Glazunov, Kabalevsky, Tchaikovsky

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Glazunov,Kabalevsky,Tchaikovsky
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Violin Concerto in A minor.Violin Concerto in C.Souvenir d’un lieu cher; Valse-Scherzo
PERFORMER: Gil Shaham (violin); Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev
CATALOGUE NO: 457 064-2
Gil Shaham’s sound gleams and flashes through the acrobatic cavortings of Kabalevsky’s Concerto. The remarkable flute-like effect produced in the rapid, quiet runs in the second movement is as magical as his legerdemain elsewhere is scintillating. Shaham’s sound revives memories of Nathan Milstein; so, too, does the confidently aristocratic demeanour he brings to the other works heard here. The Tchaikovsky pieces can stand the treatment – lovely as they are, they ramble and repeat themselves if not played with resourceful affection or brio (although surely there’s more inwardness in the ‘Mélodie’ than this forthright rendition suggests). Shaham and Pletnev offer a scrupulous account of the Glazunov Concerto which, despite some ecstatic moments in the central movement, seems more posed than genuinely expressive; for my taste, the result lacks both impetus and cohesion. In general, Shaham’s inflections are timbral and dynamic rather than rhythmic in nature; the Tchaikovsky and Glazunov could stand more gestural profile. Pletnev hums along in spots, soloist and orchestra aren’t precisely coordinated at a tempo change or two, and Shaham’s intonation in double-stopped passages sometimes falls short of the ideal. But if you like sleek, high-energy playing, this disc is an exciting one. David Breckbill

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