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Vln Cto/Ziguenerweisen


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 27 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B000056EUB
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,140 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Zigeunerweisen, Op.20 - Pablo de Saraste
2. Carmen Fantasy, Op.25
3. Mazurek, Op.49 - Antonin Dvorak
4. Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.53

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Akiko Suwanai, the youngest winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition, is a stunning virtuoso with a sensitive musical heart. Her tone is gorgeous: radiant on the high strings, dark and warm on the low ones, pure at all times. Her technique is brilliant, her intonation flawless. She executes the most hair-raising violinistic feats--runs at top speed, double and triple stops, harmonics--with effortless ease and a beautiful sound. Her program here seems to be arranged backward, with the dessert preceding the main course, perhaps to show that you need enough technique for bravura pieces to do justice to real music.

Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen" and "Carmen Fantasy" are played with virtuosic flair and idiomatic feeling. The former's gypsy abandon and melancholy sometimes verge on sentimentality, but the latter's passion, fire, and seductive charm almost make it sound like music. Dvorák's "Mazurek" provides the link between the two composers: it is dedicated to Sarasate. It, too, is basically a virtuoso piece, but a lovely, pensive melody intermittently relieves the fireworks. In the Concerto, the first movement is most convincing. The treacherous opening is not only technically perfect, but highly dramatic and rhetorical; the rhythm is rock-steady, yet flexible, and Suwanai brings out its ardent romanticism with great warmth and inward expressiveness. The other two movements feel driven, as if time were running out. The slow one is restless, the Finale downright hectic, though she tries to make the most of the lyrical moments. The orchestra supports her splendidly throughout. The booklet contains much information about the music, but not a word about the violinist. --Edith Eisler

