The Strad Issue: January 2008
Musicians: Dmitry Sitkovetsky (violin) Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons (conductor)
Composer: Dutilleux, Debussy, Ravel

Dutilleux’s Violin Concerto L’arbre des songes has been quite well served on disc since Isaac Stern gave the world premiere in 1985. This latest recording demonstrates again what a remarkable work it is, with its shifting, luminous sound world and the soloist worrying away at little fragments of material. Sitkovetsky is bright-toned, a clear focus in Dutlilleux’s diffuse tonal canvas, but never dominating, his lines weaving deftly through the orchestral textures, and combining beautifully with individual instruments: his dialogues with the oboe d’amore in the third movement Lent are delightful. Sitkovetsky and Jansons keep the music moving, bringing purpose without compromising the rhythmic elasticity of the score, the elusiveness of pulse. This has been seen as one of the greatest twentieth-century concertos, and Sitkovetsky makes a persuasive case for it. Occasionally the orchestra threatens to overpower the violin, but generally the sound is fine, given that this is a live recording. The concerto is framed by detailed, highly coloured accounts of La mer and La valse.  

Tim Homfray