Sarah Chang

Dvorák: Violin Concerto; Piano Quintet

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AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita

With the performers on this disc, you would expect first-rate performances of Dvorák's Violin Concerto and his Piano Quintet. Unfortunately, no matter what you think of the performances, the sound quality of the recording will leave you disappointed. In both the concerto and the quintet, the sound from everyone is rather thin and flat. The depth of the vibratos, the reverberation of the strings, and the orchestra in general are all very shallow. In the violin concerto, you can tell Sarah Chang has a strong bow arm from the forcefulness used in the more dramatic sections and the control used in the cantabile sections, but you keep wishing for a fuller sound. It's too bad because the Finale in particular is an otherwise very exciting performance. Throughout the work, both she and Sir Colin Davis make the meter and mood changes as dynamic as possible. The quintet performance is just as dynamic; however, it is marked overall by the disparity of skill between Chang, Leif Ove Andsnes, and the other musicians. Even with the poor sound quality, bouncing bows are frequently heard from second violinist Alexander Kerr and violist Wolfram Christ. In the "Dumka" second movement, there are places where you wonder just what is going on in those parts that don't have the melody. In short, this CD offers a fine concerto performance, a flawed quintet performance, and overall, less-than-acceptable engineering.

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