Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35
Sérénade mélancolique, Op. 26
Valse – Scherzo, Op. 34
Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42
Julia Fischer, violin
Yakov Kreizberg, conductor
[re-release of 2006 recording]

Pentatone SACD
Purchase via Pentatone Music iTunes


2007 Gramophone Artist of the Year

BBC Music Magazine, Best Recording of Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Best of 2006, Audiophile Audition

Best Recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto

Best Recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (

Echo Klassik Award, Best Instrumental Performance of 2007

Editor's Choice, Gramophone Magazine (April 2007)

Financial Times Critics Choice


For any recording to be successful, both the soloist and orchestra must be riding the wave of Tchaikovsky's exulted imagination. This is achieved wholeheartedly in an impeccable interpretation by Julia Fischer – remarkably only 22 years old ­at the time – and the Russian National Orchestra. Fischer maintains the rich sonority that is so integral her playing, even under the most relentless technical pressure, whilst conductor Yakov Kreizberg leads the Russian National Orchestra masterfully in what becomes almost a race for expression between orchestra and soloist.

BBC Music Magazine

For a winning combination of these, with all the once-traditional cuts opened out, complemented by first-rate engineering (especially in SACD surround-sound) and unbeatable couplings... Julia Fischer's 2006 recording (made, remarkably, when she was only 22) with the late Yakov Kreizberg and the Russian National Orchestra quickly establishes itself as a front-runner. More than any other violinist, Fischer retains the tonal core of her sound both at speed and under even the most relentless technical pressure. There are passages in the finale - not least the last mad dash to the finishing line - in which even some of the most illustrious names in the violin firmament sound under pressure: the tone thins slightly, bow contact and intonation become a little sketchy, rapid string-crossing and position-changing lose their absolute poise. Yet Fischer, taking flight with the best of them, retains her composure with apparently nonchalant ease, tossing off the notorious rapid descent from a super-top D (and back again) with stunning precision and, conversely, abandonment. Kreizberg and his crack Russian band stick with her all the way, creating the thrilling sensation on occasion of soloist and orchestra jostling for position.


A magnetic performance, full of character...

BBC Music Magazine

Fischer always knows when to lighten the mood, or how best to judge the tension and release of a musical paragraph, and in this she is supported to the hilt by a personable but never too overbearing Russian National Orchestra under the baton of Yakov Kreizberg, likeable from the opening string phrase.... There isn’t an aspect of any of these works in which this world-class virtuoso fails to excel. Pentatone’s hybrid CD/SACD is superbly natural in both formats, with some understated spotlighting of the characterful orchestral woodwind.

Financial Times

Of all the young violinists to have recently emerged on the world's concert platforms Fischer stands out... Her musical maturity is spread across her Tchaikovsky, the latest in a line of concertos she has recorded for this Dutch label. The performance [is] flawless in tone, technique and taste....

Julia Fischer seems to have a nearly endless supply of élan on her new Tchaikovsky disk. She is a violinist of rare style, producing even and balanced tone throughout the range of her 1750 Guadagnini instrument.... Yakov Kreizburg, directing the wonderfully smooth Russian National Orchestra, proves an excellent foil for Fischer and is more than a mere accompanist...

Fanfare magazine

There are any number of reasons to like this CD. Foremost among them, of course, is the impeccable beauty and accuracy of Julia Fischer’s playing.... It’s a beautiful performance, reinforced by Kreizberg’s sensitive accompaniment and a more beautiful-sounding wind section than I thought I’d ever hear in a Russian orchestra. Another reason to like this disc is PentaTone’s sonics... Highly recommended.

The Independent, London

...a recital as notable for the sensitivity of its accompaniment as it is for the depth of thought in the solo line. Yakov Kreizberg pulls the orchestra to its feet and makes the players dance.

