One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 18 (1923) [22:55]
Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 63 (1935) [26:53]
Rudolf Koelman (violin)
Musikkollegium Winterthur/Douglas Boyd
rec. 2016, Townhouse Winterthur, Switzerland
Reviewed in SACD stereo

These are marked as live recordings, but you wouldn’t know it from the silent environment from which the sound emerges, and there is no applause at the end of either concerto. With all of the players listed in the booklet, the Musikkollegium Winterthur is quite a substantial orchestra, though the impression is rather more intimate and chamber-music like than you might expect.

The First Violin Concerto was considered old-fashioned by its 1920s Paris audience at the premiere, and while Prokofiev’s signature rhythms, melodic inspiration and sweet’n sour harmonies are well in evidence there is also a low-key subversive quality to go along with its neoclassical, or should that be post-romantic air. The ending of this concerto is quite magical in this recording. The inter-war Second Violin Concerto is alive with contrasts, with a distinctly romantic spirit throughout; hints at poignant reflection centering on the aria-like middle movement, and exploring some connections with folk music in its outer movements. Prokofiev’s orchestration is cleverly colourful and transparent, always allowing the soloist plenty of space for clarity and virtuoso exhibition.

We have a Masterworks Index on Prokofiev’s two Violin Concertos which gives an indication of their popularity and history on records. Of the more recent recordings I’ve found James Ehnes’s collection on the Chandos label pretty hard to beat (review), and his versions are my main reference by way of comparison here. As mentioned before, Musikkollegium Winterthur creates quite a chamber-music perspective, through with good recording quality there is no shortage of bass depth, for instance with the drum in the Second Concerto. The BBC Philharmonic strings are a bit more symphonic in scale, but with Chandos’s up-front balance for the soloist there is never any question of the violinist sinking beyond trace.

As far as choosing a preferred soloist I am once again finding myself without a clear champion. James Ehnes’s expressive tone and accuracy are impeccable, but Rudolf Koelman makes more of seemingly minor features such as those vibrato/slide moments near the beginning of the first movement of the First Concerto, and those solo moments from 2:00 into the last movement of the Second Concerto also have a more ‘parlando’ quality. The edgy, ‘live’ nature of these recordings has more to offer the closer you listen. Vadim Gluzman with Neeme Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra is another fine alternative on the BIS label (review), through the soloist tends to pop out too artificially in terms of balance. I want to hear Prokofiev’s orchestration properly, and as the Winterthur forces have been wheeled in a little closer to the violin in this Challenge Classics recording they score a plus in that regard. Gluzman’s punishing of his instrument’s strings around 6 minutes into the first movement of the First Concerto is however characteristic of the greater extremes on offer in this performance, something not reached in the same way by Rudolf Koelman.

Basically, the only thing really missing from this recording of Prokofiev’s Violin Concertos is a filler. If under 50 minutes seems a bit thin for a new CD then I would tend to agree, but on their own terms these performances are very fine indeed. If you already have a favourite version then I suspect you won’t learn very much new from Koelman and Boyd, but as I say, the more you listen the better this gets.

Dominy Clements



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger