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POP MUSIC | Recordings

From Baritones to the 'Brazilian Bach'

Rumbling opera singers, a hotshot teen violinist and some radiant rarities are among the highlights.

May 30, 1999|MARK SWED

PAGANINI: Concerto No. 1 and various solo pieces

Ilya Gringolts, violin; Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vanska, conductor

BIS

***

It looks like we will have to make room for yet another teenage violinist. Gringolts, who was born in 1982, comes from St. Petersburg, Russia. He has the patronage of Itzhak Perlman, and he has all the technique in the world. His publicity is filled with the usual baloney about a remarkable maturity for his age.

Forget all that. This is show music, and what Gringolts' genuinely exciting debut disc has in abundance (and what is so rare in your average prim-and-proper prodigy) is teenage testosterone. He plays this music with the sole intention of bowling you over with his fingers and charm. The tone is strong and leaps to life fresh and new.

Who knows if Gringolts will develop into one of the greats of our age? That's for time to tell. What's so thrilling here is just the opposite--he plays like there is no tomorrow. Orchestral and piano (Irina Ryumina) accompaniment are first-rate, and the recorded sound has the juice to take full advantage of this hopped-up young fiddler.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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