Musical Opinion

The distinguished violinist writes on discovering a rarely-heard work and her approach to recording it in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

I love how nowadays one has the luxury of choosing an optimal acoustic to capture every shade of a performance as if in a recording studio. Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, arguably the U.K.’s finest concert hall with its plethora of moveable acoustic panels, delivers just that. It’s ideal.
It inspires you to dig deep into your instrument but also lets the sound soar and envelop you completely. There is nothing constructed or added in the warmth of the tone and being able to make the most of this during a recording is pure bliss. I’ve always tried to record in natural acoustics because I think they simply make you play better; for me it’s almost impossible to recreate the same emotion and atmosphere in a lifeless soundproofed box.
For the Paganini/Wolf-Ferrari project I have finally experienced recording with an orchestra. It is in fact my debut Concerto disc for Deutsche Grammophon, following Paganini’s 24 Caprices for solo violin and Beethoven’s complete sonatas for violin and piano in three volumes with my longtime duo partner Francesca Leonardi. I found it daunting, but also exciting, as for the first time I perceived how it felt to completely depend on the producer, recording team, conductor and orchestra for the final result. For my previous recordings I felt in control of every minute and every detail, discussed musical and technical issues with the producer but ultimately calculated my strength and paced the sessions according to my needs.