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Posted October 1, 2010
Sarah Chang made this recording of both the Mendelssohn and Sibelius concerti with Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic in 1998 and at that time she was a rising star, one that encouraged many to collect her work. This recording is one that sits on the shelf as it is surpassed by the many other recordings of these popular concerti by other violinists. While this recording is not bad, it lacks life and depth, settling for surface and not for insight.
Now some 11 years later Chang's Mendelssohn (at least) has shown little growth. In a week of performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under guest conductor James Conlon, Chang continues to be a notable stage presence whose body language would indicate she is probing the concerto's secrets. Yet the performances are still on the surface - more facile than intuitive. If the public is waiting for a repeat recording of the Mendelssohn, be satisfied with this CD: nothing is much different from this winsome lass. She plays well and everything is in place, but the tone and the feeling are still on the surface. Pretty, but... Grady Harp,