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Valeriy Sokolov, a major new talent makes his mark on established classical music masters.
Composer: Tchaikovsky, Bartók
Repertoire: Violin Concerto (Tchaikovsky); Violin Concerto No.2 (Bartók)
Artists: Valeriy Sokolov (vln), Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman
Label: Virgin Classic 6420170
The Music: An unusual combination of concertos linked by rejection! In Tchaikovsky’s case, the Hungarian Leopold Auer took two years to decide he didn’t want to play it because it was too difficult, but Bartók’s unrequited love for his chosen violinist meant she turned down both the man and his music.
The Performance: This is only Sokolov’s third CD, but from the outset, you know you’re in confident hands. With commanding entries and beautiful phrasing, the sheer eloquence of his playing is a joy with the orchestra responding beautifully. His performance of Bartók’s Second Concerto is a revelation. After the opening urgent Hungarian rhythms played with easy flair, the second movement’s hushed intensity takes your breath away, until the thrill and dynamism of the third movement keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The Verdict: I’m always a little wary when promising young musicians are labelled as ‘the next big thing’, but clearly Sokolov has a remarkable talent. His lovely tone, communicative style and excellent technique makes this a compelling listen.