Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor op.47, The Bard op.64, The Wood Nymph op.15

Musicians

Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgårds

Composer

Sibelius

Catalogue number

Ondine ODE 1147-2

This label already has an excellent Sibelius Concerto with this orchestra, but Frank Peter Zimmermann’s fine reading is very different: he knocks three minutes off Pekka Kuusisto’s timing and, because he is set in more of a concert-hall ambience, you need to turn the volume up to equal Kuusisto’s impact.

Zimmermann holds back on his vibrato at the opening and there is a slight lack of forward momentum until the big tutti, where considerable power is built up. The solo viola is not too spotlighted. Zimmermann indulges in a certain amount of fashionable tone-squeezing but plays the cadenza very well.

He avoids being too fulsome in the Adagio but still squeezes a little – compare Kuusisto and the incomparable Ignatius (Symposium), both immaculate in legato. Zimmermann’s finale is on the fast side at crotchet=116 (matching Sibelius’s second thoughts) but he achieves nice rhythmic lift.

Two tone poems, the concise Bard and the sprawling early Wood Nymph, add to a well-recorded disc’s desirability.

TULLY POTTER

From the October 2014 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.


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