Vilde Frang

Mozart: Violin Concertos 1 & 5; Sinfonia Concertante

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There is certainly no shortage of recordings of the Mozart works on this release by Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, but the performers manage to stand out with intelligent programming and distinctive playing. The Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K. 207, and Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, work precisely because Frang does not try to make too much of them: her playing in these early Mozart works is brilliant and bright, and they function as something of an overture to the main attraction, the Sinfonia concertante in E flat major, K. 364. Frang who gets all the space in the graphics (and who can blame Warner Classics for this?), but in the Sinfonia concertante veteran violist Maxim Rysanov is an equal partner, and it's here that this recording really stands out. The usual way with this duo concerto is for the two soloists to match each other's styles and let Mozart's melodies come to the fore, but here is a real dialogue in the Romantic way. It's unusual, but it works, especially in the slow movement. The recording is in no way overdone; the chamber orchestra Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen provides spare, crisp accompaniment, and the combination of the sparse texture with the distinct soloist personalities is compelling. The cadenzas in the violin concertos, one of them by Joseph Joachim, add another Romantic note. This album both hangs together well and is a great deal of fun. Highly recommended.

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