Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 7
Sound Quality: 9
Eldbjorg Hemsing is clearly a talented player, and there’s nothing serious wrong with these performances. It’s just that they don’t rise to the level of the competition. In the Dvorák concerto, perhaps there’s just a touch of heaviness in the finale, less the responsibility of the soloist than that of the underwhelming Antwerp Symphony under less than energized Alan Buribayev. Ultimately this hardly compares with the recent Tetzlaff/Storgards release of this same coupling (of major works) on Ondine, never mind the Mutter/Honeck scorching account of the Dvorák on DG.
The Suk Fantasy is such a wonderful piece, and it makes a better impression, if only because it’s less well known and seems to inspire both soloist and orchestra to more enthusiastic advocacy. However, I doubt this will be sufficient to recommend the disc as a whole, despite typically excellent engineering. The encore, an effective orchestration of Suk’s Liebeslied, does nothing to change this overall assessment. A few years ago, this might have earned a recommendation, but the times are what they are, and there’s no reason you should settle for second best.
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