Pavel Berman

Sergey Prokofiev: The Violin Concertos

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Composed at the relatively young age of 26, Prokofiev's D major Violin Concerto was already his second foray into the concerto genre, following the successful D flat major Piano Concerto of three years earlier. Turning the traditional concerto movement structure of fast-slow-fast inside out, the two outer, slower movements framing the central, dazzling Scherzo find the already-seasoned composer juxtaposing his gifts for melody, humor, and technical demand. While the D major is a well-respected concerto, the Second Concerto in G minor is far and away the highlight of Prokofiev's output for the violin and has become one of the most frequently performed violin concertos written in the 20th century. Returning to the classical movement structure, the Second Concerto focuses more on melody, texture, tone colors than the First, while still possessing some loft technical demands for performers. This Dynamic album presents violinist Pavel Berman performing with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana under Andrey Boreyko. As in his previously released disc of Prokofiev's works for violin and piano, Berman again shows himself to be a performer of consummate detail, polished intonation, and a brilliant variety of color. The contrast between the more vertical, aggressive sections and the gentler, lyrical sections is more successful on this album, yielding a disc that is certainly a respectable choice to bring these two concertos together. The disc ends with violinist Anna Tifu joining Berman in a scintillating and brilliantly complementary performance of the Op. 56 Sonata for two violins.

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