Sonoko Miriam Welde's recent album of concertos by Bruch and Barber and The Lark Ascending, with the Oslo Philharmonic has received superlative reviews from UK and European critics, describing it as "auspicious", "a hugely impressive debut" from "one of the great violin talents in Norway".
Her Bruch, conducted by Tabita Berglund, is "firm and fiery", her phrasing "timed to perfection" and for Martin Anderson, "if there is a better recording of Bruch's G minor concerto, I do not know it." Her Barber, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein, equally "hits all the right spots", with Welde bringing out the "tonal beauty and all manner of colours", even convincing self-proclaimed "Barber sceptic" critic Magnus Andersson, while Tully Potter writes "you will not hear this work better performed". No less impressive is her "ravishing", "weightlessly floating" and "tonally radiant" interpretation of The Lark Ascending, a "stand-out" performance on the disc and "one of the finest Larks you'll ever hear".
The full reviews can be read here:
"A hugely impressive debut...you instantly notice the silvery, slender, mellifluous, lyrical freedom of her sound and the way that her first double-stopped presentation of the theme is both firm and fiery, running like quicksilver...The Lark Ascending provides further opportunity for Welde to show how she can make her violin effortlessly dip and soar, and she tips from a notably improvisatory initial ascent into one of the most weightlessly floating, effortlessly legato first statements of the principal theme I've yet heard on disc...The Barber equally hits all the right spots, with its Andante a particular knockout for an ardently lyric Welde, who delivers the expressive goods while bringing tonal beauty and all manner of colours to the writing across every register of her instrument" - Charlotte Gardner, Gramophone
"While [Welde] lacks nothing in excitement when the notes start flying, she produces a velvety sonority at low dynamic levels that constantly beguiles the senses...In the slow movement of the Bruch, Welde times her phrases to perfection with an unforced tenderness and touching simplicity that radiates contentment. Yet arguably it is Welde's ravishing performance of Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending that is the stand-out performance here. Here she achieves an exquisite purity of line and tonal radiance absolutely at one with the lark's delicate flutterings and soaring eloquence...For Welde, this is an auspicious debut disc." Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine, performance **** recording ****
"A quality debut that includes perhaps one of the finest Larks you’ll ever hear...I hear the influence of Vilde Frang, one of her mentors, in the way the notes bubble up, ineffably birdlike, in the outer sections of The Lark Ascending. Welde is one of the few since Hugh Bean to realise fully how vital the double-stops are in creating the pastoral atmosphere. Tabita Berglund and the orchestra are in accord and this is one of the finest Larks I have heard. The Barber’s first two movements, with Joshua Weilerstein a positive partner, are also beautifully done...you will not hear this work much better performed." - Tully Potter, The Strad
"Welde delivers thoroughly musical flawless playing with technical surplus...Welde has a surplus of virtuosity that allows her to play the lark's complex song with lightness, and a bright tone...[In Barber's violin concerto] the first movement challenges with melody that must be concise in parts. Welde responds with care, and even gets a Barber skeptic like me to listen. In the second movement, she performs beautiful melodic art, and Weilerstein shapes and inspires the orchestra in swellingly warm progress, before Welde gives the final movement the energetic playful, yet hard-hitting, lightness required" - Magnus Andersson, Klassekampen
"If there is a better recording of Bruch's G minor concerto, I do not know it... I was amazed from the very first note...The two outer movements are full of energy and the middle one speaks elegantly of real feeling. All tempi are fast, but without putting rhythmic precision from the soloist or orchestra at stake. Such a performance played live in the concert hall would have the audience up in standing ovations and jubilant excitement" - Martin Anderson, Klassiskmusikk.com
"Startlingly good... Sonoko Miriam Welde is one of the great violin talents in Norway...Welde embarks on an interpretation that emphasizes the lyrical and poetic, which shows that we are dealing with a great artist, and not just a skilled technician...Together with Tabita Berglund and the Oslo Philharmonic, they bring out a fullness and depth in Bruch's concerto that I have rarely heard before...It is difficult to imagine a more solid record debut" - Ola Nordal, Ballade.no
The disc has also caught the attention of Classic FM, who made it Album of the Week and featured Sonoko as one of Charlotte Hawkins’s Young Classical Stars, while BBC Music Magazine named her as a ‘Rising Star’ and Gramophone Magazine as ‘One to Watch’. In February 2022, the album was nominated for a prestigious Norwegian Grammy (Spellemann) award, in the Classical Music category.
This spring, she tours Ireland with Amy Dickson and Simon Mulligan. She also performs a Shostakovich violin sonata arrangement for solo violin, percussion and string orchestra at BOZAR in Brussels, and her own Opus13 string quartet gives their debut at the Oslo Quartet Series.
More information on the album and ways to listen can be found at the LAWO Classics website here.