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Gil French
American Record Guide, November 2009

…their technique is flawless, and Yablonsky’s ear for harmonic progression and clear balances is excellent.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.



Listen: Life with Classical Music, November 2009

In writing for violin and orchestra Max Bruch was in his element, and these works are unfairly neglected. The Second Concerto always has impressed me as being every bit as good as the First. Like its more famous predecessor, it avoids that Romantic Achilles’ heel, the sonata-form first movement. Here a voluptuous and melodically stunning Adagio leads to a brief, dramatic recitative and a lively finale. The Third Concerto isn’t quite so lucky, but violinist Maxim Fedotov and conductor Dmitry Yablonsky take Bruch’s energico directive at face value and all comes out well. Certainly, Bruch had no issues with finales, and that of the Third concerto is particularly winning, and marvelously scored.

Fedotov plays both works splendidly. H has that gutsy, vibrant tone characteristic of so many Russian string players, which means that he’s able to relax into the lyrical music without ever turning coy. In the finale of the Third, especially, his double-stopping is a joy, his passage work pretty immaculate, and he projects both concertos with real virtuoso relish. Yablonsky and the orchestra accompany with similar enthusiasm, and the sonics are extremely natural and well balanced.



Jonathan Woolf
Cyclic Defrost, October 2009

Maxim Fedotov has been immersed in a cycle of Bruch’s works for violin and orchestra for Naxos…He’s a fiery, full-blooded player…he ploughs deep into these two concertos armed with pugnacious intent and a war chest of expressive devices…The Second Concerto is a splendid work that should be played more in concert. Fedotov plays with impressive sweep and a battery of finger position changes and tonal intensifications that are clearly part of the Russian tradition.



Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, October 2009

It is…good to welcome these new accounts to the market…the advantages of state-of-the-art recording techniques are immediately apparent in the immense gains in clarity and orchestral translucence…At the usual highly attractive Naxos price, I imagine that many lovers of the concerto no. 1 might well be tempted by this disc to explore Bruch’s music a little further…acquaintance with the second and third concertos will at least show them in quite an agreeable manner that the composer had more strings to his bow (sorry!) than they had, perhaps, hitherto supposed.




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, September 2009

Fedotov plays both works splendidly. He has that gutsy, vibrant tone characteristic of so many Russian string players, which means that he’s able to relax into the lyrical music without ever turning coy. In the finale of the Third, especially, his double-stopping is a joy, his passage work pretty immaculate, and he projects both concertos with real virtuoso relish. Yablonsky and the orchestra accompany with similar enthusiasm, and the sonics are extremely natural and well balanced. You might be tempted to overlook this release—but don’t. Thank you, Christophe!



Stephen Francis Vasta
MusicWeb International, September 2009

This Naxos program offers what are very much “Russian” performances… The playing here is technically polished and the phrasing idiomatic…it’s the level of energy and commitment that struck me as distinctively “Russian”.

Soloist Maxim Fedotov produces a firm-bowed, full-bodied tone which he can scale his sound back into a gentle, melting piano without sacrificing projection or vitality. Even when his sound is at its most vibrant, the phrases are cleanly outlined. He’s secure maneuvering high on the E string, taking the vaulting upward leaps with assurance; only in some of the highest passages does any hint of “defensive” portamento creep into the sound. His poised playing yields little to Accardo’s pure, soaring intonations (Philips) in clarity, and has the edge in passion.

The Russian Philharmonic under Yablonsky contributes a polished backing. The brass playing strikes me as particularly Russian in its thrust and cut—no watery horns or heavy, pushed trumpets here. Their clean, full-throated chording dominates the tuttis—especially as captured in Naxos’s capacious engineering—and lends the music a portentous, almost melodramatic atmosphere that is certainly effective.

This treatment is a tonic for these, dismissively thought of as Max Bruch’s two “other” violin concertos…The open-hearted performances here lift these scores above the realm of insipid sweetness to which they’re too frequently consigned…But the composer’s craftsmanship—and the performers’ energy—carry the listener along irresistibly.



Jessica Duchen
Classic FM, September 2009

In the expressive and sympathetic hands of Maxim Fedotov, a highly distinguished Russian violinist, [Bruch’s Violin Concertos] Nos. 2 & 3 receive a much-deserved chance to shine



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2009

Max Bruch may not relish today’s high level of popularity for his First Violin Concerto,  the fact that in his lifetime it was already beginning to overshadow his considerable list of compositions being something he disliked. The simple fact remains that he was never again to find the readily attractive melodies that had come to the twenty-six year old composer. The Second and Third concertos are full of grand gestures, technical brilliance, and the use of much the same shape as the earlier work. They may well have found a place in the standard repertoire if only the First had never appeared. Intended respectively for two great virtuosos of the day, Pablo Sarasate and Joseph Joachim, the fiery finale of the Second no doubt giving Sarasate plenty of scope for technical fireworks. That score had followed on thirteen years after the First, with the Third and last concerto coming a further fourteen years later. By then his fame was residing in large-scale choral masterpieces of which he was very proud but are now long forgotten. In these fine performances the soloist is one of Russia’s long-standing and distinguished virtuosos, Maxim Fedotov. He comes in direct line from the David Oistrakh and Kogan era, using a very broad vibrato and honey tone that is ideal for both scores. His approach bristles with the showy brilliance that brings the music to life, and certainly never plays for safety. The orchestra creates a variety of tone colour, but is essentially a functional backdrop, only fully unleashed in the finale of the Third. The Russian Philharmonic with Dmitry Yablonsky conducting is admirable, and I hope Naxos will recouple previous releases to give us Fedotov in a double disc set of all three concertos and Scottish Fantasy.






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