Nemanja Radulovic

Félix Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos No. 1 & 2

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While his Second Violin Concerto in E minor has retained a position of esteem since its completion, Mendelssohn's First Violin Concerto in D minor remained unknown until well into the 20th century. Written some 22 years before its more popular big brother, the D minor concerto is not written in the same sweeping, lyrical, Romantic gesture as the E minor. The scoring is much sparser, and Mendelssohn's burgeoning fascination with the work of J.S. Bach is clearly in evidence. This energetic and thoroughly enjoyable concerto was not given its first modern public performance until 1952 by Yehudi Menuhin. As different as these concertos are, so too are the performances given by violinist Nemanja Radulovic on this Transart disc. His playing in the D minor concerto - accompanied by the crisp, vivacious Prague Chamber Orchestra -- is refined, meticulous, forward-moving, and lightly nuanced. Fast forward 22 years to the E minor concerto and Radulovic's approach drastically changes. His sound becomes forced at times as he attempts to pull more and more sound from his instrument; his phrasing and pacing become exaggerated, particularly in the two extraordinary drawn-out ritenutos he incorporates in the first movement, practically grinding the music to a halt. The finale is slightly less overwrought, but the forced sound still rears its head at times. For a young performer, Radulovic certainly shows promise, but his success would be greater if he reined in some of his over-romanticized tendencies.

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