Solo (2010)

Milstein, Tarrega, Berio, Paganini, Schnittke, Ernst, Kreisler

Ning Feng

Unlike the piano, the king of instruments, only a small percentage of works has been written for solo violin. As everyone knows, a piano recital is a recital for solo piano. A violin recital, however, is usually a duet for violin and piano. Since the violin is mainly a single-melody-instrument, it is always a special challenge for the violinist to study the solo works, simply because most of them comprise both the melodic line and the accompaniment normally given to the piano.....Although it was a tradition in classical music for centuries that performer and composer were one and the same person, this custom sadly faded in the twentieth century. But we are fortunate in having some of the greatest masters of the violin, including Kreisler, Heifetz and Milstein, who composed or arranged many pieces for their instrument. Although Kreisler composed few solo pieces except his cadenzas for a number of violin concertos, his Recitative and Scherzo-Caprice is surely one of the most popular pieces among all those famous Viennese desserts. And the Paganiniana by Milstein, so cleverly based on variations by Paganini, forms a violin master's tribute to the all-time iconic violinist.

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Ning Feng

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition, following in the footsteps of violinists such as Kavakos, Kremer and Accardo.

Established at the highest level in China, Ning Feng performs regularly in his native country in recital, with their many local orchestras, and with major touring orchestras. Now based in Berlin and performing worldwide, Ning Feng has developed a reputation internationally as an artist of great lyricism and emotional transparency, displaying tremendous bravura and awe-inspiring technical accomplishment.

In recent seasons Ning has performed with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer, Russian State Symphony/Vladimir Jurowski, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Tang and in halls such as Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Great Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and Beijing’s NCPA. In recital he has played in prestigious series and festival such as Vancouver Recital Series and Hong Kong International Chamber, Prague Spring, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals.

In the 2013/14 season, Ning’s orchestral engagements include his debut with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra with Ivan Fischer, a return to the Hong Kong Philharmonic/van Zweden both in Hong Kong and Taipei, his debut with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra/Carneiro and concerts in China, Singapore, Taiwan and Macau with the Kaoshing Symphony and NCPA Orchestras. In recital, Ning Feng will perform in cities such as Hong Kong, Moscow, Boston and across China, and with Igor Levit and Sebastian Klinger he will perform piano trios across Germany, including at the Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg and Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festivals. Other festival appearances include his return to the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Kissinger Sommer Festival where he performs every year and where he will be an Artist-in-Residence in 2014.

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His most recent recording of the solo sonatas by Bartok, Prokofiev and Hindemith was released in August 2013. His previous disc, Solo, featuring works by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others, received a first-class review by Audiophile Audition: “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot. This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers… and there are really few violinists who are able to pull it off. Ning Feng is one of those who can, not only for his sterling playing but also because of the rabid intelligence behind the selection of pieces here. None of these works is anything less than enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. Milstein’s arrangement of the Paganiniana has never been bettered… this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible.” His recording of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will be released later in 2013.

Ning Feng plays a 1721 Stradivari violin, known as the ‘MacMillan’, on private loan, kindly arranged by Premiere Performances of Hong Kong.

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Solo (2010)

Milstein, Tarrega, Berio, Paganini, Schnittke, Ernst, Kreisler

Ning Feng

    Opus Haute Définition (english)

The Chinese violinist Ning Feng, was the winner of the latest international Paganini competition. “On this recording,” states Ning Feng, “I have included modern pieces that are conventional and ‘easy to listen to.’ But, as is the case in all great modern art, they give us a new vision, allowing us to create a new sound image based on the violin.” In a remarkably refined sound recording that respects instrumental tone and acoustic space, the Chinese violinist allows his virtuosity, never heavy-handed or outrageous, to flourish by being at the disposition of a vibrant, inspired and poetic musical discourse. This SACD is essential and exceptional.

