Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra
- CDR 90000 166
The longer Cedille Selects track excerpts are designed to provide a representative overview of the recording (not applicable to all albums)
Album Description Download Full CD Booklet
Jennifer Koh, Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, headlines an album of Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin and orchestra. It’s the “remarkable . . . thoughtful and vibrant” (Strings Magazine) American violinist’s first recording of music by Tchaikovsky, who has figured prominently in her rise to the top ranks of violinists worldwide. Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major is one of the most celebrated and daunting works in the violin repertoire. The subdued Sérénade mélancolique illustrates the composer’s ear for orchestral color. The delicate Valse-Scherzo melds old-fashioned elegance with spirited playfulness. Souvenir d’un lieu cher’s poignant, nostalgic mood gives way to a delightful finale.
Koh shared the top prize in the 1994 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, where she played the Tchaikovsky (and Brahms) concerto and won three special prizes, including for the best performance of Tchaikovsky’s work. The star violinist has a long history with her album collaborators, Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor, Alexander Vedernikov. In recent years, audiences have heard Koh perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Prieto, Japan’s NHK Symphony under Vedernikov, and the Odense Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Poppen.
Maria Nockin Fanfare
"[Koh] brings out musical colors that few artists can evoke . . . Koh turns this sad work into a deep-toned jewel with her lyrical sensibilities . . . This is an unusually well-constructed recording with gorgeous playing and fine sound."
James Miller Fanfare
"[Koh's] approach to the music has a certain elegance even while not disdaining rubato, and there’s also a freshness to her approach—she doesn’t sound like she’s churning out performance number 959 . . . Like many longtime collectors, I have a lot of recordings of this piece. This is one of the very last ones I would dispense with."
Steven Ritter Audiophile Audition
". . . and Koh plays them to stunning effect, her gorgeous tone radiantly effective in conveying what is always the essence of Tchaikovsky - his melodies."
Bob Neill Positive Feedback
"It is gratifying to hear that Jennifer Koh is the complete musician we had hoped she was. Cedille's starlet is now their full-fledged star. If she can play the Tchaikovsky like this (and Bach), she can do anything . . . and probably will."
Stephen Smoliar The Rehearsal Studio
"Koh has found an approach of her own . . . and [it] amounts to what can almost be taken as a penetrating dialogue between Tchaikovsky and Koh taking place over some transcendental communications channel . . . The result is that a very solid case has been made by this recording that for the proposition that the immediate present always brings its own history to interpreting music of the past, meaning that, however familiar that past may be, it can always benefit from new insights."
David Hurwitz Classics Today
"The concerto is gorgeously played. Koh isn't just technically polished, but she has a genuinely beautiful tone, smooth throughout the instrument's entire range and at all dynamic levels. It retains its sweetness even when muted, as in the Canzonetta, and her double stops are so in tune and so devoid of harshness that they sound like single tones. She doesn't "attack" the concerto, but plays with a light touch, never stinting the lyricism - but at the same time never turning sticky. This may not be the most "Russian" sounding interpretation, but it is distinctive, songful, exciting (in the finale), and a wholly legitimate, personal view."
The INFODAD Team INFODAD.com
"Koh plays the concerto wonderfully, allowing it to exude warmth while also accepting its requirements of precision bowing and completely even tone . . . there is a lovely natural flow to the music . . . Koh and Vedernikov present all the music here with sensitivity and style."
Allan Cronin New Music Buff
"it is her virtuosity and her perspective as one of the more recent generation of artists to wield this classic string instrument that holds the main interest here . . . Indeed she does truly grasp the grand romantic sweep of the concerto and the more intimate shorter works . . . Her virtuosity shines and Koh's ability to handle Romantic as well as modern repertoire certainly mark her as a versatile modern master."
Phil Muse Audio-Video Club of Atlanta
"Even in a field crowded with stunning achievements by other artists, the lithe, slender tone and incredible beauty [Koh] sustains the Violin Concerto in D major and other Tchaikovsky works makes this CD a "keeper" for yours truly. It is well worth hearing no matter what your listening preferences are."
John Puccio Classical Candor
"The sound is about as near perfect as it can be in these works, with excellent tonal balance, instrumental balance, orchestral depth, clarity, and definition . . . the recording is probably the best we currently have for this music."
Terry Robins The WholeNote
". . . it's a thoughtful, personal statement from a player with impeccable technique."