The Strad Issue: January 2007
Musicians: Dimitri Hadjipetkov (violin) Yuan Sheng (piano)
Composer: Schubert

Dimitri Hadjipetkov began violin studies in his native Bulgaria at the age of five, and after a fledgling European concert career moved to the United States in 1997 to work with Mark Steinberg at the New York University. Now a member of the New Jersey State Opera Orchestra, he continues to give recitals on both sides of the Atlantic and has returned to the New York University on its violin faculty.

Once past Hadjipetkov’s forthright response to the dramatic moments of the Rondo brillant’s opening, this disc offers plenty to admire. He brings refined and overtly lyric qualities to the Fantasy, where his withdrawn approach to the introduction sets the scene for a sensitive performance. It is a mood that passes over to the A minor Sonata (or Sonatina as it is often described), where his intimate style and attention to the quiet dynamics bring dreamlike moments. By contrast the finale enjoys its full quota of vivacity but eventually yields to repose.

This dedicated and gratifying musicianship is not always supported by clean intonation, pizzicatos can sound splashy and the cross-string passage towards the close of the Fantasy sounds too hectic. Technically he has a very fine partner in the Chinese pianist Yuan Sheng, nimble and weighty as the music demands, though the recording brings a rather monochrome quality to his playing that cannot quite slim down to meet Hadjipetkov’s passages of delicacy.

Brought together these are drawbacks that leave the disc falling short of the spotless advocacy of the Kremer–Afanassiev recordings (Deutsche Grammophon).