The Strad Issue: May 2016
Description: Characteristically searching playing from Tetzlaff and StorgŠrds
Musicians: Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/John StorgŠrds
Composer: Dvorák; Suk

Sometimes first impressions can be misleading. Although this disc begins with impassioned orchestral playing, answered by equally committed sound from Christian Tetzlaff, the recording sounds a little distant. This is a matter of recording balance (with rather distant woodwind) as much as level; but, as Suk’s tempestuous Fantasy unfolds, there is a sense of progressing – into the sound and the composition – a matter deftly handled by orchestra and soloist alike. The sound is intoxicating and dangerous, Tetzlaff’s wonderful cantabile playing counterpoised by some slightly snarling sul-G passages, which maintain line, purpose and intensity through this extended single-movement work.

The Dvorák Concerto is fulfilled with taut, accurate but also spacious playing. The slow movement is enlivened by wonderful horn playing and seamless dovetailing with the soloist, while the finale, in spite of a few slight miscalculations of tuning in the broken octaves, has all the effervescence one could hope for. The concluding Romance brings some dark hues and, as elsewhere, demonstrates a capable orchestra, sensitively directed, working in seamless partnership with a soloist whose sound is rich, and never prizes tonal beauty for its own sake. This disc is a persuasive advocate for some celebrated music.

David Milsom