Lovely performance with a bonus
Eric Bergerud | Albany, CA USA | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Sibelius violin concerto is a wonderful piece. And because great violin concertos don't grow on trees the work has been recorded by all of the top violinists. Dong-Suk Kang may not be as famous as Joshua Bell, but he handles this work with great skill. Scandanavian music broods a little and Kang has just the right hint of melancholgy. His technique to my ears is excellent and Naxos engineers have created a clean sound. The Slovakian orchestra holds its end up nicely.
The bonus are four shorter works for violin and orchestra by Scandanavian contemporaries of Sibelius. Most recordings of the Sibelius are paired with another war horse which is fine unless, like me, you find you don't need 12 copies of the Beethoven. Anway, the works on this disc are all splendid in the same brooding way that the Sibelius is and almost certainly will be unfamiliar. I strongly recommend this CD."
Sad Scandanavian violins.
darragh o'donoghue | 01/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Scandanavian Festival showcases the expressive possibilities of the violin. Although this is paradoxically the international folk instrument par excellence, the careful nationalism of these pieces sometimes gets submerged in a Wagnerian soup, albeit the gentler, 'nature' Wagner of 'Tristan and Isolde' and 'Siegfreid'. Sibelius' 'Violin Concerto in D Minor' is a masterpiece of extended moods, pictures and emotions, evoking perhaps a lonely boat bobbing in the misty dawn, the rush of migrating swallows from behind trees or an exuberant local dance (the composer called the final movement a 'danse macabre'). The rich, Central Euroepean, mid-Romantic orchestration counterpoints violin-work as scraping as dried tears.Svendsen's 'Romance' is lilting and lovely, as bright and sad as a Swedish summer; Sinding's 'Legende' the kind of lushly melodic beauty we expect from Massenet. Halvorsen's 'Danses Norvegiennes' and 'Air Norvegien' are perhaps the most recognisably folksy pieces on this CD, with their jerky rhythms and parochial colour. The playing here by the Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Leaper, occasionally suffers from the timidity that marked many early Naxos releases; Dong-Suk Kang's playing, however, is refreshingly scratchy."