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Duncan Druce
Gramophone, February 2013

THE SPECIALIST’S GUIDE TO…Forgotten 19th-century violin concertos: # 6

Of the seven violin concertos by Henri Vieuxtemps (1820–81), Nos 4 and 5 have been most often recorded but I’d like to draw your attention to their magnificent predecessor. In this splendid performance, Misha Keylin and his colleagues embrace Vieuxtemps’s grand, theatrical style with inspiring enthusiasm and the listener is carried irresistibly along. © 2013 Gramophone

Diapason, January 2009

Here is a young artist who takes the shrewd gamble of acquainting us with little known repertory. The gamble was successful for this virtuoso...who proves his talent throughout. Panache and bravura animate playing that is clearly articulated, lean, fluid and inspired. With luminescent sound, a sense of theatre (indispensable for delivering the romantic flavor of a repertory strongly influenced by Paganini), and a persistent commitment, Misha Keylin offers a reading that is at once brilliant, and refined...he displays ardor, panache and poetry with style and a seductive authenticity. We discover both the repertory and its interpreter(s).

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Nos. 2 and 3 are by no means inferior to the better known Nos. 4 and 5.Nos. 4 and 5. They are full of good tunes, both slow movements are warmly touching, and the finales have lyrical as well as historic appeal. Misha Keylin gives highly persuasive performances that constantly tickle the ear in their subtly of bowing and colour, easy rubato works (and especially the Third, with its throbbing drama) are arresting, and the orchestral playing, somewhat leonine in timbre, is excellent. So too is the recording, made in the Janáček Concert Hall, Ostrava.

American Record Guide

"Keylin dispatches the F-sharp minor score in richly expressive fashion, underlying the more passionate pages with a throbbing intensity...[He] is willing to take chances [and] the engineers have surrounded him with a golden haze."

The Strad

"Misha Keylin, aged 27 and a laureate of several major competitions, scores a stunning success with these delightful, seldom-heard concertos...[He] gets under the skin of the music with a sound, style and phrasing that recalls the playing of the top yesteryear virtuosos...[The violinist] plays boldly but with consummate control, and his extraordinary instinct for phrase-making and dynamic variety is superb, complementing his lovely, intensely vibrant tone and cogent vibrato usage. This is easily among the top-most violin concerto CDs released so far in 1997, and Keylin is scheduled to record the remaining five concertos."

Fono Forum

"Keylin...stands up to all challenges of the concertos. He shows himself as a brilliant virtuoso with clear articulation and a powerful tone.... The virtuosity and musicality always kept each other in balance."

BBC Music Magazine

"Keylin's technical flair and sureness of tone are heard to best effect in the Third Concerto...[a] poetic quality is realized not only in the breadth of the long first movement but more particularly in the song-like Adagio, which [he] invests with a warm and lyrical poise."


"Keylin...posses a very concentrated and colorful sound, which he shows-off especially in the brilliant Rondo that closes the 2nd concerto."

Amadeus (Italy)

"Violinist Misha Keylin draws approval after every passage and displays grand expressiveness. He has complete knowledge of the repertoire, which surely deserves a prominent position within the rich literature of violin concertos of the 19th century."

Classic CD

"Keylin is an assured and impressive soloist. Every fiddle-fancier will want to savour this [CD]."

In Tune International (UK)

"Still in his 20s, Russian-born Misha Keylin takes on two of the Paganini-like dragons of the violin repertoire in a most impressive way: Vieuxtemps' neglected Second and Third Concertos. Keylin's playing leaves nothing to chance. Dulcet in tone, elegant in phrasing and superbly secure of intonation, his playing is a match for that of the youthful Itzhak Perlman. One hopes Keylin will record a full Vieuxtemps Concerto cycle...No violinist has felt up to the task...but Keylin obviously has what it takes."

Le Monde de la Musique

"The accomplished elegance of Keylin's brilliant playing overcome all the traps that have been disseminated by Vieuxtemps throughout the work, particularly in the final Rondo [of the 2nd Concerto]. The performers are able to alternate elegance and dramatism, thus giving to this neglected concerto [No. 3] an actual charm, varying from the tension of the opening Allegro, to the powerful sonority of the Adagio and the gracefulness of the final Rondo."


"Keylin's violin playing brings to these works all of the color, passion and virtuosity one could ask for. Such compositions must be heard through the ears of the 19th century to be understood, and Keylin's musicianship has the romantic flair to bring them off."


"[Keylin's] bow crackles thrillingly in the opening first solo [2nd Concerto], his cantilena throughout is pure and affecting; his passage work, bristling...a grand virtuoso performance that brings the work thrillingly back to life.... He does a more convincing job in this Concerto [3rd Concerto] - with less promising material - than such luminaries as Heifetz, Francescatti and Grumiaux have managed with the more imposing Fourth Concerto or the more ingeniously streamlined Fifth...The invigorating re-creation that the best exponents of the period-instrument movement achieve through artifice and scholarship, Keylin achieves here both simply and naturally. The result, unstudied and sincere on the one hand, and compellingly theatrical on the other, is irresistible. Enthusiastically recommended as a rare virtuoso treat."

"By good fortune Naxos has chosen a splendid player to introduce us to Nos. 2 and 3. The Russian artist, Misha Keylin, emigrated to the USA at the age of nine and by 15 was already a soloist at Carnegie Hall. His timbre is rich, with a duskily subtle control of color, his technique impeccable, and there is the kind of Slavonic flair that can bring such lightweight but masterly concertos fully to life.... [Keylin] phrases most enticingly, in a heartfelt but never cloying manner [and] his touches of rubato, his quixotic color-changes and dynamic shading constantly add to listener's pleasure. [In the 3rd Concerto] the solo entry, with its rhythmic snap, is arresting...the darkly eloquent [Adagio] cantilena is superbly caught...and in the finale [Keylin] plays with infectious and captivating insouciance, the fireworks sparkling at every capricious turn, the lightness of his bowing sheer joy. The Naxos recording is first-rate...a genuine bargain."

The New York Times

"Misha Keylin...has gamely taken up Vieuxtemps' cause...[He] brings displays a gorgeous, rounded tone and a distinctively Russian phrasing style to both works. His nuanced readings fully convey the operatic impulse that drives the violin writing, and he has the technique to sail easily through the virtuosic flourishes that make Vieuxtemps' violin works the showpieces they are."

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