ALBUM TITLE: Journey East
WORKS: Works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Khachaturian et al
PERFORMER: Nemanja Radulovic (violin), Laure Favre-Kahn (piano); Les Trilles du Diable; Double Sens; German Symphony Orchestra, Berlin/Michail Jurowski
CATALOGUE NO: 479 3361
This marks Serbian-born Nemanja Radulovic’s first international release for the ‘yellow label’. It encapsulates the profound differences between the restless inflections and cross-fertilisation of musical traditions that often characterises the modern recital album as compared to traditional piano-accompanied selections from the likes of Joshua Bell or Itzhak Perlman. Here accompanying honours are shared between two instrumental groups – Double Sens and Les Trilles du Diable – pianist Laure Favre-Kahn and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Michail Jurowski, so there’s certainly little chance of becoming bored.
And there’s the rub. While there is no denying Radulovic’s phenomenal skill and flair, listened to in one session, the constant lurching between accompaniments, composers and styles ultimately becomes wearisome. The effect is further exaggerated by Radulovic’s probing interpretative style, which rarely allows even a cantabile showpiece such as the Khachaturian Nocturne (from Masquerade) to settle as he micro-inflects every phrase with a truly dazzling range of dynamics, temporal freedom and vibrato rates. Heard one piece at a time, the sheer intensity of it all is deeply affecting, even overwhelming on occasion, yet in a showstopper such as John Williams’s Schindler’s List I longed for a more ingenuous response. Sometimes less really can be ultimately more rewarding. Julian Haylock