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Ray Chen - Mozart: Violin Concertos & Sonatas / Limelight review

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Ray Chen's rise to fame since winning the Menuhin competition in 2008 has been meteoric and with a musical endorsement from Maxim Vengerov and a sartorial deal with Giorgio Armani, he's sounding and looking like the full classical celebrity package. This sparkling Mozart collaboration will only enhance the Taiwanese-born, Brisbane-raised violinist's formidable reputation.

In Mozart's Violin Concertos & Sonatas, he checks-in his fashion-blogs and Italian Vogue clothes-horse poses at the studio door, and delivers everything that one could want, two performances that sing and play and dance with effortless style and real joy. True, everything in the mix is weighted toward the soloist, and the solo wind players of Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra might feel gipped that they sound like they're playing out-the-corridor-and-down-the-steps, but when Chen simply caresses the openings to those heavenly slow movements, no one's going to care about the support act. Here's true star-power – one of those recordings that grips you and makes you happy, even when Chen's own cadenzas sound more ‘fresh' than convincing.

Eschenbach then turns accompanist in a less ‘present' recording but equally fine performance of the Violin Sonata in A, K305, a foretaste of what can be expected when Chen tours Australia with Timothy Young for Musica Viva in November.