Empathetic readings of Dvořák’s complete works for violin and orchestra

Mikhail Pochekin: Dvořák

The Strad Issue: March 2024

Description: Empathetic readings of Dvořák’s complete works for violin and orchestra

Musicians: Mikhail Pochekin (violin) Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Daniel Raiskin

Works: Dvořák: Violin Concerto; Romance op.11; Mazurek op.49

Catalogue number: HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC23067

Dvořák’s Violin Concerto opens with heroic flourishes from both orchestra and violinist: Mikhail Pochekin nails his top notes with aplomb. He is silky in Dvořák’s melodies and fluid in the passagework, and there are moments of high drama. Where the composer calls for grandioso, Pochekin is happy to oblige, helped by muscular orchestral tuttis and expressive wind playing.

There is deep feeling and great tonal beauty in the second movement, and the più mosso outbursts have real power. As the movement progresses there is increasing Slavic majesty, and some silver-toned playing high on the E string. The Allegro giocoso finale is a good bouncing dance, with some spirited spiccato playing. Throughout, Pochekin handles Dvořák’s technical demands with flair; he neatly dispatches the three-part counterpoint and hops up and down the G string with agility before the joyous final bars.

In the F minor Romance Pochekin produces singing lyricism and great tonal beauty, with vivid, ardent urgency at the centre. In the E minor Mazurek there is a swing to the melody in 3rds, and an attractive naivety to the Meno mosso section. The violin is to the fore in the recording, with orchestral solos well served.