Arabella Steinbacher, Orchestra De La Suisse Romande, Et Al : Mendelssohn & Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos


96kHz/24-bit FLAC*, Pentatone PTC5186504 (supplied by

Many young soloists have made their debut recordings in one or other of these works. Arabella Steinbacher – whom we associate more with 20th century concertos – says she’s never previously felt the need to record either until she began working with Charles Dutoit (there’s a 2009 Tchaikovsky video from Tokyo on YouTube). The problem is that she tends to slow the music to show off her beautifully cultivated sounds with the 1716 Stradivarius, although Dutoit could hardly be more accommodating. So I much prefer his 1983 Decca CD coupling with Kyung-Wha Chung, whose playing is utterly selfless (and the Mendelssohn finale has an elfin lightness). Although from Victoria Hall Geneva, the sound is nothing special and the winds seem boosted in the Tchaikovsky Canzonetta. At €26.50, DSD is an option at CB

Sound Quality: 70%

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Spectral evidence points to a tortuous path taken by this ‘96kHz’ download: beginning with an SACD/DSD file or rip [green trace, above] that’s downsampled to 88.2kHz, limiting bandwidth to 40kHz, then upsampled to 96kHz! PM