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Gramophone, May 2010

Rebecca Hirsh and the Netherlands Radio SO (1999) go almost too neatly to the opposite extreme, bracingly unsentimental but also prosaic when the music needs heightened expressiveness.

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, January 2009

Strongly committed to the contemporary repertoire, Rebecca Hirsch has already made some persuasive recordings of concertos by Bent Sørensen and Håkan Børresen amongst others. These all demonstrate her credentials as one of the most impressively equipped exponents of the literature. Turning now to the Berg one finds her in similarly convincing array, combining a sure sense of architectural design, a splendid technique equal to the demands placed upon it and tonal reserves that embrace both depth and soaring cantilena. She has the advantage of an acute ear for the most emphatic and lyrical shaping of phrases and for unerringly reaching the emotive peak of a line.

Her profile here, whilst generally cool, is nevertheless capable of considerable emotional engagement and is palpably consonant with the deepening movement of the work. She is especially successful in the transition from Allegro to Adagio in the second part of the Concerto where subtle inflection and broadening of her vibrato pays off as surely as it did in the first part's Andante. Eri Klas brings out some fine orchestral detail—I especially admired the running bass pizzicati in the opening Andante-Scherzo as well as the freedom he gives to the trumpet. Hirsch meanwhile always reserves increased weight of bow pressure and increased finger vibrato for the most structurally and emotively acute moments. She characterizes the light and the dark with equal success.

The couplings are equally well played. The crisp and clear acoustic of the Hilversum Concert Hall allows orchestral strands the clarity they need. This works well in the case of the Lyric Suite which features a notably well played and evocative Andante amoroso and an Adagio appassionato that ends in marvellous delicacy. The Three Orchestral Pieces don't lack for power either. The Präludium is compellingly strong and the concluding Marsch no less driven so that this is a most worthwhile disc and at the modest price extremely attractive.

Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International, January 2009

Rebecca Hirsch gives us a fine solid performance here. Hers is playing of refined elegance, never overt, always in good taste with emotions displayed but not on the sleeve. Her tone comes through with a great deal of richness while never being in your face. Her virtuosity is expressed through her obvious dedication to the composer’s intentions for his work, and not on virtuosity for its own sake. There is little to criticize here except for the doubtlessly difficult final extended harmonic, which fades in and out of its center more often than makes the listener comfortable.

Eri Klas and the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra not only provide superb accompaniment for the concerto, but also deliver the orchestral works with tremendous success. The beastly difficult Lyric Suite began life as a six-movement string quartet. Its premiere in that guise was so successful that Berg re-cast the second, third and fourth movements for string orchestra. The amazing, multi-layered string effects are played flawlessly here. The intonation is perfect and the balance is breath taking. Listening to the intricate goings-on, especially in the second movement is an absolute delight for the ears.

Naxos sound production is becoming more consistently fine with every new release. This is a well-focused recording. Details within the orchestration are captured and the distance between very soft and very loud is in excellent balance.

This disc is another jewel in the Naxos crown. Highly recommended.

Penguin Guide, January 2009

This Naxos issue brings together clear, positive versions of three key works by Berg, with the recordings, made in the Hilversum concert hall under the Estonian conductor Eri Klas, presenting each work in close focus. Rebecca Hirsch is an outstanding young violinist who has concentrated on twentieth-century music, and here she combines clean, precise attack with natural tonal warmth. The balance is securely held between weight of emotion and fresh modernity. So it is, too, in the other two works, not just the three-movement orchestral version of the Lyric Suite, but Berg’s early exercise in Schoenbergian atonality, the Orchestral Pieces of 1914–15, where already he demonstrates his genius for the dramatic use of orchestral colour.

Christopher Williams
Fanfare, June 2003

It is good to see Naxos filling the gaps in its early modernist catalog with effective performances of classic works from the Schoenberg circle. Certainly there are other readings that are more probing, or project the orchestra in a warmer light, but there is little of a purely technical nature to quibble with in these straightforward renderings of Berg’s most important works for full orchestra. People who are drawn by the price tag to purchase Naxos recordings on impulse will not be led astray. And Rebecca Hirsch, soloist in the Violin Concerto, is emerging as an important violinist of her generation, as her performances of the Rawsthorne violin concertos have already shown. Her achievement here is technically impressive.

Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, December 2002

The outstanding young British violinist Rebecca Hirsch contributes a genuinely poetic interpretation of the difficult solo part, delivered with impeccable intonation and absolute conviction. The Estonian conductor Eri Klas leads the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra in a performance notable for its subtlety and nuance.

Michael Olive
Gramophone, November 2002

Rebecca Hirsch’s technique is fully up to its more hair-raising pages; elsewhere, her palette of tone-colour is beautifully varied and her emotional response to the music is full-hearted but never effusive. The two highly desirable coupling orchestral works are presented with meticulous clarity of texture combined with a satisfying fullness of orchestral sound: the Zemlinsky quotation in the Lyric Suite is very beautiful, for example; so is the poetic end of that movement. A pretty warm recommendation, therefore, especially on Rebecca Hirsch’s account.

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