Johan Dalene / Daniel Blendulf / Norrköping Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky, Barber: Violin Concertos

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It seems as though a young European prodigy comes along each year and is proclaimed to be the next big thing, but Johan Dalene has the chops to make it last, or so it seems from the evidence here. Just 19 when this recording was released, at the end of 2019, Dalene is both daring and thoughtful in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. He could have played it safe, as many young players do with their debut releases. Instead, he takes the concerto's outer movements at a skittery quick tempo, pushing himself to the edge but not beyond. Then for the more melodic passages in the opening movement, he takes time and lets the music breathe. It's an impressive performance of a very familiar work, but the Violin Concerto, Op. 14, of Samuel Barber, is possibly even better. Some Barber works seem Romantic in style, but on closer examination, turn out to be quite modern in form, and this concerto is a complex example. It has the big tunes, but its use of the violin is atypical and constantly shifting; Barber said that the work was more a sonata than a concerto. Dalene's lively, alert performance is complemented by fine work from the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Blendulf in what is throughout a really impressive debut concerto recording.

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