Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op 61; Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor, Op 26

Reviewed on Mon 19 Feb, 2018

In the Elgar concerto Rachel Barton Pine has plenty to offer in terms of fresh-faced commitment and sheer generosity of spirit; indeed, her contribution evinces a most beguiling sense of newly-minted discovery.

Rachel Barton Pine lends enviably stylish, articulate and communicative advocacy to both these masterworks, and receives admirably alert, pliable and enthusiastic support from the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton. If the performance of the Elgar doesn't necessarily efface memories of 'golden oldies' from the incomparable Albert Sammons (still untouchable in its devastating emotional candour, silken tone and entrancing poise) or Alfredo Campoli (whose memorably unforced partnership with Boult distils a hugely endearing fireside glow), Pine has plenty to offer in terms of fresh-faced commitment and sheer generosity of spirit. Indeed, her contribution evinces a most beguiling sense of newly-minted discovery – though at times the last ounce of intimacy remains elusive. The ever-sympathetic Litton likewise uncovers much stimulating detail within Elgar's miraculously subtle orchestral canvas. The Bruch, too, comes up as fresh as new paint, its slow movement especially affecting. Everything has been realistically captured by the Avie microphones within the BBC SO's Maida Vale home under the watchful supervision of producer Andrew Keener. An altogether most enjoyable coupling.
–Andrew Achenbach