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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Sibelius and Lindberg Violin Concertos from Batiashvili and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Having heard Lisa Batiashvili perform live with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra last season, I knew I was in for a treat with her 2007 recording of the Sibelius and Lindberg Violin concertos. Her rendition of the Sibelius violin concerto - now regarded as one of the genuine classics of the violin concerto literature - may be the finest I have heard lately, that is...
Published on 9 Aug 2008 by John Kwok

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but uninspiring...
I am aware that this review will be unpopular as the dissenting voice among so much praise, but I hope it will be of help to those with similar tastes to mine.

Lisa Batiashvili is unquestionably a fine violinist with a rich and beautiful tone and neither her performance of the Sibelius nor the Lindberg Concerti contain an ugly sound. The playing is lyrical,...
Published on 20 Oct 2012 by Adamos


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Sibelius and Lindberg Violin Concertos from Batiashvili and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, 9 Aug 2008
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
Having heard Lisa Batiashvili perform live with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra last season, I knew I was in for a treat with her 2007 recording of the Sibelius and Lindberg Violin concertos. Her rendition of the Sibelius violin concerto - now regarded as one of the genuine classics of the violin concerto literature - may be the finest I have heard lately, that is replete with ample emotional color as well as virtuoso technical playing; qualities which shouldn't surprise the listener since she made her triumphant international debut playing this concerto back in 1995 at the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki, placing second at age 16 as its youngest ever competitor. Not surprisingly, this is a work she has treasured for years, and one that has much personal as well as musical meaning for her. Of equal importance is the violin concerto composed by Magnus Lindberg for her that she debuted two summers ago with New York City's Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. More than Sibelius' concerto, the Linderberg piece emphasizes virtuoso playing. Musically it is a fascinating contrast between traditional Classical forms and contemporary musical ideas that are musically accessible to the listener; this is a work that deserves to be heard often in concert halls throughout the world. In both works, Batiashvili has able, quite sympathetic, partners in conductor Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; in particular, the orchestra's winds and strings offer exemplary playing in both works. In the liner notes Batiashvili refers to the "Nordic qualities" of both works as among the most important reasons why they share this recording; it is an interesting assessment that I can't argue with, judging from the sterling musicianship of this fine artist.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but uninspiring..., 20 Oct 2012
By 
Adamos (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
I am aware that this review will be unpopular as the dissenting voice among so much praise, but I hope it will be of help to those with similar tastes to mine.

Lisa Batiashvili is unquestionably a fine violinist with a rich and beautiful tone and neither her performance of the Sibelius nor the Lindberg Concerti contain an ugly sound. The playing is lyrical, refined and the phrasing is exquisite. Unlike a previous reviewer I found no great problem with the structure of the performance, indeed everything is impeccable.

So, what's the problem? For me it's exactly that: I'm looking for that cool, Nordic quality, something a little more edgy, the grit in the oyster. To my ear this is modern, sanitised musicianship, where beauty of sound is all and probing musicianship is sacrificed at the altar of technical perfection. That is not to say it is without merit, or that Batiashvili does not have something valid to say about this music; only that it did not appeal to this reviewer. Those who agree might try Ida Haendel with Berglund conducting the Bournemouth Symphony or (controversially, I know) Vengerov with Barenboim - a little over-dramatic in places, I accept, but far more interesting than Oramo's rather ordinary accompaniment. I'm even more inclined to go for Perlman, though I'm not usually a fan of his, simply because I hear more emotional depth in his account with the Pittsburgh Orchestra and Previn than I do with Batiashvili and Oramo.

Her reading of the Lindberg Concerto is perhaps more successful; it was composed for her and is a far less gritty piece anyway; and, of course I have no other recording to compare it to. That said, I found Lindberg's Concerto disappointing after works such as Kraft, with its altogether more modernist language, or the more congenial Concertos for Piano and Cello. For me there were too many clichés, too much compromise with the post-Romantic need for harmonic consonance and easy-listening gestures. If you like this performance of the Sibelius, you'll probably like the Lindberg concerto, which may be for some a way into contemporary music that often can seem distant and uninviting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb World Premiere Recording of the Stunning Lindberg Concerto, 20 July 2012
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
Despite being enormously impressed by her DG recording of Shostakovich Concerto, this live recording of Sibelius' Violin Concerto turned out to be a bit of disappointment. Structural integrity of the whole work is lost, especially in the first and the second movement, due to too much slowing down at odd places. Orchestra parts seem dislocated at crucial moments. Batiashvili's playing is passionate and admirable enough, but overall impression is too rhapsodic, if not so self-indulgent as Anne Sophie Mutter's DG recordiing. This kind of style is more appropriate for Ravel's Tzigane but not for Sibelius.

