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Nemanja Radulović: my top five

Serbian-born, French-trained violinist Nemanja Radulović shares his favourite recordings in an exclusive IDAGIO playlist, covering concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Shostakovich and Dvořák and two works for violin and orchestra performed by his teacher in Paris, Patrice Fontanarosa. As a bonus choice he includes a work by the Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian. Read more…

Beethoven: Violin Concerto – Isaac Stern

This concerto is one of my favourite pieces of music – classical or otherwise – and I remember right from when I first heard this Isaac Stern recording having the impression that he was really telling a story, as if each note in his interpretation was a word. The Beethoven is also connected with my life. My old teacher in Belgrade didn't want me to play it because I was too young – but he wasn't there when I arrived to study in Paris. I took the score with me and with it could express all the nostalgia I felt at the time about leaving the country and lots of friends of family.

Sarasate: Caprice basque; Wieniawski: Légende – Patrice Fontanarosa

Patrice Fontanarosa was my teacher when I arrived at the Paris Conservatoire. He's very famous in France and was concertmaster of the Orchestre National de France, but is less well known internationally. He's an incredible artist – and I'd say "artist" not just instrumentalist. I loved my years at the Conservatoire because of the freedom he gave to all his students. These two pieces come from the first album of his I ever heard. I couldn't stop listening to his version of the 'Caprice Basque'. Usually virtuosity comes first in this piece, but with him the virtuosity is always part of the music, and he really communicates the charm of the piece. I discovered the 'Légende' when I was a kid – another student of my Professor in Serbia played it – and, although it has its happy sections, it's also got a lot of nostalgia and melancholy.

Brahms: Violin Concerto – Janine Jansen

I just love to listen to all Janine Jansen's recordings. I always find her playing so moving. It's so powerful and so intelligent, but at the same time she never underplays the emotional side of the music: she gives everything and it's totally convincing. I used to play the Brahms a lot myself, along with the Double Concerto, the sonatas and chamber music, and have so much respect for the composer. But I haven't played the Violin Concerto for five or six years now and don't feel at the moment ready to put my personal stamp on it again. When I do play it again, though, I'd love to be able to play it as convincingly as she does in this recording.

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 – Hilary Hahn

This is my favorite version of this incredible concerto. Hilary is someone who is so personal in everything she does: with the sound, the intonation, the vibrato and all technical aspects. But musically it's always in the right place, too. This is super impressive and there's something distinctive here in how strongly she follows the music: the first movement is so interiorised, in the second movement the tempo is different from a lot of other performances, and when you listen to the finale you just feel the joy of the moment – it always makes me smile.

Dvořák: Violin Concerto – Anne-Sophie Mutter

This isn't the famous Dvořák concerto, of course, and I don't know why it isn't as well known as the Cello Concerto. It's probably because it's difficult. I've learnt it and played it for teachers but never performed it, and you need a lot of physical strength. Some parts are very light, but then suddenly you have the second theme in the third movement, for example, which sounds light but is super difficult. But the combination of traditional classical form and folky elements makes it a great piece. I've been listening to lots of different performances, but the whole project with Anne Sophie Mutter and the Berlin Philharmonic is wonderful. She's heroic, but at the same time so emotional, using different colours in a way that I find really moving.

Bonus choice: Khachaturian: Waltz from Masquerade

No one thinks of Khachaturian as a "real" composer, but he's wonderful and I've always loved him. I play the Violin Concerto on my new album, and it's such powerful music, as are his orchestral pieces, the trio, the violin sonata, none of which people really know. But I would go for the Waltz from 'Masquerade'. And any version works: it's good music even if it isn't that well played!

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