While Gil Shaham's interpretation of Barber's violin concerto may have been more soulful, or David Zinman's interpretation of his Music for a Scene From Shelley more dramatic, no one would say that James Buswell's interpretation of the concerto is anything less than heartfelt or that Marin Alsop's interpretation of the Shelley music is anything less than affecting. And Alsop's interpretations of the rest of the works on this disc -- the insouciant neo-Classicism of the Souvenirs (Ballet Suite) and the slight but supple modernism of the Serenade for Strings -- are without recorded peers. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra plays brilliantly and easily as well as its competition in Baltimore, Detroit, or St. Louis, and Naxos' sound is exemplary and just as clear and atmospheric as that of Argo, Chandos, or EMI. While it might be argued that there are other fine Barber discs in the world, Buswell and Alsop's is surely among the finest.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Violin Concerto, Op. 14|
|Souvenirs (Ballet Suite), Op. 28|
|Serenade for Strings, Op. 1|