Classical review: February 16

> Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major. Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Staatskapelle Dresden. Deutsche Grammophon CD.

The nearly 40-minute brilliance of this concerto is paired with Clara Schumann's Three Romances for Violin and Piano, barely nine minutes of salon music that seem short change.

But enjoy the sweet singing tone of this fine soloist's instrument, the 1715 Stradivarius previously owned by Joachim, a violin virtuoso with whom the concerto is well linked. The required profusion of intimate romance and impassioned heroism demanded by Brahms' music is heard.

Under Christian Thielemann, the German orchestra takes off at feverish pace then settles down for the cantilena passages of the soloist, who will impress listeners with her choice of the interesting Busoni cadenza. Clara's romances (Alice Sara Off accompanying), make a good story, but sadly an anticlimax.

Highlight: Gypsy rondo in concerto last movement.


> Einaudi: In a Time Lapse. Ludovico Einaudi (piano) and electronics, with musicians. Decca CD.

Italian composer Einaudi's album broke classical music records, becoming the first recording to sell more digital downloads than physical copies, despite being available both online and in shops. Some 72% of sales of this ''crossover'' CD were digital only.

(His 2011 release Islands also stormed charts, selling almost identical numbers of physical and digital copies in the first week.) Here 14 tracks blend evocative piano minimalism with almost impressionist touches of ambient electronic sounds, strings, and percussion.

They are a haunting combination of dreamy tunes and busy soundscapes, pulsing and soothing. The title track starts with a gentle ticking and builds up to piano and orchestra making waves. The synthesiser rocks Newton's Cradle in a modernist, gentle pop style.

Highlights: Opening track Corale and Run.