This recording of the 2008 New Year's Day concert in Frankfurt is very much a celebration of Julia Fischer's undeniable talents as a musician and, at the same time, a recognition of her position as Germany's youngest professor of music - a position held at Frankfurt's own University of Music and Performing Arts and appointed in 2006.
All of this is made clear in the detailed accompanying 'bonus' feature which is a 48 minute documentary film focussing on Julia Fischer's achievements, her current status and her future aspirations. It naturally dwells on her joint skills as a violinist and pianist and makes use of copious extracts from the two performances on this disc.
Julia Fischer can always be relied upon to give musically sensitive and alert performances of her repertoire on the violin and she has made several very fine recordings from the violin repertoire over the last few years. This current performance of the Saint Saens marks a return to the piece with which she had previously won the Yehudi Menuhin competition years ago when still a child. It is as fine a performance as anyone is likely to hear and one which maintains an exciting forward pulse combined with more reflective moments as appropriate.
She brings the same level of musicianship to the Grieg piano concerto, also coupled with a technique that is clearly up to the task. As with the Saint Saens, this also keeps a generally forward moving pulse but, as before, coupled with sensitivity to the many gentler moments. It is not surprising to suspect that she she seems to find the piano capable of greater expressive reward than the violin as implied in the documentary and may even prefer it as an instrumental way of expressing her ideas. She has been playing both instruments equally from an equally early age and, as she states in the documentary, it is the piano that she apparently most frequently turns to for sheer musical pleasure.
The recording offers crisp imaging and engaging camera work The sound is presented in excellent DTS 5.1 as well as stereo.
This then, is a totally enjoyable concert of two popular works and played extremely well by a fine musician. The documentary is an interesting extra feature. Both performances are, in my opinion, capable of being compared favourably with the best available in this format especially and so the combination makes this a very desirable disc. It should give most purchasers a great deal of musical satisfaction and therefore, in my opinion again, well worth a 5 star rating.
Julia Fischer's interpretation along with the orchestra and conductor are - as previously commented - spellbinding, and that's the most important thing. In the DVD however there is also an interview "Two Musical Worlds" which is a fascinating insight into the world from which the artist has emerged, her interpretation and her contribution to its creation.
I am not a music 'connoisseur', who hear and see things that I find hard to understand, having the feeling that they are simply trying to impress, but certainly know what I like, and I certainly liked Julia's interpretation and playing of both pieces.
Being more of a Beethoven, Tchaikovsky buff, this was my first taste of Saint Saens, and to me Julia brought the Violin Concerto to life with her violin. (The instrument I first learnt to play music).
But it was the Grieg Piano Concerto that really sets it alight, and as a violinist she certainly knows her piano! It is by far my most played DVD, for as well as being a very accomplished musician, she is very attractive indeed, which to me is a bonus!
This is a DVD of an evening one would love to have been at personally. Julia Fischer is a remarkable artist: to perform, in the same concert, Saint Saens 3rd Violin Concerto and the Grieg piano concerto is incredible. Both are extremely well performed. The lond interview with Julia Fischer is also very interesting, and cannot be considered purely as a convenient fill-up. Highly recommended.
Musically very enjoyable but also totally fascinating that in a concert of a violin concerto and a piano concerto it should be the same person playing the violin and then the piano. There is a documentary about Julia Fischer whom I had never heard of. Best known as a violin player. She became a professor of music at Frankfurt at the age of 23!!!.
Just fantastic!!! This incredible violinist controls both the violin and the piano in a way you cannot imagine ! It looks like she take the Grieg piano concert just after finishing the violin concert..... One of the world s best violinists and at the same time pianist, no doubt about it !! Great technical quality !