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Schryer on March 20 2002
Format: Audio CD
With this CD Akiko Suwanai -- a first prize winner of the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition -- establishes herself as a world-class violinist of the first order. Her previous recording of the Bruch violin Concerto No. 1 and Scottish fantasy (to which I assigned four stars) displayed her as an artistic violinist with a lyrical bent. While she is no less artistic and lyrical in this new CD her tone has ripened to sheer gorgeousness and her technical prowess is awesome.
Some people may buy this CD because of the picture of the beautiful Ms. Suwanai on the cover. If so, they will be richly rewarded by her talent and artistry as well. If you love great violin playing and you have not yet heard Akiko Suwanai, please purchase this CD now. You will be glad that you did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher P. Dunn on Dec 6 2001
Format: Audio CD
We keep hearing that the future of classical music is doomed owing to the disinterest of young people in this genre. I disagree for two reasons. First, my experience with the Chicago Symphony is the complete opposite. Many young people in attendance! Second, and perhaps more to the point, is the huge number of outstanding, gifted, sensitive, mature young musicians. Considering the violin alone, we need look no further than Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Tasmin Little, and Akiko Suwanai.
In this recording (which I believe is her second), Suwanai tackles the Dvorak war-horse with incomparable musicianship, sparkling technique, and passion. My experience with some other acclaimed young violinists (e.g., Midori) is that the technique is there, but the interpretation and emotion are lacking. Such is not the case with Suwanai. Her entrance at the opening of the first movement made my hair stand on end (what's left of it!). Tasmin Little's justifiably much-acclaimed recording (on the CfP label) pales by comparison. Suwanai's rendition is clean, clear, dynamic, pulsing. Her virtuosity is incredible. She is to the violin what Mikhail Pletnev is currently to the piano.
Although the focus of this recording is the Dvorak concerto, Suwanai sets things up wonderfully by starting off with virtuoso works by Sarasate (a comtemporary of Dvorak, and to some extent Dvorak's "Salieri"?). The incredible thing about Suwanai is her ability to make sense of these works, particularly the "Carmen Fantasy." Normally, these might be throw-away virtuoso show-off pieces, but she makes them work. Not only do they become fine pieces in their own right, but they make for a wonderful introduction to the "main event;" namely, the Dvorak concerto.
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By Dr. Christopher Coleman on Nov. 29 2001
Format: Audio CD
We are blessed at the present time with a plethora of fine young violinists, and among the very best is Akiko Suwanai, a superb musician who possesses a gorgeous tone quality, matched by flawless technique. She won the International Tchaikovsky Competition for violinists in 1990, but rather than embarking on an extensive solo career at that time returned to the Juilliard School of Music to complete her training. This dedication has certainly been well rewarded, and her playing and interpretation is beyond reproach. In addition to the Tchaikovsky Competition she has also won the Paganini Violin Competition and the Queen Elizabeth International Competition. In this Philips disc with Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra she brings us works by two contemporaneous Romantic composers, Pablo de Sarasate and Antonin Dvorak. Suwanai has a lovely sense of musicality and impeccable intonation. Although some of the pieces (there are, in fact, three works by Sarasate included, not just the Carmen Fantasy) on the disc are somewhat trivial, Suwanai's interpretation moves them beyond the world of cliché.
It is ironic that Dvorak and Sarasate share the disc. Sarasate was known more as a virtuoso violinist than as a composer--essentially, he composed flashy but trite pieces to display his virtuosity; and he treated Dvorak and his work with some contempt. The liner notes tell us that Sarasate said of Dvorak's violin concerto that it was "nothing but pom-pom-pom and old-fashioned form." This reveals more about Sarasate than Dvorak, of course. Where Sarasate wanted flash, Dvorak provided substance instead, and clearly Dvorak's work was far beyond Sarasate's understanding. Of course, much of Sarasate's Fantasy is simple transcription from Bizet's opera.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Superb Nov. 29 2001
By Dr. Christopher Coleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We are blessed at the present time with a plethora of fine young violinists, and among the very best is Akiko Suwanai, a superb musician who possesses a gorgeous tone quality, matched by flawless technique. She won the International Tchaikovsky Competition for violinists in 1990, but rather than embarking on an extensive solo career at that time returned to the Juilliard School of Music to complete her training. This dedication has certainly been well rewarded, and her playing and interpretation is beyond reproach. In addition to the Tchaikovsky Competition she has also won the Paganini Violin Competition and the Queen Elizabeth International Competition. In this Philips disc with Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra she brings us works by two contemporaneous Romantic composers, Pablo de Sarasate and Antonin Dvorak. Suwanai has a lovely sense of musicality and impeccable intonation. Although some of the pieces (there are, in fact, three works by Sarasate included, not just the Carmen Fantasy) on the disc are somewhat trivial, Suwanai's interpretation moves them beyond the world of cliché.
It is ironic that Dvorak and Sarasate share the disc. Sarasate was known more as a virtuoso violinist than as a composer--essentially, he composed flashy but trite pieces to display his virtuosity; and he treated Dvorak and his work with some contempt. The liner notes tell us that Sarasate said of Dvorak's violin concerto that it was "nothing but pom-pom-pom and old-fashioned form." This reveals more about Sarasate than Dvorak, of course. Where Sarasate wanted flash, Dvorak provided substance instead, and clearly Dvorak's work was far beyond Sarasate's understanding. Of course, much of Sarasate's Fantasy is simple transcription from Bizet's opera. What Sarasate has added is filigree--lovely ornamentation indeed, allowing the soloist to demonstrate their technique with double stops, harmonics, and the like, but nonetheless insubstantial compared to Dvorak's work.
