Since then she has gone on to record both chamber and concerto repertoire as varied as Dvorák, Berg, Beethoven, Weber, Satie, Martinu, Shostakovich, Schubert, Fauré, Bach, Brahms, Jolivet and Janacek.
Faust’s recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas with pianist Alexander Melnikov www.impresariat-simmenauer.de/Artists/AlexanderMelnikov/biography-en.html received the ECHO Klassik Award www.echoklassik.de and the Gramophone Award www.gramophone.co.uk among others. The recording was nominated for a Grammy www.grammy.com . Her solo recording of Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas was awarded the Diapason d’or de l’année 2010 http://www.diapasonmag.fr .
Now on a new release from Harmonia Mundi www.harmoniamundi.com she returns to Bartok www.bartokmuseum.hu to record the two violin concertos with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2555&artikel=1178927 conducted by Daniel Harding www.danielharding.com . Isabelle Faust has a particular link to Bartok through her teacher the Hungarian violinist Dénes Zsigmondy who knew the composer.
As played by Isabelle Faust, this concerto takes on a new substance with this violinist drawing so much in the way of textures, colours, timbres and feeling in the opening of the Andante Sostenuto, with much of an improvisatory feeling. Faust is remarkable in the way that she works up the theme to the short climaxes. Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra provide a lovely central orchestral section extracting so much of the melancholic beauty. When Faust and the orchestra combine again they bring such a natural development as the music rises to a full climax. The hushed coda is beautifully done.
There is terrific playing from Faust in the skittish Allegro giocoso and some lovely long held notes before the more thoughtful subject section, the gentle rocking passage that leads to a neo romantic orchestral passage. More terrific playing ensues with Faust seemingly having great fun in the many varying moods of this music. What a superb technique Faust has. The tremendous fast section for orchestra leads to a wistful violin section, so finely drawn by Faust, and a spectacularly fine lead up to the coda.
The far better known Violin Concerto No.2 Sz112 has a gorgeous opening to the Allegro non troppo with Faust so rhapsodic when she enters. As the movement progresses she is brilliant in the subtle shifts of mood and colour. The reflective moments hinting at Bartok’s night music contrast with terrific outbursts of energy, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra on great form under Daniel Harding. During this movement there is some thrillingly light textured playing with Faust and the Swedish RSO bringing this music to life as few have done before. As the cadenza arrives there is superb playing from Faust as, indeed, there is in the dramatic coda.
How Isabelle Faust allows the Andante tranquillo to unfold is magical; the flow is always allowed to continue naturally with little outbursts of dynamics from the orchestra. An underlying drama is often evident, creating a tension as the violin quietly plays. In the central section, Faust is no less virtuosic with some fabulous playing right up to the quiet coda.
Built on material from the first movement, the allegro molto has many varying moods, tempi and dynamics which Faust brilliantly draws on. Slowly one can hear the music developing logically towards its destination. There is a lovely rhapsodic moment with lovely arpeggios on the violin. What a tremendous coda Faust and the orchestra give us in its original version. The violin plays a lilting melody, before the fast section leading to the coda which is then played by the orchestra alone with brass re-enforcing at the end. Apparently this ending was considered a problem by Zoltán Székely, who gave the first performance in 1939 and was the works dedicatee. He wanted more of a crowd pleaser, a request to which Bartok responded. However, this original ending is really special, particularly as played here.
This is a fabulous disc of concertos by one of the great composers. The recording is excellent and there are first class notes by Isabelle Faust.