Bruch, Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos (2013)

Bruch, Tchaikovsky

Ning Feng

Yang Yang

Violinists visiting Max Bruch to play him his 1st Violin Concerto (the violin concerto, though he wrote three) were chased away by the composer, who shouted that he had written a lot more than just that. The great success of this delightful piece has cast a shadow over his other music. And those who know the work – or hear it for the first time – understand only too well why, for it is rightly one of the most popular of allromantic violin concertos. However, Bruch another work for violin and orchestra which is perhaps even more special. For the soloist it is technically more more difficult than the 1st Violin Concerto, and it is a free fantasy rather than a traditional threemovement concerto. It is the Scottish Fantasy op. 46 for violin and orchestra (1880), written for the legendary virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, a Spaniard who spent his entire life in France. Shortly before, Edouard Lalo had composed his exotic and daredevil Symphonie Espagnole (1875) for De Sarasate. This is another strange mixture of symphony, solo concerto an suite. Bruch hesitated to use the title fantasy’, since this is usually a rather short piece in free form,  while he had written a considerable work lasting half an hour, with a range of contrasting moods.
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Ning Feng

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition, following in the footsteps of violinists such as Kavakos, Kremer and Accardo.

Established at the highest level in China, Ning Feng performs regularly in his native country in recital, with their many local orchestras, and with major touring orchestras. Now based in Berlin and performing worldwide, Ning Feng has developed a reputation internationally as an artist of great lyricism and emotional transparency, displaying tremendous bravura and awe-inspiring technical accomplishment.

In recent seasons Ning has performed with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer, Russian State Symphony/Vladimir Jurowski, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Tang and in halls such as Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Great Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and Beijing’s NCPA. In recital he has played in prestigious series and festival such as Vancouver Recital Series and Hong Kong International Chamber, Prague Spring, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals.

In the 2013/14 season, Ning’s orchestral engagements include his debut with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra with Ivan Fischer, a return to the Hong Kong Philharmonic/van Zweden both in Hong Kong and Taipei, his debut with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra/Carneiro and concerts in China, Singapore, Taiwan and Macau with the Kaoshing Symphony and NCPA Orchestras. In recital, Ning Feng will perform in cities such as Hong Kong, Moscow, Boston and across China, and with Igor Levit and Sebastian Klinger he will perform piano trios across Germany, including at the Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg and Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festivals. Other festival appearances include his return to the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Kissinger Sommer Festival where he performs every year and where he will be an Artist-in-Residence in 2014.

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His most recent recording of the solo sonatas by Bartok, Prokofiev and Hindemith was released in August 2013. His previous disc, Solo, featuring works by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others, received a first-class review by Audiophile Audition: “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot. This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers… and there are really few violinists who are able to pull it off. Ning Feng is one of those who can, not only for his sterling playing but also because of the rabid intelligence behind the selection of pieces here. None of these works is anything less than enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. Milstein’s arrangement of the Paganiniana has never been bettered… this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible.” His recording of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will be released later in 2013.

Ning Feng plays a 1721 Stradivari violin, known as the ‘MacMillan’, on private loan, kindly arranged by Premiere Performances of Hong Kong.

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

For more than 65 years the Deutsches Symphonie- Orchester Berlin (DSO Berlin) has distinguished itself as one of Germany’s leading orchestras. The number of renowned Music Directors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music, makes the ensemble unique. It was founded in 1946 as the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester by the broadcasting station in the American sector of Berlin. In 1956 the orchestra was renamed the Radio Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (RSO Berlin), and in 1993, to avoid confusion in Berlin’s newly reunited cultural landscape, the orchestra decided to relinquish its familiar name in favour of its present one.

Ferenc Fricsay became the orchestra’s first Music Director. He set the standard and defined the repertoire. The orchestra’s sound was characterized by transparency, structural clarity and plasticity. It quickly became well known for its commitment to 20th century music, and its ability to attract first-rate conductors. In 1964, Lorin Maazel took on the artistic responsibility for the orchestra. He was succeeded by Riccardo Chailly (1982-89), Vladimir Ashkenazy (1989-99), Kent Nagano (2000-06) and Ingo Metzmacher (2007-10). Since the start of the 2012-13 season the 34-year-old Ossetian conductor Tugan Sokhiev is DSO Berlin’s new Music Director. He has already held the title of Music Director Designate since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and its history have become emblematic of the democratic and cultural renewal of Germany following the defeat of National Socialism and the end of World War II. That is how the orchestra has been perceived at its concerts in Berlin and on tours throughout Germany and the rest of Europe, North and South America, and in the Near, Middle and Far East. Its groundbreaking radio and recording productions have further solidified this image. In 2011 the orchestra was awarded a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Recording.

bio & photo: from booklet 38116 (Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, Channel Classics)

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Bruch, Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos (2013)

Bruch, Tchaikovsky

Ning Feng

    Nederlands Dagblad -

(…) beide werken krijgen een uitstekende vertolking (…) De jonge violist heeft diverse prijzen gewonnen, deze cd laat horen hoe terecht dat is.

    Colin Anderson (Classical Ear)

(...) Recorded with immediacy and bloom (…) the Scottish Fantasy, is one of life’s mysteries, something confirmed by Ning Feng’s gracious reading and hip-swinging, tonic-giving enthusiasm.


(...) Ning Feng hat einen betörend duftenden Geigenton (...) dieße Einspielung macht Spaß (...)

Bruch, Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos (2013)

Bruch, Tchaikovsky

Ning Feng

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm DSD AD converter
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B+W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Ton Russbuldt
Recording location: Teldex Studio Berlin
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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34913: Bruch, Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos
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Introduction - Grave
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Adagio cantabile
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Scherzo - Allegro-Adagio
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Andante sostenuto
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Finale - Allegro guerriero
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Allegro moderato
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Canzonetta - Andante
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Finale - Allegro vivacissimo
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