Christine Raphael

Romantic Works for Violin by Dvorák, Suk, Schumann, Ysaye

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Perhaps best known because of her father -- Günter Raphael -- violinist Christine Raphael did not begin violin studies until the rather late age of 13. Throughout her career, she championed the works for violin that her father composed, but otherwise performed primarily Romantic works from the standard repertoire. This WDR album starts off with a 1977 recording of the Dvorák Violin Concerto with the Nürnberger Symphony Orchestra. This is not a shining moment for soloist nor orchestra. Raphael's playing is technically sufficient but not dazzling, and musically plain rather than sweeping. The orchestra's performance, despite the symphonic sweep of Dvorák's score, is equally reserved and uncommitted. The vibrancy of Raphael's playing improves in works for violin and piano by Suk and Schumann, both recorded in the 1980s. Here, Raphael's playing is more invested and there's a better connection between her and pianist Rainer Gepp than there was with the orchestra. The most satisfying playing comes at the conclusion of the disc with Ysaÿe's two short works for solo violin and string orchestra. Raphael's playing shows its best side with these works, with a warmer tone, more polished technical execution, and more freedom and spontaneity in her interpretations.

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