Julia Fischer Plays Mozart Violin Concertos

Free Download: Julia Fischer Plays the Mozart Rondo in B-Flat

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Imagine a world-class soloist who, after performing Saint-Saens's Violin Concerto No. 3, puts down the violin and returns after intermission to play Grieg's Piano Concerto. That’s exactly what Julia Fischer did two years ago with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in Frankfurt, Germany.

Fischer, while known primarily as an accomplished violinist with a busy international career, has also played the piano since childhood, and in this program, the then-24-year-old saw no reason not to show off both skills (Decca recently released a DVD of the concert). Her achievement puts her in select company, with Mozart being the prime example of a virtuoso pianist who could also play a mean fiddle (in his case, the keyboard became his main calling card on stage).

It’s no surprise then that Fischer has a particular affinity for Mozart’s music, as our Album of the Week highlights. This 3-CD set gathers her previously released performance of Mozart’s concertos, along with her recording of the Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat, K.364, and a bonus DVD featuring video from Fischer's recording sessions.

While fairly popular, Mozart’s Violin Concertos are hardly among the composer’s most profound masterpieces. Nevertheless, the music shows a player’s understanding of the instrument and its technique as well as a youthful elegance and energy. These qualities are brought to life through Fischer's light and lean sound, her poised phrasing, and her quick but subtly deployed vibrato. The vivacious outer movements of the Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 particularly show a sensitivity to nuance and detail and Fischer's own cadenzas in certain movements only add to the music’s sparkle and wit. Conductor Yakov Kreizberg draws superb playing from the Dutch ensemble.

Watch these two videos and tell us: how does Fischer the pianist measure up to Fischer the violinist?

Grieg Piano Concerto:

Mozart's Violin Concerto in D Major KV 218

Mozart Violin Concertos
Julia Fischer, violin

Yakov Kreizberg, conductor
Netherlands Chamber Orchestra

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Comments [12]

Jan Snauwaert from Begium, Antwerp

She is extremely talented, no an ounce of doubt about that. Already now, she is one of the greatest violinists of all time, combining stupendous technical skill with tremendous musicality. Of course, her piano playing is not quite up to her violin playing, but neither does she pretend so. Even then, also her piano playing is very enjoyable and her musicality is always there to "compensate" for a little bit less virtuosity on this instrument.

Jun. 06 2013 04:20 PM

Fischer is definitely a violinist first and foremost. Promoting her as a pianist is a good selling strategy but she would never pose any serious challenge to the likes of a Brendel or even a Bronfman. Kreisler and Grumiaux were also excellent pianists but they never performed concertos in public. By the way, relatively speaking, the Grieg is an easy concerto. Not that this takes anything away from her phenomenal giftedness.

Jan. 28 2011 12:26 PM
Barry from UES

She is a hottie!

Jan. 27 2011 01:51 PM
Ines A Mulraney from Queens


Jan. 27 2011 06:59 AM
Rachel from NYC

This beautiful and extremely talented young
lady from Munich never ceases to amaze.
After soaring to the heights of violin virtuosity
she has now begun to master the piano. She
is truly an inspiration to us all and a gift to the

Jan. 26 2011 03:46 PM
Erik S from NJ

There is a power and grace to her violin
playing that is beyond that of her contemporaries. Her piano playing has not
reached that level yet but she is still very

Jan. 26 2011 02:07 PM
Michael Meltzer

When you hear Mozart (or any composer) played beautifully, you begin to forget that there is a soloist there and it is just you and the music, you and Mozart.
When suddenly some harshness comes into the tone, the spell is broken and you aren't listening to the composer, you are listening to the harsh tone.
I'm listening to Ms. Fischer's Mozart Concerto #4 and that happens just a little too often for comfort.

Jan. 26 2011 11:23 AM
Julian Rodriguez from Dominican republic

I liked her drive and the way the cameraman was able capture the instruments at work. It was an overall great piece of work, I liked her....

Jan. 26 2011 08:05 AM
George from nyc


the woman too :-)

Jan. 24 2011 08:11 PM
Lidia from ARGENTINA

I think this is GREAT!!!!

Jan. 24 2011 06:37 PM
prjacobs from NYC

Well... To answer your question. No. Julia's piano playing doesn't measure up to her violin playing, and respectfully, her violin playing doesn't exactly make the earth move for me.
How can I say this kindly.... Oh well.... I feel like I'm watching a piano performance at a beauty pageant. It's student level.
Sorry..... But then again, even classical music is also show biz, and she's marketable.

Jan. 24 2011 05:34 PM
Michael Meltzer

A statement which asserts things like "...Mozart's violin concertos are hardly among the composer's most profound masterpieces" should be signed, as should be any writing that ventures into criticism.
That it is unsigned implies that the full weight of WQXR is behind the assertion and that WQXR considers itself an authority on the grading of Mozart's work.
Since one of your roles is as a public educational institution, I don't think you really want to do that.

Jan. 24 2011 06:53 AM

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The Albums of the Week are compelling new recordings that we spotlight every week. These include creative repertoire choices, engaging musical personalities and artistic statements that stand out from the pack. You can hear the Albums of the Week throughout the day and evening on WQXR.