This is the first recording of an extraordinarily talented young violinist. Born in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents in 1975, Znaider won the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in 1992 and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1997, and he's embarked on a flourishing career spanning several continents. From this recording, as from his concert appearances, it's clear that he is a virtuoso with a formidable, utterly secure, effortless but totally unobtrusive technique; a lovely tone of great warmth, purity, and flexibility; and a sensitive musical expressiveness so genuine that it needs no external effects, not even slides.
Of the two Prokofiev concertos, the second is the more ingratiating and lyrical one, and Znaider makes the soaring melodies sing rapturously. His tone in the high register, so beloved by the composer, shimmers radiantly. There are also plenty of fast bravura passages, which Znaider tosses off with ease, brilliance, and absolute clarity. Better yet, he gives them shape and makes them sound like music, even the famously--or infamously--difficult, long, and jagged sections in the Finale. The Glazunov has a warm, ardent glow as well as a subdued, inward delicacy. Its bleak mournfulness is always noble and deeply felt. The Cadenza is wistful and introspective, the Finale elegant and charming. The Tchaikovsky Meditation is melancholy, but never becomes sentimental; the excellent orchestral solos stand out, while the violinist discreetly weaves figurations around them. This is a most promising and impressive debut. --Edith Eisler