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10 March 2014

“More please from this outstanding artist”: Reviews for Bruch & Tchaikovsky album

NFE Bruch & Tchaikovsky_Bruch & TchaikovskyGramophone, April 2014
“Ning Feng’s account of the Tchaikovsky is notably elegant. The fast, high passages sound wonderfully clear and pure, and the first movement, in particular, abounds in balletic grace – surely a part of the music’s essential character. In the cadenza, performed just as Tchaikovsky wrote it, without any of the little ‘improvements’ we often hear, he reveals a finely honed sense of timing, which also comes into play in the introductory solo to the finale; and as the finale gets under way, Feng’s liveliness and precision ensure an impression of real vivacity…

Ning Feng’s sensitivity bears fruit in a deeply poetic account of the introductory section to the Scottish Fantasy, his delicate, lonely presence contrasting beautifully with the solemn, gloomy orchestral setting. And he’s in his element with the virtuoso high jinks of the Scherzo and finale, tossed off without turning a hair.”

Crescendo, March 2014
“Ning Feng? Wasn’t he the violinist whose Stradivarius (worth £3 million) was seized at Frankfurt Airport last year because he didn’t have any papers with him? Correct. However, Ning Feng has now also proved that he is worthy of attention as a violinist above and beyond his customs difficulties thanks to his recording of the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. However many times Eduard Hanslick may have accused Tchaikovsky of music that ‘stinks to the ear’ with this work, the opposite is true here: Ning Feng’s performance offers a beguilingly fragrant violin tone – more so in the quieter lyric passages where he perfectly savours the long, purring bow strokes than in the powerful, pulsating sections, which could on occasion sound a little more energetic and demanding. However, this is a fun performance: certainly because these are two particularly beautiful works of the Romantic era, but also as a result of the Deutsche-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin’s alert, good-humoured playing.”, February 2014
“Ning Feng’s hushed playing in the opening ‘Introduction: Grave’ immediately establishes the stature of this performance and his lyrical outpourings in the piece’s slower sections, such as the gorgeous ‘Andante sostenuto’, do full justice to Bruch’s richly melodic writing. The final ‘Allegro guerriero’ opens at a fairly steady pace, but gradually builds in excitement thanks to Ning Feng’s dazzling playing and the fine support from Yang Yang and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Berlin.

The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto has received so many excellent recordings on both CD and SACD that one wonders whether there is any room left for another. The answer, based on this account from Ning Feng, is a resounding yes. He plays this work as if it were newly minted. Tempi in all three movements are spacious, possibly as a result of Feng’s insistence on clear articulation of the solo part and a reluctance to indulge in mere virtuosity at the expense of the work’s deeper musical values… Overall I was entirely convinced by the sheer beauty and musicality of his interpretation. The laser accuracy of Feng’s playing coupled with the bright timbre of his 2007 Stefan-Peter instrument makes this performance a gripping aural and musical experience.

However many recordings of these two works you have in your collection you should investigate this one – more please from this outstanding artist.”

Pizzicato, February 2014
“This 32-year-old violinist, who trained in his native country and with Antje Weithaas at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin and subsequently won numerous prizes, is certainly an exceptional talent. He impresses not only with his technical skill but also with a warm, inspired and consistently full and lyric tone, able to express great emotion. He offers a correspondingly romantic and sensitive performance of Bruch’s Scottish fantasy which retains a certain grandeur, not least thanks to the orchestra’s spirited playing.

The Canzonetta is beautifully played and the Finale (of the Tchaikovsky concerto) is a unique fireworks display for both soloist and orchestra with enchantingly charming slow passages.

The sound quality is clear, transparent, broad and opulent in surround.”