Geneviève Laurenceau / Tugan Sokhiev

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2; Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

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Though they were contemporaries and compatriots, compositions by Prokofiev and Rachmaninov contrast sharply. While Prokofiev was more apt to explore current trends in harmony and tonal language, Rachmaninov was much more reserved, preferring to write more solidly in the Romantic tradition for much of his career. Both composed a host of works that are celebrated today in the standard repertoire, particularly from late in their careers. This Naïve album presents two such works: Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances. Violinist Geneviève Laurenceau's performance of the Prokofiev is technically dazzling and musically fulfilling. She captures the two contrasting melodic moods well, from the harsh, angular, gritty chords of the finale to the sweet, luxurious second theme of the opening movement. Even the extremely high, piercing theme of the middle movement -- which can easily come across as shrill -- is played with tenderness and warmth. Laurenceau is balanced nicely by the Orchestre National du Capitole du Toulouse under conductor Tugan Sokhiev. Sokhiev also leads his orchestra in the performance of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, his final orchestral composition. Contrasting nicely with the fervor and frenzy that occupies much of the Prokofiev, Sokhiev's vision for Rachmaninov captures its many moods from playful, sinister, majestic, and of course the richly Romantic. Naïve's sound is clean and detailed, making for an easily recommendable album.

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