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This is a nicely produced disc, with beautifully recorded performances by multiple competition laureate Seong-Jin Cho, accompanied by one of the finest orchestras on the planet. The result, however, is a touch underwhelming.

The combination of a concerto with a sonata or chamber piece is a long established and successful format. Here, Cho combines two sonatas (one early, one middle-period) with arguably the finest minor-key concerto. The sonatas come offgenerally rather better, especially the concluding No 12 which sparkles nicely. In K281, however, Cho seems to take a while to settle and the interpretation overall is rather mannered. Blackshaw (Wigmore Hall Live) is to be preferred amongst more recent competitors.

In the concerto, with its darker-than-usual colours, the orchestra are the stars of the show. Nézet-Séguin keeps the accompaniment moving with great energy, drawing out some exquisite playing. By contrast, I found Cho detached and uninvolving in the opening Allegro and rather earthbound in the central Romance; the finale impresses most. It is not through any lack of passion on Cho’s part, but he fails to offer any deep insights.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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