Elgar - Violin Concerto
Nikolaj Znaider; Staatskapelle Dresden; Sir Colin Davis
RCA Red Seal 88697 60588 2
Nikolaj Znaider has not yet attained universal fame but, be assured, he is on the way. He is an exclusive RCA recording artist and has several fine concerto discs including the Brahms and Korngold with Valery Gergiev, the Beethoven and Mendelssohn with Zubin Mehta, the Nielsen and Bruch with Lawrence Foster, and the Prokofiev No.2 and Glazunov with Mariss Jansons. This new recording of the Elgar is clearly one of the finest versions this concerto has enjoyed.
Connoisseurs know well the historic recording with the teen-aged Yehudi Menuhin and Elgar conducting the London Symphony Orchestra from 1932. Although Fritz Kreisler premiered the concerto in 1910 it was the Menuhin/Elgar that had the music world talking.
Znaider impresses me with a seemingly effortless command of his instrument and his silky, singing tone. A performance aided by the authoritative collaboration with consummate Elgarian Colin Davis, under whom one could believe that the German orchestra was a traditional English ensemble steeped in the tradition. Not that I have auditioned the others recently but I believe that this performance is not bettered by any version that I have previously heard.
Top marks are also due the production and sound engineering, naturally balanced and detailed. One caveat, the timing for this concerto is less than 50 minutes - RCA should have included an appropriate filler.