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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 October 2013
Patricia Kopatchinskaja's star is currently very much in the ascendant, this recording coming off the back of the Gramophone Record of the Year in Bartok: Concerto No. 2 / Eotvos: Seven / Ligeti: Violin Concerto and, before that, the critically acclaimed Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Romances, Fragment Concerto. Kopatchinskaja's difference seems to be in being able to effortlessly re-assess a work, discarding previous performance directives and letting spontaneous inspiration win out over any learning by rote. It also might have something to do with a background steeped in the folk traditions of her Moldovan homeland, the sounds of nature resounding more strongly than those of any pedagogical tradition. Whatever, her readings of these two 20c warhorses are - again - unpredictable but ultimately overwhelmingly persuasive.

The Stravinsky concerto was constructed with the violinistic help of the young Pole Samuel Dushkin, who also gave the first performance. Dushkin was taken aback by the extremely widely spaced chord with which the composer insisted on beginning each of the four movements: Stravinsky sketched it on a napkin over a lunch in Paris and Dushkin immediately pronounced it unplayable. Having tried it out however, Dushkin discovered that it was possible after all, and that was the catalyst for the creation of the piece. Kopatchinskaja finds a percussiveness but also a wistfulness, the contrasts becoming kaleidoscopic as the Russian spirit collides and splinters against the neo-classical form.

The Prokofiev concerto is a near contemporary, a gap of less than five years separating it from the Stravinsky. And, as in the Stravinsky, the form is traditional, but here - as the soloist has observed - it's almost as though Prokofiev is saying farewell to one period in his creative life and returning, bracing himself for 'what it is necessary to do' back in Soviet Russia. The feeling of melancholy is palpable, reaching an almost unbearable pitch in the slow movement, where Kopatchinskaja offers something quite unexpected; a disarmingly innocent and childlike statement, appearing to draw ancient echoes from a Slavic homeland free of contemporary political angst.

Jurowski and the London Phil are the most sympathetic of partners (and virtuosic too, particularly in leader Pieter Schoeman's role in the Stravinsky cadenza), in performances which strip away any previous glosses to reveal a coarse and at times raw Russian vitality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A wonderfully colourful account of both concertos, benefitting from a recording that allows you to be right inside every orchestral sound - it is a real blend of violin and instrumental tones right up next to each other such as wasn't possible in versions by people like Perlman and Chung. Kopatchinskaya has written her own fable to illustrate the pieces seeing them as characters in a masked ball. It may not be as brilliant as the composers' work but it does illustrate the element of play that is so much to the fore, the creativity, which is felt in a second cadenza she has written for the Stravinsky - elaborated with the leader - and placed in a separate track between the concertos. A rehearsal photo shows them practising it, with Jurowski standing in the wings with a cup of coffee ... Jurowski himself is an inspired partner, a pioneer of orchestral timbre as always, and super-fine ... The cover photo is a work of art in itself, with a blast of colour in the lettering that is the lead into the sounds on the disc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2014
Ah, with a smile on my face -- so this is what Stravinsky meant this music to sound like.
And the yearning Kopatchinskaja gets out of the middle movement of the Prokofiev is enough to melt even the hardest of hearts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2014
The performance of the Prokofiev is highly individual, quirky and often thrilling. In the solo opening Kopatchinskaja caresses the violin as if musing privately on the theme. Her range of textures, including very limited vibrato, is amazing. Jurowski's handling of the orchestra is powerful and brilliant. The Stravinsky is equally good, but a less interesting piece. A great recording all round.
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on 2 January 2015
Stunning in every sense as eg interpretation, beautiful sound, interplay violin and orchestraand, and...
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on 14 January 2015
This is currently my favourite of Kopatchinskaja's CDs - a wonderful performance and great recording.
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