The last recording I reviewed by Julia Fischer was her standout performance of the Paganini Caprices, where the performer was in splendid isolation, with nothing between her and her audience.
Here she performs wrapped in the embrace of rich orchestration, in concert works by Ottorino Respighi (Poema autunnale), Josef Suk (Fantasy in D minor), Ernest Chausson (Poème, Op 25) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (The Lark Ascending).
The Suk work runs to 25 minutes. At that length, and in its dramatic scope, it amounts to a virtual one-movement violin concerto. The other pieces are much shorter, at around 15 minutes each. None except for the ethereal Lark is heard much on stage nowadays.
Yet they all deserve a wide audience. The drama of both the Suk and the Chausson and the warmly evocative nature of the Respighi make fine companions for the Vaughan Williams. Perhaps the finest piece of all here is the Chausson work which gives its name to this collection. Its drama is indeed revealed within an intensely poetic setting. Fischer’s playing is of the highest calibre throughout the album, but for the Chausson she really makes her violin sing.
She plays an 18th-century instrument by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, who on this hearing deserves to be ranked alongside Del Gesù and Stradivarius. In Fischer’s hands the instrument is strong and supple, but with a mellowness at its core. The orchestral partnership from the Monte-Carlo ensemble under Yakov Kreizberg is the final layer in another fine achievement from this young virtuoso.