- Fantasia on Two Russian Themes, for violin & orchestra in B minor, Op. 33
- Suite de concert, for violin & orchestra, Op. 28
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Prized pupil of both Tchaikovsky and Anton Rubinstein, Sergey Taneyev's output has not figured into modern concerto programs as often as it should. It should be noted that Taneyev was born in 1856, not 1889 as listed on the album; managing his vast oeuvre alongside his busy playing career would have been nearly impossible in only 26 years! This Chandos album prominently features a piece that is performed live rarely, if ever: the "Suite de Concert for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 28." In it, Taneyev tips his hat to the many influences upon which his work draws. The form alone demonstrates his reverence for the Baroque, as do several of the dance movements taken directly from the Baroque suite, as well as his skilled use of counterpoint. But Taneyev was also a Romantic and occasionally drew from Russian folk idioms. All of these facets are combined in this underperformed jewel of the repertoire. The solo violin part is nothing short of a virtuoso tour de force that pleasingly incorporates moments of tenderness and sentimentality. Soloist Lydia Mordkovitch, alongside the Royal Scottish National Orchestra led by Neeme Järvi, offers a dazzling and pyrotechnic performance of Taneyev's expansive suite. Mordkovitch's playing is generally quite solid technically, although there are surprising moments in some of the slower moments where she seems to struggle to land large shifts. This album also includes Rimsky-Korsakov's "Fantasy on Russian Themes." Rimsky-Korsakov, a contemporary of Taneyev, was largely self-taught and produces a much more rustic, folk-like atmosphere in his composition. Mordkovitch does an equally admirable job here of delivering a spirited, pleasantly nuanced performance. Sound quality and balance between soloist and orchestra are excellent throughout.