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Monday, January 30, 2012

Isabelle Faust, Berg/Beethoven Violin Concertos, Claudio Abbado, Orchestra Mozart

Isabelle Faust brings something to the violin concerto repertoire that cannot really be taught--a restrained passion and dreamy quality to her playing, along with a ravishing tone. In a few days her recording of the Berg and Beethoven Concertos (Harmonia Mundi) will be released, accompanied by the Orchestra Mozart under the baton of the estimable Claudio Abbado.

The Berg Concerto has the quality of wistful sorrow and a poetic remembrance of loss, of things past (its subtitle is "On the Death of An Angel" and it was dedicated to the memory of a young lady Berg knew, stricken and taken from the world at an early age). Ms. Faust and Maestro Abbado bring out those qualities superbly with a kind of liquidity and flow to the performance I can't recall ever hearing so affectively handled. It is a most moving performance, one of the very best I have heard.

Beethoven's concerto of course has another series of moods which Faust and Abbado handle nicely. Isabelle comes through with a more bravura version of her sweetness of tone, and Abaddo and Orchestra Mozart give us all the nuances of this masterwork in all the right places.

All I can say is "Bravo!" An excellent recording in excellent sound. The Berg is stunning. The Beethoven uplifting and upbeat.

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