The Strad Issue: January 2009
Musicians: David Perry, Isabella Lippi (violin) Victoria Chiang (viola) Baltimore Chamber Orchestra/Markand Thakar (conductor)
Composer: Pleyel

David Perry gives an assured account of Pleyel’s D major Violin Concerto, combining its original first two movements with a later substitute finale (the original finale is available as a free downloadable bonus track). He demonstrates fleet-fingered dexterity, substantial accuracy, well-proportioned shaping and crystal-clear sonority, but his somewhat measured tempos result in the opening Allegro, cadenza included, seeming prolix and lacking in brilliance. His warm, genial lyricism provides ample compensation, especially in the central Adagio, and his performance overall has a winning equanimity of gesture that brings a smile to the closing rondo. The recording is natural, immediate and well balanced.

Perry is joined by violist Victoria Chiang in a somewhat literal, laid-back account of Pleyel’s two-movement Symphonie concertante in B flat major. They are given a comparatively small solo image and are balanced almost within the orchestra. A touch more bite and more spacious recorded sound would have lent greater immediacy and impact, but their easy and fluent interaction in solo figuration is admirable. Perry and fellow violinist Isabella Lippi are more extrovert in the A major work, meeting the technical challenges of its outer movements, including Suzanne Beia’s stylish first-movement cadenza, and contributing some shapely, poetic lyricism in the Adagio.