Julia Fischer / David Zinman / Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra

Bruch & Dvorák

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The pairing of Antonin Dvorák's Violin Concerto in A minor and Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor is appropriate because of the similarity of their formal designs, which were influenced by Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, and because of their complementary moods. However, attentive listening will reveal important differences, such as the Bohemian rhythmic verve of the former, and the strong Brahmsian flavor of the latter. Julia Fischer finds the pieces are well-matched, and her engaging performances with David Zinman and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra display her vibrant, charismatic playing with solid, committed orchestral accompaniment. While the Dvorák concerto has been an underdog for years, finding few champions among the great violinists, Fischer gives it as much passion and flair as she does to the Bruch, undoubtedly because it has been a favorite of hers since childhood. Bruch's concerto is an evergreen that needs no special pleading, and Fischer gives it a heartfelt performance that seems a little bigger in effect than the Dvorák, though both performances are up to this artist's high standards and sound fully realized. Decca's recording is evenly balanced between Fischer and the orchestra when they play together, though the loud tutti passages sometimes seem a bit explosive, so some care might be needed with the volume setting.

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