- Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
- Romance for violin & orchestra No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
- Romance for violin & orchestra No. 1 in G major, Op. 40
- Movement for violin & orchestra in C major (fragment) WoO 5
There are a number of reasons why anyone who loves Beethoven's "Violin Concerto" would want to hear this recording by violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Most importantly, Kopatchinskaja is one heck of a violinist. She has a fabulous technique that covers everything from triple stops to sixty-fourth note runs to legato lines that go on and on and on. She's got a scrumptious tone that encompasses everything from the purely lyrical to the warmly sensual. And she's got enormous musicality that suffuses everything with the kind of effortlessly commanding mastery that Kreisler was so good at projecting. Kopatchinskaja delivers a performance of unmatched and unfeigned freshness. She sounds like she's rethought the whole piece, and her interpretation challenges listeners to keep up. Another reason is that Kopatchinskaja also uses her own adaptations of the cadenzas Beethoven wrote for the violin concerto when he later recast it as a piano concerto. She not only dispenses with the aging Kreisler cadenza, but adds some truly mind-bending changes to the performance, including a linking passage from the second to the third movement, plus cadenzas in the finale. The biggest change, however, is in the first movement's cadenza, a hair-raising romp complete with timpani obbligato. For some listeners, the addition of these extraordinary cadenzas will be reason enough to make this recording mandatory listening. The inclusion of other infrequently recorded works, the two Romances for violin and orchestra, and the fragment from an uncompleted "C major Concerto," makes this disc even more attractive; the former receive reserved but passionate readings from Kopatchinskaja, while the latter gets an account of marvelous verve and zest, until it abruptly ends. Philippe Herreweghe and Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, with their characteristically pungent sound and sharply molded ensemble, give the soloist sufficient support, plus more than enough challenge. Naïve's clean but evocative sound allows the performance to emerge with stunning clarity.