Elgar: Violin Concerto; Introduction and Allegro

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Elgar
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Introduction and Allegro
PERFORMER: Kyoko Takezawa (violin)Bavarian RSO/Colin Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 61612 2 DDD
On this evidence, the young Japanese violinist Kyoko Takezawa fully deserves the stardom recently thrust upon her. She possesses not merely a terrific technique (starting the Suzuki method at the age of three can’t have done any harm) but also the right temperament for Elgar. On the one hand she is not afraid of letting her imagination run away with her, and is well aware that Elgar includes virtuoso passagework for musical as well as technical reasons. But she is also prepared to look beyond the notes, as the thoughtfulness of her first entry demonstrates; and her intense vibrato and passionate bowing respond well to the concerto’s lyricism.

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The partnership with Colin Davis is a happy one, not least for his restraint of the full-blooded orchestra: the work emerges as more soloist-dominated than is often the case. True, the engineers do give us a close-up on Takezawa; but her playing is engaging enough for this not to be a problem.

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For RCA to release this disc so soon after the disappointing Zukerman/Slatkin version is quite an own goal, especially as the coupling here is so much more generous. Some might feel that Davis plays things a little safe in the Introduction and Allegro, but there’s no denying the quality of the Bavarian strings. Stephen Maddock