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Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 (1879) [36:41]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844) [29:06]
Fumiaki Miura (violin)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Hannu Lintu
rec. 11-13 June 2015, Teldex Studio, Berlin
AVEX CLASSICS AVCL-25878 [65:49]

Avex Classics label of Japan has released this album showcasing Fumiaki Miura a talented Japanese soloist beginning to make an impression on the international stage. One of the most accomplished performers of his generation Miura became the youngest ever winner of the Joseph Joachim Hannover International Violin Competition in 2009 taking both the Music Critics’ and Audience Prize.

Tchaikovsky composed his Violin Concerto in D major in a rapid burst of activity in 1879. It was originally intended for Leopold Auer but he turned it down; initially considering the work unplayable. Tchaikovsky re-dedicated the score to Adolph Brodsky who gave the première under Hans Richter in 1881 in Vienna. The calmly authoritative Miura in the opening Allegro moderato provides summery, uplifting playing with a distinct romantic accent. There is a weeping tenderness to the Andante that feels deeply affecting and the spirited Finale is cleanly articulated with pin-point intonation.

During the composition of his E minor Violin Concerto Mendelssohn worked closely with the eminent German violinist Ferdinand David. Right up to the time of the première in Leipzig in 1845 Mendelssohn continued to make various modifications. Miura is impressive throughout striking a convincing balance between lyricism and buoyancy. In the opening movement there is a rare sweetness to the soloist’s assured playing and the Andante expresses a captivating tenderness. Effervescent yet calmly controlled, the Finale with its buoyant themes is compellingly played by Miura who finds no shortage of ebullience in the writing.

The orchestra is eminently sensitive to the soloist’s needs throughout yet the playing is vibrant. There are no problems whatsoever with the sound quality which is crystal clear and most satisfyingly balanced. It is worth pointing out that this Avex Classics release is designed especially for the Japanese market and whilst all the basic information is provided in the accompanying booklet there is no English essay.

Miura’s convincing performances reminded me at times of the steadfastly passionate and intense classic accounts from Kyung-Wha Chung with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under Charles Dutoit, released in 1982 on Decca. Not surprisingly Miura’s playing doesn’t yet have the same depth of character as that found by Chung nor does it supply the comparable gripping dimension that made me want to return to these concertos repeatedly.

Both these masterworks of the repertoire are given engaging performances that are certainly worthy of attention.

Michael Cookson

Previous review: Stephen Greenbank (Recording of the Month)


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