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Robert Maxham
Fanfare, November 2018

Zhi-Jong Wang, Thomas Sanderling, and the Philharmonia Orchestra give a dark, moody reading of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in highly detailed recorded sound that brings clarity to the score’s orchestral passages without losing its focus on the solo violin part. Wang’s corresponding passages may be perfectly in tune, they don’t create the same frisson.

As a program, Wang’s recital deserves a recommendation, despite comparisons with landmark recordings of Sibelius’s and Stravinsky’s concertos or listeners’ responses to Pei’s more exploratory work. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, September 2018

The final work on the disc is a virtuoso showpiece for solo violin composed by Lu Pei. This is an interesting piece with a soaring, lyrical quality. It is expertly and affectionately played.

The orchestral playing by the Philharmonia and the Abbey Road recording are of the highest order. Thomas Sanderling offers excellent support to his soloist [Wang]. The solo playing itself is highly polished and technically expert. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2018

I believe that this marks Zhi-Jong Wang’s introduction to Fanfare’s readers. She is a Chinese-born violinist who made her debut at age of 14 with the Lille National Orchestra under Yehudi Menuhin.

Wang’s reading digs deeper into the Sibelian heart and soul of bardic legend and northern climes. Her reading of the concerto’s slow movement is especially gripping, connecting as it does with the music’s explicit sexual tension. In the finale, Wang matches the orchestra’s primitive drumming, and rises above it in a mounting, frenzied dance that echoes some ancient sacrificial ritual. This is a stunning Sibelius Concerto, easily in my book among the best of the best. Thomas Sanderling, son of the famous, late, Kurt Sanderling, conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra with a real appetite for Sibelius’s score. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Mark Pullinger
Gramophone, September 2018

Wang is lyrical, placed well in front of the Philharmonia, offering trusty but unexciting support under Michael Sanderling. She paces the opening Allegro moderato steadily, with secure technical playing but without whipping up too much excitement. There is tremendous warmth in the Adagio, a little schmaltzy perhaps, before a finale that errs on the side of caution. Wang’s Stravinsky is stronger than her Sibelius. There’s punch and pungency to her playing, and she clearly enjoys herself in the opening Toccata, while Aria I is taken at a good lick. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, June 2018

Two great 20th-century works are united on a powerful new disc from Accentus: Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D minor and Igor Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D, played by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted with cogent high energy by Thomas Sanderling, with Chinese violinist Zhi-Jong Wang as a supple, poetic soloist. She creates an ideal mix of shadow and light, hush and fortissimo strength in the Sibelius, with agile and sensitive accompaniment from the Philharmonia. In contrast the sharp angles and clarity of the Stravinsky suit her iron-strong technique and virtuosity equally well, matched by crisp, nimbly rhythmic playing from the orchestra. A solo work, Drama: Beijing Opera by Lu Pei (b1956), is a rewarding bonus. © 2018 The Guardian




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2018

Winning performances of both the Violin Concertos by Sibelius and Stravinsky. Wang’s approach of the Sibelius Concerto is deep and communicates in the first two movements the sense of atmosphere and mystery of the work, while the last movement is truly joyous.

In both works the Philharmonia and Thomas Sanderling deliver a committed support for the soloist© 2018 Pizzicato Read complete review





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