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"That sunny dome, those caves of ice!",
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky/Sibelius: Violin Concertos (Audio CD)
This is, as other reviewers have noted, a gorgeous pairing, the Tchaikovsky gloriously swooping, gleeful and brilliant, the Sibelius full of sombre grandeur, a painting of a majestic landscape, indifferent to petty human concerns. It's a match of Spring and Autumn. Kyung-Wha Chung's playful, ecstatic violin line in the Tchaikovsky is full of exuberance, leading the orchestra to follow her high spirits, dancing across the musical landscape.
The mood darkens with the Sibelius, and from the swoops, soars, turns and balletic virtuoso leaps and glides in the Russian piece, we move to an intensely lyrical sustained series of smooth phrases, a cold, clean, austere world full of soul and introspective depths, still reflections in dark water, cracking ice. It's a piece which musically echoes Wordsworth:
"For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue."
It is a tone-poem to the land, and Kyung-Wha Chung plays this with poise and a real spaciousness, those sustained legato lines rolling out to a limitless horizon