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The recording of this release (SACD Surround) is simply superb, supporting the lushness of Korngold’s 1945 violin concerto perfectly. Violinist Liza Ferschtman states that, for her, ‘both works on this disc revolve around love,’ something very audible in Korngold’s heart-on-sleeve, generous expression. The achievement here is that Ferschtman does not milk the melodies, letting them speak for themselves, eloquently, while the Prague orchestra is on knife-edge form. Heifetz lefta legendary recording (1953), while Perlman and Previn offered a well-considered reading; Ferschtman offers a splendid modern alternative, recorded live.

The Bernstein is that composer’s reactions to love as reflected in Plato’s Symposium. The five ‘viewpoints’ – Phaedrus, Aristophanes, Eryximachus, Agathon and Socrates – offer a varied journey. Fertschman is massively characterful in ‘Aristophanes’. The Dutch orchestra, perhaps a touch less assured than its Czech counterpart, nevertheless captures the strength of the Adagio for ‘Agathon’. The power of the final two movements is remarkable.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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