Johannes Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major - Clara Schumann: 3 Romances for Violin and Piano
Christian Thielemann, Lisa Batiashvili, Staatskapelle Dresden & Alice Sara Ott
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Right from the start you know this is going to be something special: the longish orchestral introduction, so familiar and so often stodgily played, fairly crackles with excitement and momentum. Thielemann is a sensational conductor and his view of Brahms as a sort of turbocharged Schumann works perfectly here. As for Lisa Batiashvili, let's just say that since Nathan Milstein's recording of this concerto I had heard nothing as beautiful, as noble and as celestially soaring as her playing.
Eh, it's OK
Batiashvili gives a lighter tough to this Brahms searching for a diffrent kind of passion than the work requires. Her playing is strong as always, but I guess she felt the need to put her own stamp on the piece. It doesn't yeald the compelling and revolutionary take that Faust gave last year with a stripped down chamber orchestra when she did her take on the work. Shocking is Thieleman and Dresden's less than steller support. Clunky and sale, they really didn't help her cause. Perhaps it was too much for them to break from the traditianal mold. The Shumann on the other hand has quite the opposite effect. The two are natural musical collaborators and their reading draws the listener in from the start. Even though the album is a mixed bag, it's still worth the effort to get dispite a flawed reading of the concerto. -Bz