As was his tendency in so many genres, Beethoven's only violin concerto broke new ground and defined the genre for generations of composers to come. Its sheer length -- particularly the first movement at well over 20 minutes -- dwarfs all violin concertos that came before it. Beethoven also did not remain rigidly faithful to formal rules or orchestration conventions, and shunned passages written exclusively for virtuosic showmanship. Although the premiere was not universally heralded as a triumph, history has demonstrated that Beethoven was far ahead of his time and in fact produced one of the greatest of all violin concertos. Violinist Liza Ferschtman has a clear understanding of the importance of this work, and performs it with equal measures of reverence and freshness. Her tone is ideally suited for the more lyrical, less technical concerto, giving listeners a warm, enveloping sound across the range of her instrument. Tempos are neither alarmingly fast nor slow, but favor a somewhat relaxed, unhurried pace. Ferschtman is joined by the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra under Jan Willem de Vriend; this ensemble plays with appropriate exuberance in the tutti sections (particularly timpanist Peter Prommel) while maintaining a rich but subdued tone when playing with the soloist.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Violin Concerto, Op. 61 in D major|