The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: A promising performance of Prokofiev marred by poor recording balance
Musicians: Geneviève Laurenceau (violin) Toulouse Capitole National Orchestra/Tugan Sokhiev
Composer: Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff

As a curtain-raiser to their superb account of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Ossetian conductor Tugan Sokhiev and his Toulouse orchestra give their leader Geneviève Laurenceau a solo outing. A good fiddler – witness her solo in the Rachmaninoff – she is placed too close to the mike in the concerto. Every tiny unevenness in her playing is picked up and the orchestra, which has an impressive presence in the main work, is pushed into the background.

From the opening, the lower register of the violin is well captured and the middle register sounds good, but upper notes are less happy. Prokofiev’s spikier moments come across less well than the lyrical ones, which suit Laurenceau best. She manages to convey the impression of a civilised work, through which wildness is always threatening to break out. Her tempos are fine and she finesses the central movement well, finding plenty of ‘go’ for the finale. Pity about the balance.