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Reviews: Akiko Suwanai - Poeme

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Reviews: 3

Review by mwagner1962 June 6, 2005 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Before the other night I had never heard of Akiko Suwanai, and after a few days of listening, I am glad I HAVE heard of her!!! I have heard some of these pieces played live before, usually at pops concerts...and usually played with a lack of anything resembling a sense of care or feeling...

I do not want to sound sexist, but this gal can play!!!! She is playing on a borrowed Stradivarius, nicknamed "The Dolphin"...hmmmmm, I need to do a little research to see why this particular Strad is nicknamed after a fish. Needless to say, she gets a sound out of that Strad that is stunning!!!!

This music here is a collection of pieces that fall just short of "major" concertos (more like encore pieces) though Akiko Suwanai does them full justice!!!! Particularly, the Saint-Saens "Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso" and Ravel's "Tzigane" are top notch!!!

Ms. Suwanai plays with a great deal of warmth, personality, and maturity that allows her Strad to really sing!!!

The recording is top notch, with the violin a bit forward and the orchestra back a ways. The location is one of those semi cavernous halls that seem to dominate the UK, though praise be that this was not recorded in the dreadful Barbican. And a final THREE CHEERS to Phillips for making this a DSD and not just a PCM!!!!!!

Highly recommended!!!

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Review by gonzostick August 12, 2009 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
DO NOT MISS. Along with her disc of Sibelius and Walton, Ms. Suwanai's French recital with Charles Dutoit is a lovely success. The Chausson Poeme is ineffably beautiful and some of the saddest music ever written for a solo violin. This performance is one of the great ones.

The two Saint-Saëns works are played brilliantly with flying-bow strokes of bravura, delicacy, and fire to rival Heifetz. Yes, HEIFETZ. The fiendish acrobatics, as in her Walton Concerto on her other SACD (DO NOT MISS!!!), are tossed off so crisply that they are breathtaking. She must have studied the Heifetz recordings because she does some of that Master's trick of speeding up going into pyrotechnics, so as to land, firmly, on upcoming downbeats. In other words, artistic rubato is used for deliciously devious, but artistic means. I remember turning pages for the late pianist, Eugene Istomin, at a concert of the Stern-Istomin-Rose Trio, and he warned me that he always would speed up going into a bravura passage, to land squarely on the next downbeat with the trio. So it is, here.

The Ravel Tzigane is played brilliantly and Dutoit's conducting is the perfect support for his soloist.

Sonics are very good, 4.1, with no violin in the center channel. The image of Ms. Suwanai drifts, on some occasions, towards the left front speaker. As a matter of fact, the violin is a little closer than I would like, but with intonation, sweetness, and virtuosic brilliance like this on display, that is a very minor fault. That is why this does not get a 5-star rating.

BRAVO!!! This disc has gotten a lot of play in the last weeks since I got it. The Sibelius/Walton disc is also one that gets lots of play in my home, wide open, so Ms. Suwanai sounds like she is standing in the listening room. Too bad there are no more SACD's from this brilliant artist.

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Review by atolones September 23, 2014 (0 of 14 found this review helpful)
This SACD is out of print and thus very expensive (a shame!) because of speculation. Waiting for a SACD-R version. Go go go!

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