This may or may not be the most passionate, polished, and persuasive performance of Elgar's magnificent Violin Concerto ever recorded, but it is surely the greatest recording violinist Nikolaj Znaider has yet made. Listeners who have followed his career have long recognized him as a major talent; his stupendous technique, glittering tone, distinctive timbre, and wholehearted commitment to the score are tremendously impressive. Not all of his recordings have been successful, though. His disc of encores was staggering in small doses, but deadly dull if heard all at once, and his recording of the Mendelssohn and Beethoven concertos was all but sunk by Zubin Mehta's overbearing accompaniment. Here, Znaider has a stunningly difficult work that demands his complete aesthetic and emotional attention, and a conductor who not only knows and loves the work, but knows how to accompany a soloist. Znaider tears into Elgar's love letter of a concerto with such unquenchable ardor that one fears for his instrument and his heart. He consistently triumphs over every difficulty, and his performance is as emotionally affecting as it is musically impressive. On the podium, Znaider has a true partner in Colin Davis, and together with the superlative Staatskapelle Dresden, they turn in one of the finest recordings of Elgar's concerto ever made. Recorded in lush and enveloping digital sound, this disc should be heard by anyone who likes the work or enjoys great violin playing.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 61|