Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Arabella Steinbacher plays Prokofiev

Probably no violinist makes a more beautiful sound than Arabella Steinbacher. On a new CD of Prokofiev works (the two violin concertos, plus the solo violin sonata) this can sound at times somewhat incongruous; this Prokofiev has expensive aftershave and neatly trimmed nails. One suspects that if and when played by Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Prokofiev would have mud on his boots and roots in Russian peasantry.

No matter; Steinbacher is technically highly proficient, the Russian National Orchestra under the admirable Vasily Petrenko is tunefully authentic, and Pentatone produces a well-engineered and well-balanced Super Audio sound. Steinbacher's 1716 Stradivari violin has us all bewitched for 64 minutes. An excellent new addition to the annals of these much-recorded works. I like Arabella, who is not just a pretty face.

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