Album review: Isabelle Faust, Bartók: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 (Harmonia Mundi)


Bartók's two violin concertos were composed three decades apart, and Isabelle Faust here skilfully brings out the contrasts between youth and maturity, particularly in her detailed attention to the composer's instructions regarding phrasing and articulation in the “Violin Concerto No. 1”. Terms such as “utterly desolate”, “always volatile”, “dreamlike” and “exhausted” hint at the emotional tenor of a work written in romantic fever, which moves from the blissful serenity of the first movement to the more playful, teasing disposition of the second, which presages his later spikier, more angular style. The “Violin Concerto No. 2” is a masterpiece given its head by Faust, the captivating, rhapsodic opening passage heralding a remarkable performance.

Download: Violin Concerto No 1; Violin Concerto No 2