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Robert Maxham
Fanfare, May 2010

Joachim integrated the violin’s first entry into the opening tutti, after which initial statement the orchestra continues on its own. The solo part offered its youthful composer a great number of opportunities for virtuoso display…In its harmonic and melodic style, so heavily tinged with nostalgia…

…“in the Hungarian style” has been described as the most difficult of concerted works for the violin…it requires strength and stamina as well as sustained brilliance, demanding a very occasional sacrifice of tonal beauty to achieve the requisite tonal strength.

Strongly recommended to all kinds of listeners.

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, March 2010

…this Naxos soundstage has Kim very slightly recessed and more part of the orchestral fabric. Kim plays with adeptness and also with requisite warmth. Especially telling are her finely calibrated diminuendi and the excellently wrought first movement cadenza…The gently spiced slow movement has some excellent running figures for the soloist and some telling moments of elastic lyricism but the paprika count is highest in the finale, where Joachim gives far fuller latitude to folkloric elements. These are duly relished in this performance, though not as much as in the Tetzlaff-Dausgaard recording, which remains my preferred choice for this work.

There are strong brassy themes and urgent, commanding string ones too—though to be frank nothing truly memorable emerges, and the work remains interesting mainly for its function as a showcase for the youthful Joachim to parade his executant-compositional wares. It’s certainly authoritatively played here, and indeed the disc as a whole has strong claims to make.

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, January 2010

I like the natural engineering of the Naxos disc very much. They have placed Kim realistically in the sound-picture and the orchestra produce a marvellous sonority…I have enjoyed his work greatly…

Three cheers for Naxos and their continuing exploration of the bye-ways of musical repertoire and a delight as ever to hear the Weimar orchestra. Huge credit to the soloist for the performing of such mammoth and demanding works with such technical aplomb but not a compulsory purchase disc unless the forgotten reaches of 19th Century violin repertoire weave a particular spell for you., November 2009

Joseph Joachim (1831–1907) was expert not only at showcasing his own abilities but also at bringing out the best in some of the Romantic era’s greatest composers. Joachim established Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, previously deemed nearly unplayable, as a mainstay in the concert hall. He was instrumental in reviving interest in Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin. Schumann and Dvořák wrote their violin concertos for him, although he never played either of them. He advised Bruch, who also wrote works for him, and Joachim’s close friend Brahms composed his Violin Concerto for him—although Joachim played it only six times. The F-A-E Sonata by Brahms, Schumann and Albert Dietrich was written for Joachim as well. In addition, Joachim wrote a small number of works himself—about two dozen—including three violin concertos. The first two, played by Suyoen Kim on a new Naxos CD, are a study in contrasts. Violin Concerto in One Movement is strongly influenced by (and dedicated to) Liszt, who was an important influence on the young Joachim but from whom Joachim later broke, allying himself with the more-conservative musical approach epitomized by Brahms. This is a youthful and exuberant work, with two cadenzas in its single extended movement, and with plenty of opportunities for virtuoso display. Joachim’s second concerto, Violin Concerto in the Hungarian Style, was published after Joachim’s break with Liszt, but it handles its Hungarian inflections with Lisztian panache, especially in the finale. Joachim was himself Hungarian, and the multiple thematic elements reflecting Hungary in this concerto are impressively managed as well as atmospheric. These are good concertos for top-notch young violinists such as 22-year-old Kim to play, demanding excellent technique without requiring great emotional depth. These Joachim concertos, especially the second, have considerable flair, and Kim tosses them off very effectively, receiving fine backup from Staatskapelle Weimar under Michael Halász.

James Manheim, November 2009

Joseph Joachim was the intellectual among the nineteenth century’s violin virtuosi, the one who premiered Brahms and favored the long line over sheer pyrotechnics. The Violin Concerto in the Hungarian Style, Op. 11, heard here was his second concerto for violin and orchestra…It is a Brahmsian work with a lengthy orchestral introduction interrupted by solo work before the first theme is restated. German violinist Suyoen Kim, the winner of a 2006 violin competition in Hannover, does well with the long arcs of momentum in the 26-minute first movement, and her clarity of tone is nicely displayed in the middle Romanze, something of a breather between the two large outer movements. She is zippy enough as well in the “Finale alla zingara,” but the chief reason to pick this disc from the old musical city of Weimar over its competition would be the presence of the rarer Violin Concerto in one movement in G minor, Op. 3. This work, composed in 1851 by the then 20-year-old phenomenon, was dedicated to Liszt, and it is something of a counterpart to Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor: it is in a single movement that recapitulates the outlines of both classical sonata form while suggesting programmatic content, and it is a virtuoso vehicle par excellence. As Kim picks her way through seemingly endless chains of triple stops, one is reminded that there is a lot of fun in hearing a young technician in well-oiled function. The work is a valuable addition to the repertory, and this recording, with the venerable Staatskapelle Weimar under Michael Halász, is ideally suited to inspire further performances. At Naxos’ low prices, it is one that many lovers of the violin will want to pick up or download.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2009

The name of Joseph Joachim is best known today as the composer of the cadenza for the Brahms Violin Concerto, though in his lifetime he one of the finest virtuoso violinists. Born in 1831, he entered the Leipzig Conservatoire at the age of 12, and was guided through his musical education by Mendelssohn. Teaming up with a young pianist called Johannes Brahms. He was subsequently a highly respected conductor and teacher, leaving him little time for composition, though his catalogue of works includes three highly enjoyable violin concertos and a series of descriptive overtures. He was only twenty when he composed the G minor concerto, a work in one movement and written in a style that would demonstrate his prowess, but it is rather short of memorable melodic invention. The Concerto in the Hungarian Style is also from his younger years having been completed just six years later. It was described as overlong by the critics at the time, its forty-five minutes exceeding most symphonies written in the first half of the 19th century. Without a name appended you would not find a great deal of Hungarian influence until we reach the dancing and gypsy atmosphere of the finale. It is here played by Suyoen Kim, born in Germany of Korean parentage, her career punctuated by major competition awards, crowned this year by her success in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. She has all of the technical fireworks to make the music sparkle without ever sounding taxed, her violin singing with great beauty in the slow movement. She receives an attentive accompaniment from the superb Weimar orchestra with Michael Halasz conducting. Critics usually comment on recordings spotlighting the soloist, but it is here fractionally the other way around, though the sound is highly enjoyable.

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