Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto [32:00]
Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerto No. 1 [22:00]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Three Humoresques (1, 2, 5) [9:36]
Vilde Frang (violin)
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Thomas Søndergård
rec. live, 11-13 March 2009, Rhein-Sieg-Halle, Siegburg. DDD
WDR co-production with support from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.
EMI CLASSICS 6844132 [63:56]

Vilde Frang was born in Norway in 1986. She studied at Oslo’s Barratt-Due Institute of Music and later with Kolja Blacher at the Hamburg Musikhochschule. A student of Ana Chumachenco, she holds a scholarship at the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. Her debut was made at the age of ten with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra when she was engaged by Mariss Jansons to perform with the Oslo Philharmonic. The Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin she plays is on loan from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Freundeskreis Stiftung, which has sponsored her since 2003.

This disc is much more than a debut calling card. It certainly transcends the elfin-sultry image of the soloist conjured by EMI’s promotional directorate. The recording quality is stunningly natural and transparent. You can hear every line of the scores.

Frang really nails the Sibelius concerto. Every note seems ineluctably in place and yet there is a springy spontaneity about the playing. She may lack the leonine fruity tone of an Oistrakh or indeed of a Mutter but her line rather like that of Kyung-Wha Chung is of a rare purity and spun silver. The Prokofiev is a natural coupling and again Frang’s sound and approach is just as adroit as in the Sibelius work. She catches the predominant eerie-macabre aspect of the piece with great attention to detail and to the longer span. Her playing touches off the character this wonderful fairytale score. The Humoresques are also superbly done and the Fifth rivals Rosand’s classic version though that Vox version does at least offer all six.

Criticisms: well there was plenty of room for the other three Sibelius Humoresques but at least they included the irresistible fifth.

Good notes from David Gutman.

We will be grievously unfortunate if we hear nothing further from Vilde Frang.

Rob Barnett