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Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, July 2012

…there is some really fine music-making here.

There are at least three benchmark recordings for the Barber—Stern/Bernstein (Sony), Salerno-Sonnenberg/Shostakovich (EMI), and Oliveira/Slatkin (EMI)—and this new one stands up well against them. I was not spending much time thinking about the others as I listened to Mr Gilman spin out his lovely, expressive tone, especially in II. The Cape Town players dig in with the soloist and produce a warm, full, beautiful tone.

The Korngold…is a moving, resplendent performance, with the right balance of lyricism and introspection in I and II and plenty of virtuosity in III. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Robert Maxham
Fanfare, July 2012

Alexander Gilman produces a glowing tone from his Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin…His generally more relaxed approach doesn’t prevent him or the orchestra from soaring in the climactic moments. Oehms’s engineers have set him just a bit forward, with just enough of the spotlight focused on him to lend him soloistic prominence. He and So take their time in the slow movement without giving even a hint of immobility; in the middle section, his tone grows temporarily as glutinous as Mischa Elman’s. And at last, alchemist Gilman transmutes even the finale’s most mechanical perpetual-motion elements into musical gold.

…Gilman’s corresponding timbral lushness extends from the top to the bottom of his violin’s range, and together violin and orchestra collaborate in a richly atmospheric reading of the movement. The tranquil conclusion, despite its near immobility, provides an effective lull before the boisterous intrusion of the finale’s theme. But Gilman balances percussive aspects with Heifetz’s penetrating clarity in the upper registers during the finale’s lyrical interludes, and fashions a climax of cinematic sweep.

Gilman’s reading sounds at the same time a bit warmer and perhaps a bit cheekier, and even a bit more seductive. The program concludes with a rather lugubrious reading of the theme from John Williams’s score to Schindler’s List. Warmly recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, March 2012

The primary performers on the disc are a young pair of musicians [Alexander Gilman and Perry So]…with enormous talent and potential, who provide the music with a Romantic spirit and youthful vitality. With the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the participants do the music proud.

The program begins with the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14, by the American composer Samuel Barber…It’s surprising that two performers as young as Gilman and So would produce such a relaxed and moving an interpretation…they resisted the temptations and present the music in a most-touching manner, intimate and soaring.

…we find the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 35, by the Austro-Hungarian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold…Gilman and So treat the piece with reverence, soberness, and almost old-fashioned sentiment. It’s exactly what the music needs, and the second-movement Andante is meltingly beautiful. Then, as Barber did in his concerto, Korngold ends his work in a rather rambunctious style, with Gilman and So letting their hair down, so to speak.

…we hear the theme from the movie Schindler’s List by American composer John Williams…The music is brief and appropriately serious. It also allows the orchestra a bigger role in the music making and provides opportunities for both Gilman and So to shine.

The sound is big and warm, the violin comparatively close, the orchestra placed effortlessly behind it in a wide array. There is a pleasing sense of ambient bloom on the instruments…Nevertheless, the rich, resonant sonics go a long way toward conveying the Romantic mood of the music, and it doesn’t really affect the tone of the violin, which remains quite clear and natural throughout the proceedings. © 2012 Classical Candor Read complete review

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