Nemanja Radulovic

Journey East

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Serbian violinist Nemanja Radulovic, long flying hair and all, evokes the spirit and sound of the central European violinists of a hundred years ago. On this collection of pieces, mostly associated with Slavic lands (John Williams' Theme from Schindler's List makes a fascinating exception), he takes new chances, and they pay off big time. Radulovic has developed a vigorously rhythmic style that can build up a good deal of momentum in a piece like the opening Hungarian Dance No. 1 of Brahms, and he effectively alternates these with pieces that lay on the sentiment. What's new here is that Radulovic has reached out and gotten the music he needs from other genres, from unusual sources, and from a variety of ensembles. There are several arrangements by Yvan Cassar that make a wonderful effect. Sample the violin-and-small ensemble version of Khachaturian's Sabre Dance (track 4) for a bit of pure excitement that someone might have come up with in an old Viennese cafe in 1900, but probably not since then. Radulovic draws on some Serbian film soundtracks and on original compositions. He employs not only his usual backing group Les Trilles du Diable, but also a slightly larger string group called Double Sens and, on several tracks, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. The musicians back up Radulovic's fiery effects, and the result is perhaps the most colorful and exciting exotic violin recitals in many years. Bravo!

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