On this record, the playing's the thing. The music ranges from effective but insubstantial original pieces to painfully bad transcriptions. However, Znaider's passion for the violin speaks through every note. He calls this album a "declaration of love for that elusive mistress, who has beguiled, teased, and tempted me, yet remained a sensitive and faithful companion." Born in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents in 1975, Znaider is one of the most talented among the crop of stunning young virtuosos who have recently burst upon the concert scene. Winning the Queen Elisabeth Competition launched his international career; the live recording of his performance was followed by a CD of concertos by Prokofiev and Glazunov.
This program, though hardly designed to reveal intellectual or emotional depths, again proves his incredible virtuosity and his affinity for the 19th- and 20th-century repertoire. (Like similar recent releases, it also proves that nothing captures the public--and the market--like a selection of flashy showpieces.) Znaider's technique is simply breathtaking, and he clearly revels in his own acrobatics. His intonation is flawless even in long passages of double stops. His facility is unlimited, and he negotiates huge leaps with unfailing security. His tone is beautiful: warm, rich, and sweet but not cloying; it glows, shimmers, and soars with a great variety of dynamics, colors, and nuances. He can change it on a single note to fit the mood, but he also has an odd predilection for sudden pianos and fade-outs. Best of all, Znaider plays with charm, flair, style, and passionate abandon. His expressiveness is so genuine that it hardly ever lapses into sentimentality. --Edith Eisler