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Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Musical Virtousity, 10 April 2009
This review is from: Szymanowski: Violin Concertos 1 & 2; Britten: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
Frank Peter Zimmermann's move from EMI to Sony Classical has allowed listeners to follow his performances from afar. For those of us who do not live in the major musical capitals of Europe and the US, Zimmermann's ongoing but infrequent recordings are especially welcome.

I had the privilege of hearing Zimmermann perform the first Szymanowski concerto in Chicago with Boulez conducting in March 2009. I was totally unfamiliar with the concerto but was an avid fan of Zimmermann's recordings of all the standard violin repertoire from Baroque to early 20th century. As well, this was the first occasion that I was to experience hearing Zimmermann live. Thus, an exciting event on more than one level.

The performance of the Szymanowski was magically enchanting with an incredibly amazing sense of fantasy and improvisatory music-making. As is his trademark, Zimmermann performed with his supreme technical finesse and command that served to communicate an incredibly long thread of musical ideas and emotions. The chamber-music rapport between the soloist and Chicago Symphony was wonderful such that Zimmermann at times blended into the soundscape of the orchestra while at others rising above with either full singing lines or virtuosic pyrotechnics. And such elegance and beauty of sound also belied great wit and intelligence in his entire reading. The cadenza was an amazing spectacle of violin-playing that had the audience in complete silence and focus. And when Zimmermann concluded the concerto with the trill and harmonics, the audience immediately understood the wit and sparkle of this work and provided a rapturous applause.

This recording offers all of the above-mentioned traits and unique strengths that are so characteristic of Zimmermann's integrity as a true, dedicated musician. The recording balance on all three of the concerti is excellent which, again, allows for the blending and emergence of Zimmermann's sound both with and above the orchestra(s).

The Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit conducting are superb collaborators with Zimmermann on the two Szymanowski concerti. Again, there is energy and supreme virtuosity which are deceptively non-apparent as they serve to bring the works to life. Zimmmermann is masterful at varying his tone-colors, vibrato, bow speed/pressure/strokes while never losing the singing quality to all the passages. The complete control of pitch and marriage with the most perfect bow-arm is unbelievable. Such purity of violin-playing with a genuine musical purpose is the constant of Zimmermann's performance aura and identity.

The Swedish Radio Symphony with Manfred Honeck conducting is also beautifully supportive and engaging with Zimmermann in the Britten Violin Concerto. The chamber music rapport coupled with the soloist's absolute concentration and lively exchange with the orchestra, again, combine to provide the listener with a real performance that is unfolding bar-by-bar. Zimmermann converses 'in the zone' with the timpani and bassoons in several passages; the recording engineers have beautifully captured a gorgeous orchestral sound that is full, deep, rich, brilliant and real as in a concert hall.

Zimmermann has never been an autopilot virtuoso or incomplete musician who has yet to form or convince a musical purpose in the works he performs. If you have never heard these violin concerti previously, the performances will reach you such that there is no other choice but to enjoy them and marvel at the artistry of Zimmermann. And to appreciate the composer's creations. Another rewarding offering by this violinists' violinist.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jul 2009 10:15:38 BDT
Denis Urval says:
I do agree. Outstanding performance - what a soloist.
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