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Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 115 / Arabella Steinbacher, violin

Album Summary

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 19
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Concerto for Violin no 2 in G minor, Op. 63
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Sonata for violin solo in D major, Op. 115
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Pentatone releases the third concerto album by their exclusive violinist Artabella Steinbacher. The previous albums were winners. With Arabella as the solist in these Russian Concertos'and the best Russian Orchestra and an excellent Russian conductor as accompanists, this is sure to become a reference recording

American Record Guide, January/February 2013
Soloist and orchestra both turn pedestrian in the Concerto No. 2, though the last movement is a slight improvement over the preceding two. The Sonata for Violin Solo is delightful; Steinbacher plays beautifully, especially in the theme and variations. Here is the involvement the Second Concerto should have had. The sonics are perfect, too. Notes in English, German, and French.

International Record Review, December 2012
Admirers of this gifted young artist will need no second bidding to acquire this latest recording of hers, for she plays all three works with love and affection...my main criticism is the absence of any clearly defined musical leadership from either soloist or conductor.

BBC Music Magazine, February 2013
Steinbacher shapes the glorious melody in the opening movement [of the First] with great tenderness and affection and throughout the work there is a real sense of her interaction with conductor Vasily Petrenko and the highly responsive Russian National Orchestra. However the overall effect seems a little calculated...Steinbacher and Petrenko seem much more closely attuned to the emotionally ambiguous wolrd of the Second Violin Concerto.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2013
Steinbacher sounds determined to rethink these repertoire staples. Eschewing the settled eloquence of a David Oistrakh, she varies her tonal projection to highlight Prokofiev's tendency to step on the throat of his own song. The verdict? Better try before you buy, although audiophiles and surround sound aficionados should not hesitate.

The Strad
There is fibre to the playing and theatrical highlights.


Startlingly Beautiful in Astonishingly Realistic Sound
Since acquiring the "Booth" Strad a few years ago, Steinbacher has really learned to distill its beauty of tone and power. If this account of the first concerto inclines more to "beauty" than to "blaze", we are the richer for it. But there is no lack of intensity despite her surprisingly lovely, lyrical playing.

Her tempi for the first concerto may at first seem "relaxed" by comparison with others, but they enable her to "phrase" in a most beguiling way, passages those others have historically used simply to show off their fancy fingerwork and how fast they can play.

Steinbacher, eschews that approach to reveal the fullest measure of Prokofiev's lyrical genius.

Nevertheless where the music (2nd Mvt) calls for pungent, even raucous (high on the bridge) execution, Steinbacher gives it full head and creates exactly the sardonic witty atmosphere Prokofiev was writing for.

The second concerto is likewise thoughtfully executed with the same loving attention to detail. In its second movement one can almost be persuaded that she isn't playing a violin concerto but rather she is engaged in telling us a story - so magnetic is the narrative quality of her playing.

The third work on the disc, not nearly so well known as the two concerti, is a special bonus holding in fullest measure the same balance of the declamatory and lyrical that make the concerti such outstanding masterworks. Again Steinbacher treats it as something close to her heart - which it probably is!

The sound on this "hybrid" surround sound SACD is spectacularly natural placing the listener with access to a good "surround" system about 12 rows from the stage in a fine hall. It sounds like you are actually listening in that place where they were actually performing it!

Both soloist and orchestra are magnificently naturally captured, making this the finest recording of anything I ever heard.

In stereo listening to the regular CD layer, that degree of realism is simply not attainable but my audition proved quite satisfying never-the-less.

Submitted on 12/20/12 by Bruce Zeisel 
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Works Details

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 19
  • Performer: Arabella Steinbacher (Violin)
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Ensemble: Russian National Orchestra
  • Notes: Composition written: 1916-17.
  • Running Time: 23 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1916-1917

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Concerto for Violin no 2 in G minor, Op. 63
  • Performer: Arabella Steinbacher (Violin)
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Notes: Composition written: 1935.
  • Running Time: 27 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1935

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Sonata for violin solo in D major, Op. 115
  • Performer: Arabella Steinbacher (Violin)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947