Review By Derek Warby,MusicWeb International,November 2008
This CD introduces a new name to me—the soloist Michael Ludwig. He seems to be quite a find. His sound isn’t the largest or most robust but his playing is musicianly and very secure. He is superbly accompanied by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by one of the leading female conductors, the American JoAnn Falletta. The warm and spacious sound of Glasgow’s Henry Wood Hall will be well known to Naxos collectors and the recording is as good as one could wish, making this disc an invaluable one for lovers of Romantic and post-Romantic violin concertos.
Review By mg,Café Momus,October 2008
A Naxos kiadta Dohnányi két hegeduversenyét, amerikai karmesterrel és szólistával, skót zenekarral. Dicséretes, tiszteletre méltó tett. Ha nem lenne jellemzo a kiadó szinte minden lemezborítójára az olcsó, minden komolyabb vizuális elképzelést nélkülözo tipográfia és képi elrendezés, azt gondolhatnánk, nem egy kiemelt kiadvány ez a Naxos életében. Hogy ez mennyire célt tévesztett gondolat lenne, azt az is bizonyítja, hogy a lemez egy Dohnányi muveit csokorba szedo széria része.
Review By ,Ritmo,October 2008
Review By Jerry Dubins,Fanfare,September 2008
Between the eruptions of volcanic pyrotechnics [in Dohnányi's D-Minor Concerto] are moments of soaring lyrical beauty to melt the heart.
I'm embarrassed to admit that this was my first encounter with the D-Minor Concerto, and I was absolutely bowled over by it. …I'm hard-pressed to think of another violin concerto this one resembles. … Dohnányi's D-Minor Concerto is unique and uniquely beautiful. …This is violin-playing that has to be heard to be believed.
Review By Richard A. Kaplan,Fanfare,September 2008
I truly can't understand why much of the music of Ernő Dohnányi remains outside the international mainstream repertoire: it is melodious; harmonically lush, with a distinctly post-Brahmsian flavor seasoned, if you will, with a dash of paprika; gloriously orchestrated; often delightfully tongue-in-cheek; and superbly crafted. …The First Violin Concerto (1915) offers a splendid example of Dohnányi at the height of his powers. A four-movement work composed in 1915 on the scale of the Beethoven and Brahms concertos (who else, other than Elgar, had written a 40-minute violin concerto?), it features all the hallmarks of Dohnányi's major works: big tunes, a witty and technically formidable Scherzo as well as a ravishing slow movement, and, in the finale,
This disc is my first encounter with the playing of violinist Michael Ludwig, and he has the requisite chops to handle Dohnányi's demanding solo parts comfortably, if not effortlessly. … anyone seriously interested in the violin or in post-Romantic music should have at least one version of each of these concertos. more....
Review By Harry Rolnick,The Classical Music Network,August 2008
The second violin concerto, which has been recorded several times, hardly fits into any category. At first, you think of Brahms, but the melodies are a bit too sweet. Then Max Bruch, but hardly as saccharine. The concerto is “well-made”, like so many late 19th Century virtuoso works, but this was md-20th-century. What we do find, under Mr. Ludwig, is a piece of late romanticism, which begins with a cadenza, and continues with two or three more dazzling solos, along with the most lush soaring themes. The following movement, less than four movements long, is a bumptious romp. (The double-stopping centre is close to a Brahms Hungarian dance, but hardly Hungarian.) The last two movements bear all the tricks of the well-trained composer, including several delightful
That work, written in Florida, is supposedly more “mature”. But give me the first concerto, written in 1915! The atmosphere is more mysterious, the tunes a bit stranger, the orchestral atmosphere a bit swampy, almost cinematic. Of course “movie music” wasn’t composed until 18 years later, so the atmosphere starts with true originality. By the time of the finale, one feels again that this is merely a well-constructed work, working in various fugues and canons. Dohanányi, though, does have a wonderful way with solo orchestra instruments, and his little obbligati for winds give it as much color as the violin itself. To me, the most stunning part of the whole disk is a cadenza at the end of this concerto accompanied first by solo French and then an orchestral fugato as Mr. Ludwig plays above it. Michael Ludwig is no ordinary soloist. Now First Chair with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, he has managed to fit in concertos with the Chicago and Philadelphia orchestra, with recitals around the world and several recordings. I have never heard him live, but he is obviously not afraid to take chances with his repertory. Nor does he stint on his playing, which is broad, bravura when necessary, and with a grand sweep. His virtuosity is evident in both works here.
The Royal Scottish Orchestra well deserves its sobriquet, with soaring horn calls, a classic trumpet solo in the second concerto, some liquid winds, and, under JoAnn Falletta, a conductor who gives as much verve to her orchestra as her soloist gives to the music.
The recording by Naxos is well focused, and the program notes by Keith Anderson—Naxos’ very first annotator—are, as always, informative and detailed. Not that the music needs such detail. It is as accessible as Bruch, as rich at times as Brahms, and has enough fireworks to inspire both soloist and audience.
Review By Paul Sayegh,The Virginian-Pilot,August 2008
Falletta, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s music director, revels in this late-Romantic sound world, skillfully supporting her soloist while maintaining a strong hold on musical structure. Ludwig is simply spectacular, playing with absolute security, gorgeous tone and a feel for the music that suggest he has fully absorbed it.
The music is sure to appeal to anyone who has a taste for Brahms, with a healthy sprinkling of Wagner and early Richard Strauss thrown in. It is lushly orchestrated and richly melodic in a way that makes you want to keep listening.
A disc to be enjoyed again and again.