Bruch, Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor

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COMPOSERS: Bruch,Mendelssohn
LABELS: Decca Legends
WORKS: Violin Concerto in E minor
PERFORMER: Kyung Wha Chung (violin); Montreal SO/Charles Dutoit, RPO/Rudolf Kempe
CATALOGUE NO: ADD/DDD Reissue (1972, 1982)
Kyung-Wha Chung’s Mendelssohn concerto makes one fall in love with this familiar music all over again. The early digital sound (1981), transparent and ethereal, matches (or perhaps even enhances) the approach she, Charles Dutoit, and the Montreal orchestra pursue: sleek and well-parsed, fleet and quick-silvery, invariably elegant, never overstated but always communicative. It says a great deal for Rudolf Kempe’s seriousness of purpose to note that he offers nary a hint of condescension in the Bruch works. He and the RPO find romantic warmth throughout, strike an elevatedly bardic tone in the Scottish Fantasy, and achieve beautifully graceful phrasing in the finale of the concerto. Chung is quite fine in Bruch as well, allowing soulful nostalgia to suffuse rhapsodic passages and discovering strong expressive possibilities in extroverted moments others treat as opportunities for showy display. If the wonderful sonics were any guide, these recordings could have been made yesterday. David Breckbill

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