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Oliver Fraenzke
Pizzicato, March 2017

Here we have two absolutely thrilling violin concertos by Finnish composers, magnificently played by Benjamin Schmid. © 2017 Pizzicato

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, March 2017

Schmid plays with passionate commitment, and Gustavsson seems acutely attuned to the shifting colors of the [Englund’s] orchestral part.

…Schmid and Gustavsson make a good case for Klami’s work. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Stephen Wright
American Record Guide, March 2017

If you like Holmboe, Nielsen, or Vainberg, you’ll like Einar Englund’s 1981 violin concerto. The language is stoic and noble, chromatic but essentially tonal, and romantic in spirit.

Uuno Klami’s eclecticism is at full flower in his 1954 violin concerto: recycled Sibelius in I, faux-syrupy romanticism in II, and a loopy III that would make Satie smile.

Sound is good, performances strong… © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Hurwitz, January 2017

These are two excellent violin concertos by two excellent Finnish composers.

Both concertos take the same amount of time, a bit less than half an hour, and they are delightfully played by Benjamin Schmid, who deserves great credit for taking the time to learn them so well. The Klami, in particular, features some very delicate, treacherous, sustained writing in high positions and Schmid handles them with a technique as fearless as it is accurate and timbrally appealing. The Oulu Symphony under conductor Johannes Gustavsson plays with proprietary zeal and the sonics are perfect. An absolutely beautiful disc. © 2017 Read complete review

Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, January 2017

[Klami’s] piece is…lighter in orchestration than Englund’s, which suits Benjamin Schmid better. He seems fully engaged with all the notes in both pieces and slips brilliantly from light, vibrato-less playing to tender lyricism. His double-stopping—even at the octave in Klami’s slow movement—is impressive. But his attractive, tender sound is also contained. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2016

Two Finnish composers working in the post-Sibelius years and seeking to create a modern style of writing that would not fall within the shadow of their predecessor. That task was partially placed on the shoulders of Einar Englund, born at a time when the creative life of Sibelius was almost spent, the vacuum that followed being partially filled by the appearance of Englund’s First Symphony in 1947. It was a short lived period, others moving towards a radical modernism to which he could not subscribe, and he withdrew from writing for more than a decade. When audiences found these new ideas had taken them down a cul-de-sac, Englund returned, and among the compositions in his world was the 1981 Violin Concerto, a score in three movements that links with the influences of Prokofiev and Shostakovich in a language of tonality. Though making technical demands on both the soloist and the orchestra, it does not offer a vehicle for outgoing showmanship until we reach a vivacious finale. Uuno Klami had been born sixteen years before Englund, and was already established by the early 1920’s with listener-friendly symphonic scores. His Violin Concerto came into the world in 1943, but the parts disappeared, and it was left to Klami to re-write a new score that was premiered eleven years later. Here we have a ‘big’ concerto that follows in the path of the late-Romantics just as if the Second Viennese School had never been born. Often craggy and offering flights of fantasy for the soloist in the opening movement, the central Adagio brings a peaceful retreat before a proactive finale. Benjamin Schmid is the outstanding soloist playing a gorgeous Stradivari of 1705, while the Oulu Symphony Orchestra from Northern Finland is a beautifully transparent ensemble. Superb sound quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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