Classical reviews

> Echoes of Time, Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Deutsche Grammophon CD.

Glorious tones of yet another Stradivarius, the 1727 "Venus", played by this talented musician from Georgia, south of Russia, who lives in France.

A magnificent performance, with pyrotechnics, is followed by the composer's brief Lyrical Waltz, Giya Kancheli's haunting work for violin and taped voice with string orchestra, and two treats accompanied by Helene Grimaud on piano: Arvo Part's Mirror in the Mirror, and Rachmaninov's popular Vocalise.

Enjoyable soulful programme but it is the concerto that demands repeated hearings. The violinist left a troubled Georgia aged 11 and focuses here on composers greatly influenced by political happenings in the former Soviet Union.

Highlight: magnificent cadenza in Concerto.

> Tchaikovsky: Shakespeare. Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Deutsche Grammophon CD.

Gustavo Dudamel conducts a remarkably fine orchestra (its "Youth" tag now dropped) in the composer's three Shakespeare fantasies, where Tchaikovsky brilliantly conjures up the atmosphere of three well-known plays.

His Romeo and Juliet fantasy overture is best known, a programme piece like The Tempest, but Hamlet (a "symphonic fantasy") provides a more mysterious and foreboding atmosphere.

All three receive masterly performances by virtuoso musicians, beautifully recorded, to make this really exciting listening. The sound balance and detail is excellent, giving the brass section in full cry and thunder of timpani the same theatrical force as Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in parts of the recital.

Highlight: electrifying performances of Tchaikovsky.




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