New review in the Strad

The Strad Issue: September 2017
Description: Two exciting young soloists in the making – hear them here first
Musicians: LGT Young Soloists/Alexander Gilman
Composer: Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Glinka, Koussevitzky, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov
Catalogue Number: RCA RED SEAL 88985 43088

The LGT Young Soloists are essentially a very high-class youth string orchestra, many of the players already having starry CVs. Most of the eleven tracks on this CD are arranged by Paul Struck, and feature one or more of the players as soloist while the rest provide orchestral accompaniment. The soloists all share a richness of sound, caught close up in a resonant acoustic. Clearly they take the ‘soul’ part of Russian Soul to heart (as it were).

Together they make an impressive ensemble, as they demonstrate in Arensky’s Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, matching tonal beauty to careful, sensitive phrasing, and relishing the exuberance of its up-tempo outbursts. Of the solo performers, 18-year-old Elena Kawazu stands out in Efrem Zimbalist’s arrangement of themes from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel; she is a seriously fine violinist dispatching the pyrotechnics with high-octane technical accomplishment and enormous panache. There is virtuosity elsewhere, with 20-year-old violinist David Nebel giving a debonair account of Tchaikovsky’s Valse-scherzo op.34 – but this is not just a showcase for the dazzling. Some of the finest playing here is gentle, particularly from two 19-year-old violists: Silas Zschocke gives a rich, soulful account of Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile, and Benedetta Bucci demonstrates impressive sustained melodic playing in an elegant, fluent performance of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, imbued with tragedy.