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Jennifer Koh, Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, headlines an album of Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin and orchestra. It’s the “remarkable ... thoughtful and vibrant” (Strings Magazine) American violinist’s first recording of music by Tchaikovsky, who has figured prominently in her rise to the top ranks of violinists worldwide.
Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D major is one of the most celebrated and daunting works in the violin repertoire. The subdued Sérénade mélancolique illustrates the composer’s ear for orchestral colour. The delicate Valse-Scherzo melds old-fashioned elegance with spirited playfulness. Souvenir d’un lieu cher’s poignant, nostalgic mood gives way to a delightful finale.
Koh shared the top prize in the 1994 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, where she played the Tchaikovsky (and Brahms) Concerto and won three special prizes, including for the best performance of Tchaikovsky’s work.
The star violinist has a long history with her album collaborators, Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor, Alexander Vedernikov.
In recent years, audiences have heard Koh perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Prieto, Japan’s NHK Symphony under Vedernikov, and the Odense Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Poppen.
This is Koh’s eleventh album for Cedille Records, including the Grammy-nominated String Poetic. She’s also recorded for Telarc, Chandos, BIS, and Kontrapunkt.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, TH 59
I. Allegro moderato
II. Canzonetta: Andante
III. Finale: Allegro vivacissimo
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42, TH 116 (Arr. A. Glazunov for Violin & Orchestra)
“Koh’s sound is toasty warm, a golden darkness to her lower register, with lashings of vibrato. Her reading of the Concerto is expansive. Like the river in Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, it is grown-up, knows exactly where it’s going and is in no particular hurry to get there. It’s a comfortable reading to really wallow in”