Brahms Violin Concerto - The Strad

Joseph Swensen's all-embracing rapport with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - of which he is principal conductor - is clear in this dynamic, charismatic and fiery performance of the Brahms Concerto, which he directs from the violin.

Orchestral support is always sensitive and polished and Swensen combines silky tone colours with effortless bravura and highly persuasive passion. The first movement positively glows and has a dazzling cadenza. The second has a wonderful sense of intimacy, Swensen sketching his lyrical lines with warmth and eloquence and the orchestra responding with equal tenderness. Joie de vivre and furious energy take hold in the final Rondo alla Zingarese and Swensen's every phrase sounds fresh and spontaneous, emphasised by the vivid, crisp and well-rounded recorded sound.

The selection of Brahms's Hungarian Dances are as colourful, fast-paced and brilliant as one could wish for, and under Swensen's powerful command the orchestra gives a fantastically spirited performance: a riotous finale to a thoroughly appealing disc.

The Strad
01 September 2004