Bartók, Violin Concertos 1/2, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, D. Harding
(released on August 13, 2013)
HMC 902146 | 57'59"
Faust generally makes up for indulging in this kind of delicacy with a vocal garrulousness in the fast movements, often at dizzying tempi (the finale of no. 2, for example), which still feels more urgent than rushed (a quality also observed in her Schumann sonatas). The German violinist continues to rise in my estimation, after a fine Beethoven set and her solo Bartók recording. You can hear some of her thoughts on these concertos in her interview with John Clare (MP3). Among the best of other recent recordings, Faust contends with James Ehnes with Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos), packaged with the Viola Concerto, which is a nice touch; Arabella Steinbacher with Marek Janowski and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Pentatone); and Thomas Zehetmair with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which is more sharp-edged and the best in terms of both conductor and orchestra. Zehetmair is even a hair faster in the finale of no. 2, but his legato/pianissimo playing is not nearly as heart-melting as Faust's.