Sibelius: Symphony No. 1; Violin Concerto

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: DG Classikon
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Violin Concerto
PERFORMER: Shlomo Mintz (violin); Helsinki RSO/Okko Kamu, Berlin PO/ James Levine
CATALOGUE NO: 449 849-2 ADD/DDD (1973/87)
Despite the odd rough edge, Okko Kamu’s version of Sibelius’s First Symphony is enormously likeable. The astringency of the string sound and the conductor’s refusal to inflate the emotion results in a performance of great subtlety and integrity. Shlomo Mintz and James Levine’s performance of the Violin Concerto is enjoyable for quite different reasons. Both artists favour a Romantic approach and just occasionally lose sight of the outline of the whole; but these readings are certainly recommendable and Mintz’s tone has a beguiling sweetness. Jan Smaczny