The Dvorak is practically symphonic in scope. It has always seemed to me that Dvorak, rather than Brahms, was the truest successor to Beethoven, that his musical language shares more with Beethoven in terms of dramatic gesture, harmonic and melodic construction, and particularly rhythmic conception. But interestingly, both Dvorak and Brahms wrote their violin concerti for the same performer, Joseph Joachim, and both apparently suffered at his arrogant and heavy-handed input. Dvorak repeatedly revised his concerto, editing it extensively according to Joachim's instructions; ironically Joachim himself never performed the concerto in spite of this. [Dvorak's Cello Concerto had a similar genesis--composed for a strong-willed cellist who did not ultimately premiere it; but in certain instances at least Dvorak rebelled against the cellist's suggestions, being especially adamant that no cadenza be added.] We can only speculate what the piece would have been without Joachim's advice, but certainly it is a masterpiece now.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant - best of 2001 Dec 6 2001
By Christopher P. Dunn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We keep hearing that the future of classical music is doomed owing to the disinterest of young people in this genre. I disagree for two reasons. First, my experience with the Chicago Symphony is the complete opposite. Many young people in attendance! Second, and perhaps more to the point, is the huge number of outstanding, gifted, sensitive, mature young musicians. Considering the violin alone, we need look no further than Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Tasmin Little, and Akiko Suwanai.
In this recording (which I believe is her second), Suwanai tackles the Dvorak war-horse with incomparable musicianship, sparkling technique, and passion. My experience with some other acclaimed young violinists (e.g., Midori) is that the technique is there, but the interpretation and emotion are lacking. Such is not the case with Suwanai. Her entrance at the opening of the first movement made my hair stand on end (what's left of it!). Tasmin Little's justifiably much-acclaimed recording (on the CfP label) pales by comparison. Suwanai's rendition is clean, clear, dynamic, pulsing. Her virtuosity is incredible. She is to the violin what Mikhail Pletnev is currently to the piano.
Although the focus of this recording is the Dvorak concerto, Suwanai sets things up wonderfully by starting off with virtuoso works by Sarasate (a comtemporary of Dvorak, and to some extent Dvorak's "Salieri"?). The incredible thing about Suwanai is her ability to make sense of these works, particularly the "Carmen Fantasy." Normally, these might be throw-away virtuoso show-off pieces, but she makes them work. Not only do they become fine pieces in their own right, but they make for a wonderful introduction to the "main event;" namely, the Dvorak concerto.
Getting a little lost in the shuffle is Dvorak's "Mazurek." The irony of including this on the program is that, despite Sarasate's misguided disdain of Dvorak's work, Dvorak nonetheless dedicated this work to his "rival." Perhaps an "in-your-face" composition?
All in all, this is a magnificent and prodigous recording and in my opinion is one of the best recordings of 2001.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great performances by a major young violinist. March 20 2002
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With this CD Akiko Suwanai -- a first prize winner of the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition -- establishes herself as a world-class violinist of the first order. Her previous recording of the Bruch violin Concerto No. 1 and Scottish fantasy (to which I assigned four stars) displayed her as an artistic violinist with a lyrical bent. While she is no less artistic and lyrical in this new CD her tone has ripened to sheer gorgeousness and her technical prowess is awesome.
Some people may buy this CD because of the picture of the beautiful Ms. Suwanai on the cover. If so, they will be richly rewarded by her talent and artistry as well. If you love great violin playing and you have not yet heard Akiko Suwanai, please purchase this CD now. You will be glad that you did.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
If Ever a Violinist Deserved to be More Well Known... July 25 2007
By R. Kirsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Akiko Suwanai is among one of the most under-appreciated violinists. She has a knack for playing with such a sweet lyricism and clarity even on the instrument's uppermost ranges that it's truly astonishing. Where Mischa Elman sounds arrogantly strained and overpowered, Suwanai's playing is all clear, well-harnessed finesse. You will not be disappointed by getting this CD. I noticed one of the other reviewers has mentioned that these pieces may not be substantial enought to warrant a five star rating. My response to that is this: any classical music lover who wants to experience the joy of the violin instrument should buy this CD. Frankly, some of Sarasate's pieces, while not as complex, do a superior job of higlighting the musical prowess of the violin instrument compared to other so-called more substantial works. Like Horowitz playing Chopin, Suwanai at times offers spine-tingling virtuosity, and the Sarasate is decadently rich under her masterful direction.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It doesn't get any better than this! March 9 2008
By J. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD belongs in the library of every classical music lover. Take it from someone who has a classical music library of over 3500 CD's (that's me!). Suwanai is a musician of the highest caliber. You can Youtube her truly *special* performances of Paganini and Tchaikovsky concertos at the 1990 Tchaikovsky Competition which won her a unanimous 1st place vote from all judges. Suwanai has finger-speed to spare and dispenses with the most demanding passages with perfect intonation and technique and gorgeous color.

I've heard dozens of versions Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy. It is part of the violinist's standard repertoire of "show-pieces" which I usually ignore. Suwanai's version, however, is worth your attention. She seems not to forget the role of each passage in relation to the entire piece. As one prior reviewer stated, she makes it work. It is wholly satisfying to listen to.

This recording of Ziguenerweisen (Gypsy Airs) is a highly regarded one. It's amazing to hear the show-pieces played so cleanly and oonvincingly even by a world-class violinist. I recently listened to Joshua Bell's version of this same piece, and the difference was like night and day. Suwanai's playing sounds effortless whereas Bell sounds like he is struggling to play the notes cleanly.

After the appetizers comes the main course. Once you hear this Dvorak Violin concerto, all other recordings (Sarah Chang, Kyung Wha Chung, Itzhak Perlman, Tasmin Little) will sound dull and lifeless in comparison. The first movement is very convincing, but the final movement, played at a brisk tempo, is wonderful and sets it apart from other recordings. When a violinist is playing as such a tempo, some of the musical coloration can be lost. Not with this one! You will not regret this purchase.


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