Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

Tchaikovsky & Assad: Concertos in D major

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Tchaikovsky & Assad: Concertos in D major Review

by James Leonard

Roughly passionate and intensely dedicated, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's disc of recordings of the violin concertos of Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Clarice Assad accompanied by Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra on the violinist's own NSS label is ultimately persuasive if not always altogether convincing. Salerno-Sonnenberg is as volatile and expressive a soloist now as she was when she made her disc debut with her 1989 EMI recording of Brahms and Bruch concertos with Edo de Waart and the Minnesota Orchestra. Her performance here of Tchaikovsky's concerto is hard-edged and strong-willed, with a lot of power but somewhat less finesse and sometimes not enough self-control. The question as to whether or not a Tchaikovsky concerto can be described as hard-edged could be considered attractive is entirely a matter of taste. Salerno-Sonnenberg's performance of Assad's concerto is as passionate and dedicated as her Tchaikovsky, but although the Assad concerto plays to the violinist's temperament with two of the three movement's marked espressivo, its slender melodic charms and lighter forms are less able to bear Salerno-Sonnenberg's rough tone and passionate intensity. Alsop and the Colorado do their best to keep up with the soloist's impetuous rhythmic liberties and they succeed more often than not. NSS' sound is loud and clear, but a little distant.

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