Suyoen Kim

Joachim: Violin Concerto in the Hungarian Style, Op. 11; Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 3

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Joseph Joachim was the intellectual among the nineteenth century's violin virtuosi, the one who premiered Brahms and favored the long line over sheer pyrotechnics. The Violin Concerto in the Hungarian Style, Op. 11, heard here was his second concerto for violin and orchestra. It has received various recordings, including a fine one from Christian Tetzlaff. It is a Brahmsian work with a lengthy orchestral introduction interrupted by solo work before the first theme is restated. German violinist Suyoen Kim, the winner of a 2006 violin competition in Hannover, does well with the long arcs of momentum in the 26-minute first movement, and her clarity of tone is nicely displayed in the middle Romanze, something of a breather between the two large outer movements. She is zippy enough as well in the "Finale alla zingara," but the chief reason to pick this disc from the old musical city of Weimar over its competition would be the presence of the rarer Violin Concerto in one movement in G minor, Op. 3. This work, composed in 1851 by the then 20-year-old phenomenon, was dedicated to Liszt, and it is something of a counterpart to Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor: it is in a single movement that recapitulates the outlines of both classical sonata form while suggesting programmatic content, and it is a virtuoso vehicle par excellence. As Kim picks her way through seemingly endless chains of triple stops, one is reminded that there is a lot of fun in hearing a young technician in well-oiled function. The work is a valuable addition to the repertory, and this recording, with the venerable Staatskapelle Weimar under Michael Halász, is ideally suited to inspire further performances. At Naxos' low prices, it is one that many lovers of the violin will want to pick up or download.

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