The talent of Julia Fischer is so awesome, her reading of this ‘old warhorse’ so fresh, so full of fire and vitality and wistful tenderness, and articulation, a model of clarity, that I unhesitatingly place it up with the finest interpretations.... Imaginative, intelligent programming further lifts this album.


Julia Fischer brings fearsome concentration to a concerto that is so often an excuse for self-indulgence. She also brings absolute control of colour and tone…. Kreizberg and the fabulous Russian National Orchestra provide superb support. [Fischer] is characterful in every phrase, with a sparkle and a sense of fantasy in virtuoso passages and an inner intensity in the intimate lyrical sections. [She] is greatly helped by the conducting of Kreizberg with the Russian National Orchestra, which is both taut and sympathetic....

The talent of Julia Fischer is so awesome, her reading of this ‘old warhorse’ so fresh, so full of fire and vitality and wistful tenderness, and articulation, a model of clarity, that I unhesitatingly place it up with the finest interpretations.... Imaginative, intelligent programming further lifts this album.


[a] lyrical, virtuoso recording of Tchaikovsky’s famous Violin Concerto in D... The sound of [Fischer’s] 1750 Jean Baptitste (Giovanni Battisa) Guadagnini violin is spun gold...The recorded sound is warm, rich, and full, with excellent presence... This is as fine a recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto as can be had, and surely the best in the SACD format.

[The] heartfelt expression from the superb woodwinds and Fischer would be enough to melt anyone's aversion to Tchaikovsky. The care which Kreizberg moulds the opening is wonderful… The strings slink in and take over from the woodwind in a manner that Karajan would have approved of … really quite marvellous. The finale is, as one would expect from these musicians’ other recordings, tremendously exciting.... One feels as the final chord dies away, cheated that there is no roar of applause that there surely would have been had this been a concert performance - that it was not speaks volumes about the electricity that these artists generate.


Pentatone's new SACD of Tchaikovsky featuring their super-star violinist Julia Fischer is a knock-out. She plays impeccably with remarkable sensitivity and abundant virtuosity, abetted by the fine orchestra conducted by Kreizberg. [The] sonic quality is stunning. Highly recommended!

Classics Today

This... certainly belongs on anyone's short list of truly outstanding versions [of Tchaikovsky’s First Violin Concerto]. It has everything: transcendent virtuosity, tons of excitement in the finale, and…a soloist with both taste and a personal sound that allows her to make the music her own.... If you're looking for a splendid new Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto that offers superior artistic values and excellent SACD surround sonics, this is definitely the one to get.

Audiophile Audition

Fischer makes the most of Tchaikovsky's repeats in the last movement, and her suave approach and often dynamic, facile runs may remind auditors of what Nathan Milstein could accomplish in this concerto, although he rarely had the engineering so good... Even those long sated by the market's offerings of the Violin Concerto may gravitate to this handsomely mounted recording...

Dallas News

This new [recording] from German violinist Julia Fischer, still in her early 20s, is an ear-opener. There's a refreshing forthrightness to her playing, a welcome unwillingness to sentimentalize music quite able to speak for itself. And her virtuosity in the finale sounds utterly effortless. She meets her match in Yakov Kreizberg and the Russian National Orchestra, who admirably balance unforced tautness and expressivity... Radiant performances captured in state-of-the-art SACD sonics.

From the soloist’s rapt entry at the start of the work to the wonderful sweep of the first tutti (note the thrilling trumpets) this is a spell binding performance and one that stresses the lyrical beauty of the score. Julia Fischer brings out all the beauties of the solo part, often using a subtle rubato that, while never impeding the forward momentum of the music, allows every phrase to tell. The cadenza is a miracle of both precision and imaginative fantasy... The very fast ending is quite breathtaking and would, I am sure, bring any concert audience to its feet... It need hardly be said that PentaTone¹s of the highest quality, matching these most musical of performances and capturing them in glorious sound.

What They’re Saying

"They played with such captivating beauty that the audience let out an involuntary sigh of pleasure at the end."

Evening Standard, London