The Strad Issue: January 2009
Musicians: Mayuko Kamio (violin) Vadim Gladkov (piano)
Composer: Waxman, Tchaikovsky, Szymanowski, Chausson, Stravinsky

Still only 22, Mayuko Kamio made her concert debut in her native Japen at the age of ten, and as a teenager she won a number of major awards before taking first prize in Moscow’s 2007 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

She has chosen a very diverse and searching programme, including a gorgeous reading of Chausson’s Poème played with such enviable translucent poetry in a range of subtle colours that it should have been heard within the context of the original orchestral accompaniment.

A feeling of ecstatic beauty shapes Kamio’s soaring lines in the opening movement of Szymanowski’s Mythes, and the music at times almost drifts into peaceful repose. It is playing of intoxicating sensuousness, and contrasts with her brilliant lightness of touch in the playful final scene between the Dryades and Pan.

Tchaikovsky’s two pieces possess a soulful Russian intensity engendered by Kamio’s liberal application of vibrato and fruity tone from the lower strings of her 1727 Stradivari, once owned by Joseph Joachim.

Though Stravinsky’s Pergolesi-inspired Suite italienne is immaculately performed, I would look for a greater degree of Classical purity for my library copy of the work, and, with tempos fuelled by youthful adrenalin, Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy does make for a rather shallow opening to a disc so full of thoughtful and innate musicianship.

Throughout, the Russian pianist Vadim Gladkov is a highly responsive and very nimble partner, and the engineers create a realistic balance between instruments and a very pleasing sound.