Magnus Lindberg's Violin Concerto is an amazingly inspired work, possibly one of the most original violin concertos written in modern idiom since Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto. All sorts of technical possibilities are explored throughout the three movements. I never get tired of listening to this deeply expressive performance.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Odd Couple That Really Work, 9 Mar 2010
By 
Nobody "Alan Boyes" (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
When I saw that Lindberg's new concerto had been coupled with the Sibelius concerto I was very sceptical. Okay, both are Finns but, to me, that's where the similarities ended. No matter, I didn't have a good recording of the Sibelius and I was keen to hear the Lindberg for the first time; so I bought it. One disappointment was the fact that this cd only lasts about 53 minutes or so, surely Sony could have given us more. I think, perhaps, under filling recordings benefits the living composer because with each new work comes a new release and customers are encouraged to buy the lot rather than some well stocked up box set. So fair dos, I wouldn't want Magnus Lindberg to starve.

Having read the many reviews I was not surprised to hear an excellent performance of the Sibelius by Lisa Batiashvili (I'll call her LB from now on, her name's a bit of a mouthful). It is a technically fautless, clear and passionate sounding rendition. I've enjoyed this recording of the Sibelius very much: richly recorded and with plenty of romantic soul. I've listened to it many times. I cannot possibly say it's the best version available because there are so many to choose from. What I can say is that you can purchase knowing the work is in very safe hands.

given the choise of Sibelius violin cocnerto recordings the clincher will have to be the coupling. Magnus Lindberg is possibly Finland's greatest living composer: no mean feat in a country that boasts so many wonderful composers. Lindberg's music is, for the most part, hardly filled with the ice and snow or the wilder romantic tempestuous nature painting that you get with Sibelius. Many of his wiorks, this included, have a remarkable formal logic- quite craggy but with a full orchestral sound even with modest forces being employed. So his sense of form isn't so far from mature Sibelius. The music is rich and broadly tonal - so notihng to scare traditionalists off there.

I was surprised though by the icy and remote opening to the work setting the soloist and strings in high register. It's an arresting opening and I was hooked. It seemed a perfect continuation from the later works of Sibelius like the fourth and sixth symphonies.

The orchestra is of a modest size, reflecting that the work was written as a commmission for a Mozart festival. The music sounds nothing like Mozart and, as so often is the case, Lindberg gets a small orchestra to punch way above its weight, sounding as full as the late romantic concerto that had proceeded it on this disc. The three linked movements seem to follow an inevitable logic, the way that many Lindberg works do, and after a generally energetic final section the work finishes calmly: Lindberg was confident enough not to feel the need to finish the work in a blaze of glory.

Along the way this concerto is, as mentioned earlier, more tonally centred than his earlier works with some chorale like wind passages again echoing Sibelius. It is a gorgeous work lovingly performed by LB with fine accompaniement and top notch Sony sonics. So it gets an unreserved five stars and my most enthusiastic recommendation.As mentioned, this is the only recording of a major and very accessible contemporary violin concerto so there is plenty to feast on for modernists and traditionalists.

Both works are wonderful and well matched even if divided by almost a century. With top class performances and sonics this is highly recommended.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-class recording, 26 Jun 2013
By 
J. Fernwood "arts lover" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
If you love Sibelius's violin concerto and want to know which recording you should invest in, then look no further - this is the one! Lisa Batiashvili's recording with the Finnish radio Symphony Orchestra is simply divine! Need I say more?
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 24 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
A very nice recording although I think the Mullova recording of the Sibelius is better. The Lindberg is very good.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honestly this is super, 7 Nov 2009
By 
Roland Herrera, Bristol UK (Bristol, Avon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Lindberg: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
A smashing Sibelius here... so perfect playing big bold and accurate... super refined sound... what is the world coming to ? Previously unobtainable standard.
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