Akiko Suwanai (born in 1972) is one of the brightest violinists to have emerged in the late 20th century, winning the Tchaikovsky International Competition, the youngest person to do so, in 1990. She has gone on to an impressive concert and recording career that encompasses both traditional repertoire and world premieres. Her 2006 album J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos was an instant success. Her performance is impressive: incisive, nuanced, and idiomatic. Her tone has an appealing warmth, but she remains true to the character of the music and doesn't lapse into Romantic tone quality or interpretations.
Dvorák’s Violin Concerto has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts on disc, one that it entirely deserves. Its critics (starting with Joachim and Brahms) dismissed it for not adopting the usual sonata-form first movement structure, instead welding the truncated opening to the gorgeous slow movement. But really, how many violin concertos are there where you can really say that the best, most characterful and highly developed movement is the finale? And what could possibly be bad about that? Clearly Fischer and Suwanai understand where the music’s going: the performance gathers steam as it proceeds, and really cuts loose in that marvelous last movement. Suwani displays a characteristically polished technique and fine intonational ear (lending a lovely purity of utterance to the slow movement), but she’s not afraid to indulge in some “down and dirty” gypsy fiddling in the finale, or in the two Sarasate items that open the program.
If the violin is a star, then so, also, must the surround sound superaudio master on this recorded performance get star status. The engineers have done a beautiful job, and the home disc carries their full-frequency, warm, top-notch sound right into your home listening room. Bravo. Not only is the Strad caught well, so it the band (full, detailed), plus room touches to reinforce the tonal body (especially nice in Sibelius' low strings, for example).
Akiko Yano is a Japanese pop and jazz musician and singer. She was born Akiko Suzuki (鈴木 顕子 Suzuki Akiko) in Tokyo and raised in Aomori, Aomori, and later began her singing career in the mid-1970s. Her vocals and singing style have been compared to British singer Kate Bush.