- Violin Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 27
- Violin Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 43
Topping the list of violin concertos that many listeners have likely never heard or even known existed -- but should -- are the two concertos of Erno von Dohnányi. Though much of Dohnányi's output is mysteriously absent from concert halls, the exclusion of the violin concertos is particularly perplexing. Sharing much more in common with late German Romantics like Brahms than his Hungarian compatriots like Kodály and Bartók, Dohnányi's writing here is not only totally accessible, but compelling and captivating. They are virtuoso works to be sure, but never sacrifice melody or color in favor of overt demonstrations of technique. The orchestration provides brilliant, swelling tuttis while always getting out of the way for the solo violin. Performing these two gems for the Naxos label are violinist Michael Ludwig and the sensational Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of JoAnn Falletta. Ludwig's playing encapsulates everything these concertos demand: a total command of technique capable of delivering virtuosic demands without making them seem like technical exercises; a sweet, honeyed sound across the range of the instrument; intuitive musical sensibilities; and a thorough academic understanding of the score. This album is absolutely worthy of a spot in any collection of violin concertos.