Chad Hoopes / Kristjan Järvi

Mendelssohn, Adams: Violin Concertos

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The pairing of the Violin Concerto No. 2 in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn with John Adams' Violin Concerto may seem like pitting stylistic opposites -- Romantic vs. postmodernist -- against each other, though Chad Hoopes' balanced and thought provoking program shows some striking similarities between the works. Both are cast in the Classical three-movement form, and they are roughly equal in length. Additionally, Mendelssohn and Adams treat the violin as a predominantly lyrical instrument, and the flow of the music depends most on arching lines and a nearly continuous spinning out of motives. Hoopes is particularly good at controlling the violin's highest range, which both composers favor, and his playing is always clean and polished, which adds to the luster of the solo parts in both concertos. Also, these showpieces have spectacular finales which let Hoopes show off his technical brilliance and unflagging energy, first with a quicksilver rondo melody in the Mendelssohn, and then with a dynamic toccata in the Adams. These performances with Kristjan Järvi and the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra are fresh and vivid, with extraordinary depth of sound, bright sonorities, and remarkable physical presence, and Hoopes appears front and center in the audio, even when the orchestra is nearly explosive in volume.

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