    Opus Haute Définition

Le violoniste chinois Ning Feng, était lauréat du dernier concours international Paganini. (…) “Dans cet enregistrement, souligne Ning Feng, j’ai inclus deux pièces modernes pour violon seul. Ces œuvres de Berio et de Schnittke ne sont pas des pièces conventionnelles et ‘faciles à écouter’. Mais comme tout grand art moderne, elles nous donnent une nouvelle vision, nous permettant de créer une nouvelle image sonore à partir du violon ». Dans une prise de son remarquable de finesse, respectant timbre instrumental et espace acoustique, le violoniste chinois laisse s'épanouir une virtuosité jamais appuyée, jamais outrée, mais bel et bien au service d'un discours musical vibrant, inspiré et poétique. Un SACD essentiel et rare. Jean-Jacques Millo

    Www. Opusklassiek

De 'duivelskunstenaar' Paganini hebben we helaas nooit gehoord, maar wel die breed uitgewaaierde violistengeneratie uit zowel de eerste als de tweede helft van de vorige eeuw die ons deelgenoot hebben gemaakt van hun onvoorstelbare virtuoze capaciteiten. (…) (…) Dat Ning Feng tot de grootste violisten behoort staat wat mij betreft buiten kijf. Zeker, door de twee cd's kan de schijn worden gewekt dat Feng 'alleen maar' een vioolvirtuoos is of wil zijn die de diepere kanten van de muziek langs zich heen laat glijden, maar het tegendeel is het geval, getuige de diepte die hij weet te bereiken in bijvoorbeeld Schnittkes ‘A Paganini’ (ook inhoudelijk een razend moeilijk stuk), Berio's Sequenza VIII en Ernsts grandioze bewerking van Schuberts Der Erlkönig. Als u dan bovendien weet dat Feng heeft gestudeerd bij o.a. Antje Weithaas , dan begrijpt u wel dat Fengs spel heel wat verder reikt dan virtuoos vertoon. Misschien maken we het zelfs nog mee dat Feng, in navolging van sommige grote violisten, zelf stukken voor viool solo gaat arrangeren, wat stellig een verrijking van het op dit vlak niet al te dik gezaaide repertoire zou kunnen betekenen. Heel bijzonder, deze uitgave!

    Gramophone

The highs and lows of the solo violin repertory are unashamedly showcased here: fortunately, it’s the highs that receive the lion’s share of disc time. Avoiding the stand-out 20th-century classic, Bartók’s Sonata, Ning Feng opts for Berio’s mesmerising Sequenza VIII and Schnittke’s marvellously mordant tribute A Paganini. Both are rendered with supreme virtuosity and, more importantly, with immense sensitivity to the musical shaping of line and the colouring of tone. (…) Display and Dexterity.

    Audiophile Audition

This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers. (...) None of these works is anything less that enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. (...) So this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible. It doesn’t hurt that the Channel surround sound is up to its usual standards, and even a solo violin sounds great this way.

Solo (2010)

Milstein, Tarrega, Berio, Paganini, Schnittke, Ernst, Kreisler

Ning Feng

Cables:Van den Hul
Digital Converters:Grimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer:Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment:B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones:Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board:Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer:Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer:Jared Sacks
Recording location:Deventer Holland 2011
Recording Software:Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate:DSD64
Speakers:Audiolab, Holland

Quality & Channel Selection Digitized at DSD64
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31210: Solo
01:02:30   Select quality & channels above
Tracks
1.
Paganiniana, Variations
Milstein
00:08:41   Select quality & channels above
2.
árrega - Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Tarrega
00:03:45   Select quality & channels above
3.
Sequenza VIII
Berio
00:15:23   Select quality & channels above
4.
Duet for One Violin in C major
Paganini
00:02:21   Select quality & channels above
5.
A Paganini
Schnittke
00:12:34   Select quality & channels above
6.
Der Erlkönig (Schubert) ? Grand Caprice op.26
Ernst
00:04:34   Select quality & channels above
7.
Recitativo and Scherzo ? Caprice
Kreisler
00:04:48   Select quality & channels above
8.
The last Rose of Summer (Etude no.6)
Ernst
00:10:24   Select quality & channels above

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