52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Jean SIBELIUS (1865 - 1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 (1905) [31.47]
Serenade in G minor, Op. 69b (1913) [7.30]
Christian SINDING (1856 - 1941)

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A, Op. 45 (1898) [21.29]
Romance in D, Op. 100 (1910) [10.22] (First recording)
Henning Kraggerud, violin
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Bjarte Engeset
Recorded at Lighthouse, Centre for the Arts, Dorset, UK, 26 June 2003
5.0 surround DVD-Audio and dts sound, DVD-Audio 5.0 AC-3 surround.
Notes in English and Deutsch.
DVD-Audio also playable on DVD-Video Players. Not playable on CD players.

Also available on Naxos CD 8.110056 and hybrid SACD 6.110056.
NAXOS 5.110056 [71.08]

Comparison Recordings of the Sibelius concerto:
Jascha Heifetz, Walter Hendl, [ADD] RCA 61744
Anne Sophie Mutter, André Previn, DG 447 895-2

The first question when an unfamiliar violinist tackles the Sibelius, possibly the most difficult violin concerto in the popular repertoire is, "Can he play it?". The answer in this case is, after peeking ahead to the gruelling virtuoso passages in the last movement, "Most certainly yes, as good as Heifetz!" So, knowing that, we can relax and hear the first parts of the concerto, knowing we don’t have to steel ourselves for a bumpy ride at the end. Don’t be fooled by the price tag. This is a performance to be ranked among the best, a courageous re-thinking of a popular work.

This DVD-Audio is one of the most realistic concerto recordings I’ve ever heard. The violin sounds like it is on stage with the orchestra, heard as from about the fifteenth row in a good hall. The usually encountered recording perspective is that of the conductor with the solo violin very close and generally sounding equally as loud as the whole orchestra. In the DVD-Audio tracks the orchestral tuttis are at full concert volume, the violin at solo volume, both clearly audible at all times, the dynamic range almost too great at times for comfortable listening. If you find this so, listen to the AC-3 or DTS tracks for a reduced dynamic range which gives a viewpoint closer to the conventional dynamic balance. Or buy the Naxos CD version. My experience suggests that the SACD version will also have reduced dynamic range.

Kraggerud’s performance is very personal. In the DVD-Audio version, the violinist is all but inaudibly soft upon his entry, with a steady build in intensity to the first tutti in the first movement, the loudest moment in the whole work. The style is cool, reflective, affectionate, ruminative, introspective, in contrast to Mutter’s flaming, almost Gypsy-like passion and Heifetz’s brisk forward motion. The first movement timings tell the story: Kraggerud, 16.16 versus Heifetz at 13.30.

The Sibelius Serenade is similar to the Humoresques in length and texture, but is much more solemn and sad. At one moment, we almost hear the Swan of Tuonela singing, at others there is a brief bright country dance.

Sinding was born in Königsberg and trained partly in Leipzig, but adopted Norwegian nationality. The Sinding Concerto is clearly from an earlier aesthetic, at first reminding one very much of Bruch, there being no particular resemblance to Sinding’s famous piano solo The Rustle of Spring, the almost comically Wagnerian work that made Sinding’s reputation. The sharp transition from the bright and extroverted concerto’s opening allegro energico to the subsequent sombre, moody andante is strikingly original. Then, just as abruptly we are back in the sunlight to finish off with a sprightly country dance.

Sinding’s Romance in D is just that, a more self-consciously theatrical work than any others on this disk, at times almost sounding like an operatic scene.

Kraggerud’s performance is superb throughout all these works, bringing deep expression and exquisite tone to the changing moods. Orchestra and conductor make their full contribution to the drama of these works.

There seems to be no menu from which to select tracks in advance, you just play the disk and skip forward from track 1 as you want.

Paul Shoemaker

see also CD reviews by Chris Howell and Jonathan Woolf

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.