Maxim Vengerov

Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos. 2 & 4; Sinfonia concertante

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Kind of sweet and kind of sexy, kind of sophisticated and kind of sentimental, the Mozart one encounters in this disc of his Second and Fourth violin concertos coupled with his Sinfonia Concertante by violinist Maxim Vengerov and the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra is not the effortlessly elegant and sublimely graceful Mozart one usually encounters these days. With the faithful and attentive accompaniment of the youthful Swiss chamber orchestra, Vengerov's tone is warmer, his intonation is richer, his melodies are more expressive, and his self-composed cadenzas are much more romantic than is standard with current Mozart playing, and one gets the sense that Vengerov has so completely subsumed the music into his system that he entirely re-made it in his image. In other words, Vengerov doesn't play like he's re-creating the music; he plays like he's creating it; doesn't play like he is borrowing it, plays like he owns it. This doesn't mean these aren't attractive performances in their way. Alone in the Second and Fourth concertos and together with violinist Lawrence Power in the Sinfonia Concertante, Vengerov presents a Mozart who is less a Watteau than a Boucher, less an Audrey Hepburn than a Julia Roberts. If that sounds appealing, try this disc. EMI's digital sound is lushly detailed and amazingly tactile.

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