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Violinist Francesca Dego and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conductor Dalia Stasevska - CD Review, February 29th and March 1st, 2024

1.Ferruccio Busoni - Concerto for violin and orchestra, Op. 35a in D Minor

2. Johannes Brahms - Concerto for violin and orchestra, Op. 77 in D Minor

Francesca Dego is an exceptional Italian violinist who lives in London and who makes her first appearance in the current season as soloist of well-known orchestras, such as The Bergen and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Utah Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestra. With a rich chamber and concert repertoire, revolving around Mozart's, Beethoven's and Paganini's works, Francesca Dego has released 13 CDs so far; the latest one was launched on March 1st by Chandos Records. On a significant place within the violinist's discography, the CD presents two concerts for violin and orchestra, composed by Ferrucio Busoni and Johannes Brahms and played by Francesca Dego in collaboration with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Dalia Stasevska. In November, the violinist will launch an album made of Busoni's works, thus finalizing a collection dedicated to this composer a century after his passing.

As conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in these works, recorded in June 2023 at the Phoenix Concert Hall in Croydon, was Dalia Stasevska, a 39-year old musician who collaborated with significant European orchestras. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, and having lived since childhood in Finland, Dalia Stasevska is the main conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and the first woman to act as main conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the history of the renowned ensemble from London.

The first piece on the album is Concerto in D Minor, composed by Ferrucio Busoni in 1897 and dedicated to violinist Henri Petri, the latter presenting the work for the first time in October 1897 at the Berlin Philharmonic. Composed in an authentic Romantic style, the piece was influenced by Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt, two composers who inspired Ferrucio Busoni during his first creation stage in regards to structure, details and the technique of thematic transformations. Francesca Dego testifies about this piece: "One of the reasons I fell in love with Busoni's concerto is due to how inspired he is by Johannes Brahms' music. It is a gem itself. And by using traditional sound notes for personal and innovative ideas, he is even more attractive. The essence and the soul of composer Ferrucio Busoni and his spectacular skills can be observed in this happy, yet incredibly difficult piece." It is precisely this tumultuous and optimistic style, which runs through Ferrucio Busoni's Concerto in D minor, that is skillfully and expressively shown, with a smooth touch, by soloist Francesca Dego, alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

The second piece on Francesca Dego's latest album is the concert composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to violonist Joseph Joachim. Brahms is Francesca Dego's favorite composer, as she states: "Having Brahms' concert recorded is any violinist's dream, especially mine, come true. It has inspired me ever since I first played it when I was 15 years old. I met the wonderful composer Dalia Stasevska when I played Brahms' concert in Austria and shortly after, she became a close friend and we collaborated quite often," says Francesca Dego who, together with Dalia Stasevska make the first duo as women musicians in the history of discographies to record this iconic piece from the violin romantic repertoire - Concerto op. 77 in D Minor by Johannes Brahms. Francesca Dego, who plays a rare and precious Francesco Ruggieri instrument, created in 1697 in Cremona, offers a flawless, explosive, pristine rendition from a technical point of view.

Larisa Clempuș