Jennifer Pike, Sir Andrew Davis, Bergen Philharmonic

Jennifer Pike, Sir Andrew Davis, Bergen Philharmonic

Sibelius: Violin Concerto

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(Chandos)

Here is an absolute whopper of a disc from Chandos. If you are an addict of Sibelius's Violin Concerto, you might already possess many recorded versions. Do not doubt and do not hesitate to add this one to your collection. Jennifer Pike plays it with all the urgency, passion and immediacy of the young woman she is. In the great slow movement, this translates into a kind of molten intensity which - at the end, as the violin curls skyward while the magnificent strings of the Bergen Philharmonic softly pulse away - will break your heart. And on top of that, it's a disc of wall-to-wall Sibelius hits, with Sir Andrew Davis in splendid form for the Karelia Suite (outer sections of Movement One slowed down), the Swan Of Tuonela (genuinely haunting cor anglais playing), a lovely Valse Triste, a blazing Finlandia and a few others. The increasingly impressive Bergen Philarmonic are terrific on this cracker of a set. Get it now.

Michael Tumelty