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Kim performs Shostakovich and Wieniawski violin concertos

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
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Shostakovich • Wieniawski
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1; Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 2
Bomsori Kim (violin); Warsaw Philharmonic/Jacek Kaspszyk
Warner Classics 01902957632 20

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Each of these concertos has received its fair share of recordings, but this is the first time that they have been paired on a CD. There’s enormous contrast between them, one soaked in the 19th-century virtuoso tradition, and the other more gritty and emotionally daunting, although no less technically challenging. The orchestral introduction to the Wieniawski here is warm and resonant, but well balanced and affectionate, and Bomsori Kim’s entry picks up the mood with centred tone and a strong rhythmic thrust. Technically it’s impeccable, but what I miss is time for the music to emerge; this is even more the case in the central Romance, where the sweetness of tone does not allow deeper feeling.

The Shostakovich is also well set up by Jacek Kaspszyk, and Kim’s entry once more is flowing and precise. There is more to be had in this grim music though, and although the dynamic range is large, there could be much greater tonal variety: listening to the original dedicatee, David Oistrakh, shows playing which moves between the delicate and the forceful, always with muscle. Kim doesn’t just summon the power to soar over the orchestra at the climax, and she faces the same problem later in the Passacaglia, which doesn’t really gather itself until halfway through the lengthy cadenza. In the Scherzo and the final Burlesque she shows that she can certainly move around the instrument, but often the grotesque character needs a greater willingness to produce some ugly sounds: this performance is all rather tame.

Read more reviews of the latest Shostakovich recordings

Read more reviews of the latest Wieniawski recordings

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Martin Cotton