Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Sibelius/Bruch
WORKS: Violin Concerto in D minor; Scottish Fantasy
PERFORMER: Midori (violin)Israel PO/Zubin Mehta
I ought to like this new release, but I don’t. Not, you understand, because of anything particularly wrong with Midori. Her technique is natural, her artistry promising. But, to the point of mannerism, she’s so obsessed with perfection, with slow, beautifully soaring sound, with carefully placed bravura spotlights (in spite of snatched accents) that she just about loses all sight of the soul, structure and momentum of what she’s playing. Her Sibelius is episodic, glorious in patches, but otherwise earthbound and inconsistent in rhythm and ensemble. What’s most missing is sustained, flighted line. There’s too much disruptive, indulgent hiatus. That she can suggest musical emotion and drama isn’t in doubt. The question is how much of this has she learnt by rote? And how much through her own personal awakening and experience? Somehow, somewhere, one senses, the conviction, the self-belief, isn’t yet absolute. If you want the real thing, go back to Heifetz (still the modern benchmark). Or try Cho-Liang Lin. Or Accardo and Colin Davis (for authentic Sibelian aristocracy). Lacking freshness and spirit, the Bruch coupling is frustrating chiefly on account of the stiff, sectional presentation of its song and dance material. Most un-‘Scottish’ (finale apart). The Israel PO does its best to compensate. But the awkward acoustic of the Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, is unflattering to an already recessed, unfocused string section. And Mehta is an unsmiling, humourless partner. Ates Orga