The Strad Issue: January 2013
Description: Starry advocacy of a neglected 20th-century violin concerto
Musicians: Midori (violin) NDR Symphony Orchestra/Christoph Eschenbach
Composer: Hindemith

We hear far too little of Midori on disc nowadays, so it is especially welcome that she has chosen a work that despite distinguished advocacy on disc from the likes of David Oistrakh, Isaac Stern, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Leonidas Kavakos, has never really caught the public’s imagination. The main problem is that Hindemith’s virtuoso writing encourages a grand rhetorical approach in the Romantic tradition, which is diametrically opposed to the exquisite cool of his inspiration.

‘Cool’ but not ‘cold’, as Midori triumphantly confirms in this soaring, meticulously balanced live performance, throughout which she strikes an ideal balance between radiant charm and exquisite micro-inflections of dynamic and phrase. While ensuring that Hindemith’s neo-Classical gesturing is fully indulged she is careful not to set up the forlorn hope of a ‘big melody’.

Christoph Eschenbach and his Hamburg players accompany with exceptional precision and sensitivity and offer gripping accounts of the Symphonic Metamorphosis and op.50 Konzertmusik as the ideal couplings.  

Clip: Hindemith Violin Concerto: first movement