Jack Liebeck

Dvorák: Violin Concerto; Sonata; Sonatina

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There is nothing quite like a romantic, passionate, lyrical violin, and Jack Liebeck brings this gift to the music of Dvorák. Performing one concerto, one sonata, and one sonatina, Liebeck moves the listener with his excellent bow technique disguised under virtuosic playing. His interpretation of the Violin Concerto in A minor shows off the best of the instrument, with a taut, highly vibrated, fervent sound that only the violin can make. The dramatic beginning from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra goes off with a bang, allowing the romantic violin to enter. However, the recording quality is a bit thin and something sounds slightly off; it is very bright and treble heavy, with not enough bass or lower voices in the talented orchestra under Garry Walker's direction. Liebeck's rhythm is wonderfully accurate, and he handles his bow with ease. The Adagio is a perfect emotional contrast to the Allegro, and the Finale hops and dances with a Slavic feel. It is certainly the sign of a great artist who can switch emotional gears so easily and convincingly. The Violin Sonata in F is accompanied by pianist Katya Apekisheva, whose fierce energy matches Liebeck's. The violin sings passionately and yet speaks quietly when the music requires it to. The musicians play well together, for each crescendo is in synchronicity. Once again, some of the sound quality seems to be an issue, as the beautiful, delicate sensitivity of Liebeck's Poco sostenuto is a bit hard to hear. Each phrase of the vigorous Allegro molto is shaped attentively, and it is clear throughout the work that the violinist has something to say as an artist. The Violin Sonatina in G maintains a lightness and sweetness throughout the work, even in the sorrow of the Larghetto. There is nothing like a sprightly scherzo, especially the way Liebeck handles the Scherzo here, with a pianist who is a fine artist in her own right. Overall, this is a strong choice for a Dvorák recording; only the sound quality is less than desirable at times, such as when the piano sounds too full compared to the violin. Clearly, Liebeck has chosen excellent repertoire for himself, as well as an excellent pianist.

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