXOS. They should have made a good volume balance between Sibelius and Elgar. Elgar's recording is quite excellent. But Sibelius' may require you to volume up a little, and then I'm sure there'll be no problem. I maintain 5 stars."
Elgar Done Right
Mark Walsh | West Peoria, IL United States | 11/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great performance of Elgar's great Violin Concerto. The fact that Elgar's only violin concerto is not better known must be due to its length (performances average 45-50 minutes long), not its quality. This concerto has some very difficult violin passages, especially in the last movement; Dong-Suk Kang handles it all beautifully. The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by Adrian Leaper, also plays beautifully. Leaper maintains just the right tempos so that he holds your interest for the whole 46 minutes, no easy task. The only reason I can't give this CD a five-star review is because of the Sibelius. It's an adequate performance of Sibelius' only violin concerto, but there are much better versions of this concerto available. Kang and the Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra are much to laid back for my liking, and make this concerto much less exciting than it really is.In summary, if you want a copy of the Sibelius concerto, there are better performances available (David Oistrakh and Anne-Sophie Mutter, for example). You can probably find one for just a few extra dollars; it's worth spending the extra money. If you're buying this CD for the Elgar, you can't go wrong, especially at the budget price."
Great Elgar, Not So Great Sibelius
David Roth | Astoria, NY, USA | 03/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine interpretation of Elgar's beautiful and difficult Violin Concerto. Kang handles the outer movements extremely adeptly and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra offers a wonderfully textured song-like performance of the main theme in the slow movement. There are bigger names (Menhuin, Heifetz, Hahn) who have recorded this Concerto, but Kang offers a serviceable if not splendid rendition of a long, difficult piece.
As for the Sibelius Concerto, I thought that the opening was played well but it loses its energy along the way. The recording itself also leaves much to be desired, as the winds and brass are hardly audible in the slow movement. While it is not the best one I've heard, Kang does a decent job handling the technical intricacies of the piece. For more illustrious recordings of the Sibelius Concerto get the Heifetz or Oistrakh recordings. Overall, I thought this CD was quite good, especially considering the price."