Mendelssohn & Bruch: Violin Concertos (CD)

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Kyung Wha Chung, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rudolf Kempe, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

Mendelssohn & Bruch: Violin Concertos


Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rudolf Kempe

Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rudolf Kempe


Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

Kyung Wha Chung (violin)

Kyung Wha Chung cut these legendary recordings in the 70s (Bruch) and early 80s (Mendelssohn), with fantastic analogue sound and outstanding orchestral rapport. She plays the Mendelssohn with a pace which brings out the sheer joy and beauty of the music, free of lingering exaggerated sentimentality. If ever there was a modern masterpiece, this recording is one. The sound is sweet and virile, and in this as in so many of her recordings she plays as if she is capturing a live performance, not the stereotyped studio. There is a spontaneity so often lacking in studio recordings, which doesn't fade with repeated hearings. The Bruch Concerto is also wonderfully fresh, a real breath of life in a much-recorded work. (Astonishingly, she plays this work even more beguilingly later with Klaus Tennstedt, coupled with the Beethoven, another must-have recording). I first heard this Kempe collaboration of the Bruch Concerto and Scottish Fantasy when it was released on vinyl, long ago played into scratched oblivion as was the way with my favourite LPs. Hearing the CD is just magical. Even the fabulous Heifetz Mendelssohn (Munch) and Bruch (Sargent) recordings don't eclipse Kyung Wha Chung's legendary performances, which are appropriately remastered on the Decca Legends label.