BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto, Op. 61; DVORAK: Romance in f, Op. 11 – Michael Ludwig, violin/ Virginia Symphony/ JoAnn Falletta, conductor – Hampton Roads Classics 008, 59:48 ****:
This is a measured deliberate reading of the Beethoven that veers neither to the right nor to the left, treating the opus as the intellectual, classically modeled piece it is. Of all Beethoven’s music this is the one to me that most represents his achievement in conquering the classical testament inherited from teacher Haydn, and that of all his concertos most represents the pure imagery of a work that sets soloist against orchestra, not as competitor, but as companion. As such, the instrumentalist must achieve great control in this work—its virtuosity lies not in emblazoned showiness but in substantive checked passion.
Michael Ludwig has enjoyed no little acclaim of late and this recording should only add to that legacy. He plays a violin made by Lorenzo Storioni, one of the last Cremonese masters, and its sound is truly a marvel, burnished and as balmy as you could ask for. In the Dvorak his lyricism shines forth like a full moon on an autumn night in as lovely a rendering of this popular piece as you will ever hear.
Falletta as usual has her forces well under control in a recording that sometimes displays a little boxiness but nonetheless captures the fidelity very well. Evidently it was recorded in concert, but the audience must have been given stern instructions about the penalty that would follow any noisy intrusions, for you hear not a peep out of them. Enthusiastically recommended.
— Steven Ritter