Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor
Overture - The Fair Melussina

Mayumi Seiler, violin
City of London Sinfonia
Richard Hickox, conductor
No recording dates given
 BLACK BOX BBM3005 [59.34]
  £5.99 AmazonUK  £6.99 AmazonUS  Amazon recommendations

Always read the small print. One wouldn't necessarily realise it from Black Box's documentation but Mayumi Seiler's performances are reissues of her Virgin Classics recordings and they are still available in the catalogue. There are, on VBD5615042, both these concertos, the Beethoven and the two Haydn concertos, the ones in G and A.

In a hugely competitive market a newcomer's virtues must be obvious and indisputable. Seiler is an attractive player; her tone is silvery and she brings to the opening of the E minor a metrical flexibility which announces a performance of sensitivity and conviction. She is alert to dynamics, varying her tone and employing true pianissimi which never sound - as they all too often can - affected and self-regarding. She has a real chamber music instinct for musical give-and-take. I find the woodwind contributions in the first movement unnaturally spotlit. However that is, I suspect, the engineer's responsibility. There is also rather too much reverberation for optimum clarity of articulation. Nevertheless this is an engaging performance.

As befits a chamber music player of distinction -she studied with Sandor Vegh, and has played with the Nash and Schubert Ensembles - she is alert to the rather generic brio of the 1822 D minor concerto. She is not the most tonally opulent of players but is discerning and the conjunction of these two concertos is of rather more value than the endless Mendelssohn and Bruch discs which are so unavoidably popular. Hickox's pendant - an overture to finish the disc - is a solid, un-Beechamesque traversal of The Fair Melussina.

Black Box's disc can be played in the CD drive of a PC, taking one to a website with composer and soloist profiles and links to other sites. I have to say that when I tried it I didn't get very far but that may be teething troubles.

Jonathan Woolf

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