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“Works for Violin & Orchestra” = Music by TCHAIKOVSKY – Moonkyung Lee, v./London Sym. Orch./ Miran Vaupoticthe – Navona

“Works for Violin & Orchestra” = Music by TCHAIKOVSKY – Moonkyung Lee, v./London Sym. Orch./ Miran Vaupoticthe – Navona CD NV 6079, 57:40 (2/10/17) * 1/2:

Excellent violin performances but with a mediocre recording.

Navona Records has given us a very fine performance marred by a substandard recording. Soloist Moonkyung Lee gives her all in an enthralling violin performance with the London Symphony under the baton of Miran Vaupotic.

Ms. Lee performs extensively across Europe, the United States, and Korea. She has performed under the baton of Maxim Shostakovich, with Mischa Maisky on Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Austrian composer Ignaz Pleyel. She has studied at New England Conservatory, Yale University, and New York University. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Seoul.

I very much like her interpretation of this familiar Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, but the recording, in a word, (or three), is not very good. High frequencies seem constricted, blunting the sonorities of the violin and the rest of the orchestra. Frankly, I’ve heard recordings from the fifties that far exceed the quality of this disc. It’s a disappointment because the performance itself, both of Ms. Lee and the London Symphony are of a very high caliber.

The album also includes a performance of the Méditation, a piece originally written as a middle movement for the violin concerto before its inclusion as the first movement of the Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Memory of a dear place), Op.42. Lee chooses to perform an arrangement for violin and orchestra made by Glazunov in 1896. Finally, the disc finishes with the Sérénade mélancolique in B-flat minor, Op.26, Tchaikovsky’s first work for violin and orchestra.

Navona has a good  track record for quality recordings. This one was done at the Angel Studios in London, which is a fine recording venue. Of course I have no way of knowing what went wrong – was it the original tape, or did something go wrong during post production? It’s not an awful recording, but it’s not a good one either, There is just something wrong with the high frequencies. Whatever the reason I simply can’t recommend this recording which is a shame due to the fine musicianship on display.

—Mel Martin

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