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Elgar & Finzi Violin Concertos

Ning Feng

Edward Elgar, Gerald Finzi

SKU: 40218

Year of release: 2018

Elgar - Concerto in B minor for Violin and Orchestra 51:37
1. I. Allegro Edward Elgar 18:40
2. II. Andante Edward Elgar 12:32
3. III. Allegro Edward Elgar 20:24
Finzi - Violin Concerto 19:28
4. I. Allegro Gerald Finzi 05:44
5. II. Molto sereno Gerald Finzi 09:46
6. III. Hornpipe Rondo - Allegro risoluto Gerald Finzi 03:57
Total time: 71:05

About this album

The violin was Edward Elgar’s own instrument and his Violin Concerto is
almost like a personal confession: it was ‘too emotional’, Elgar admitted,
adding that he loved it nonetheless. The solo part is one of the most
exhausting in the repertoire – a veritable compendium of bravura violin
techniques. In an interview, Fritz Kreisler, to whom the Violin Concerto is
dedicated, ranked Elgar with Beethoven and Brahms. Elgar met the
challenge: his Violin Concerto combines the singing quality of Beethoven with the symphonic drama of Brahms.

The London-born Gerald Finzi was in many ways more English than Elgar
and his teacher Ralph Vaughan Williams. As can be heard in his Violin
Concerto, a well kept secret from 1927, that had its first performance after
the premiere only in 1999. The work lasts twenty minutes: a six-minute
allegro, a superb central ten-minute molto sereno, and ending with a four-minute
hornpipe rondo. It is difficult to understand why Finzi was
dissatisfied with his two fast movements. The first combines beauty with
energy. Through its sheer romantic beauty, the molto sereno is one of
t hose pieces where the hairs stand up on the back of the neck.

from liner notes by Clemens Romijn

Download booklet



Gramophone Podcast

(...) the same orchestra (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) gives glorious support to Ning Feng in Gerald Finzi's Violin Concerto in an impressive new recording that has the Elgar concerto as coupling. (...)

MusicWeb International

Ning Feng is the subtle protagonist, a metrically flexible player whose dynamics are astutely judged and whose technique is up to the demands of the Elgar. His tone production is intriguing, his colouring and coiling of the line - his use of the right hand in particular in these respects – ear-catching in the extreme. His is a supple stylist too, capable of graphic delicacy and refinement, and very sweet toned indeed throughout the compass. He doesn’t avoid expressive shifts either, which is stylistically apt, nor does he make an especially big sound. He doesn’t cut through the orchestra like a rapier, preferring a certain plasticity in his lyricism.


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BBC Music Magazine

(...) a technically immaculate player (...) violinist Ning Feng is ideal in Elgar Violin Concerto is pin-point accurate and tingles with focused intensity (...) his deeply considered account of Elgar's Concerto is the real reason for buying this disc. Not a bar of it is uninvolving, and the recorded sound is excellent


(...) Then, in the cadenza, Feng's interpretation suddenly snaps into focus. He plays it ardently, evoking a rapt atmosphere that stands out from this otherwise overly sedate interpretation. (...) I very much like the delicate, tightly focused sound Feng brings to Finzi's early Violin Concerto (...)

De Gelderlander - 4 stars

(...) Elgar's Violin Concerto bursts of passion, especially by the emotional approach of Ning Feng. In an engaging way, he combines lyricism (Andante!) with bravura and it is excellently supported by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. (...) (...) De passie straalt er van af. Vooral in de emotionele aanpak van Ning Feng. Die combineert op een innemende wijze lyriek (Andante!) met bravoure en wordt daarbij voortreffelijk ondersteund door het Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra onder leiding van de Mexicaanse dirigent Carlos Miguel Prieto. (...)

Crescendo Magazine (BE)

...) Le violoniste chinois Ning Feng en donne ici une exécution des plus inspirées, fidèle à l’esthétique d’Edward Elgar (...)(

De Gelderlander

"Elgar's Violin Concerto bursts of passion, especially by the emotional approach of Ning Feng. In an engaging way, he combines lyricism (Andante!) ​w​ith ​bravura and it is excellently supported by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the ​baton of the Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto."

Opus Klassiek

(…) Ning Feng heeft in China een forse reputatie die door zijn optredens een toegevoegde waarde oplevert. Als daarmee de vioolconcerten van Elgar en Finzi onder de aandacht van een nieuw publiek komen is er een belangrijk doel bereikt. Bovendien is hij een prachtsolist, die uitstekend wordt gesecundeerd door Carlos Miguel Prieto (ook in Nederland geen onbekende) en het orkest van Liverpool. Een mooie toelichting van Clemens Romijn en een fraaie opname (geen super-audio) door Jared Sacks zorgen voor een eindproduct om trots op te zijn.

Audiophile Mag Italy

Performance: (…) a refreshingly old-world approach to matters of tempo and rubato (…) he varies the pace and note values, uses variable vibrato and an extensive range of tonal and dynamic shading to create a highly charged account of the score replete with the necessary noblimente and innigkeit. Sound: (…) the internal balance is excellent and Ning Feng isn’t too prominent. What is particularly impressive is the weight of sound, so the tuttis have real impact, as is the sense of projection and presence, all of which is achieved without any loss of clarity or detail, so you hear the different sections of the orchestra in climaxes and woodwind solos aren’t overly highlighted.

Luister 9

(...) elegant, doordacht, subtiel en vooral onnadrukkelijk beweegt hij zich als een gentleman door de muziek en laat die zo grotendeels voor zichzelf spreken. (Solist en dirigent lijken elkaar naadloos te vinden in deze muzikale benadering (...)

Technical Specifications

SpeakersGrimm LS1
Mastering EquimentPyramix
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
EditingJared Sacks
CablesVan den Hul
Mixing ConsoleRens Heijnis, custom design
MicrophonesBruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps
Recording Notes

Special thanks to Mr. Chong Long for his generosity and support for this recording.

Recording FormatDSD64fs
Analog To Digital ConverterDSD Grimm A/D 64fs - Pyramix Editing/Merging Technologies
Recording DateFebruary 2017
Recording LocationLiverpool Philharmonic Hall
Recording EngineerJared Sacks & Assistant recording engineers: Ausma Lace, Chris Tann (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)
ProductionJared Sacks