By William Zagorski
Jennifer Koh's "Portraits" presents three top-notch performances of extremely challenging repertoire. Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 has for years been near the top of my shortlist of favorite concertos for that instrument. Koh's purity of intonation, the sumptuous sound of her high position e-string-playing, her ability to float an unbroken legato for pages at a time, and her razor clean articulation are in a class of their own. The less-recorded Martinu's Second Violin concerto goes in similar fashion, but with a keen understanding that Martinu's sound world is of a completely different nature. It is realized vividly, especially his bucolic second themes. In the Bartok Two Portraits, Koh et al. successfully realize a third sound world. The result is a third musical home run.