Hello Mr. Paganini - Ning Feng

Hello Mr. Paganini - Ning Feng

Channel of China  CCS SA 80807

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Ning Feng (violin)
Thomas Hoppe (piano)

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DSD recording
Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - December 1, 2008

What a violinist!

As part of Channel Classics' "Channel of China" series, this must be viewed as a compulsory purchase by all who admire the art of transforming technically dazzling pieces into lyrical works of art. Of the 8 works presented here, almost all are arrangements by one F. Kreisler, one is arranged by G. Kinsky and F. Rothschild leaving 2 "pure" (violin only) Paganini works; the arrangements are all for violin and piano.

Many famous and favourite items of Paganini are included here, in the following order:
"Non piu mesta" from La Cenerentola (Rossini) arr. Kreisler
Caprice No.24 arr. Kreisler
Variations on God Save the King
Cantabile arr. Kinsky and Rothschild
"Nel cor piu non mi sento" from La molinara (Paisiello)
"Le Streghe" from Il noce di Benevento (Sussmayr) arr. Kreisler
"La Campanella" from 3rd movement of Paganini's Violin concerto No.2 arr. Kreisler
"I Palpiti" from Tancredi (Rossini) arr. Kreisler

It is very difficult to single out highlights from this disc but surely one must be the quite frankly jaw-dropping performance given by Ning Feng of the Variations on God Save the King - it really has to be heard to be believed. Nor is Feng's sole claim to accolades his technique; his ample ability to phrase a melody can be heard to great effect in the Cantabile. Feng has clearly formed a good relationship with his accompanist Thomas Hoppe on this disc and Hoppe manages to bring the most out of the fairly meagre piano parts and manages to negotiate every twist and turn that is thrown his way with ease.

The sound is fortunately well up to the house standard that Channel Classics have set themselves, though it is much closer than other recordings in their catalogue yet it should come as no surprise that Feng withstands such scrutiny with astonishing ease. The notes are also well written with some interesting trivia that goes beyond 'Paganini was the devil'; included in them is a highly apposite phrase "It [Paganini's music] is reserved for a small, select group of master violinists" - Feng deservedly belongs in this group and few, if any, other violinists who are represented on SACD also merit such membership so clearly.

A stunning début and one that will hopefully be followed up before too long.

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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Comments (1)

Comment by Marcus DiBenedetto - February 13, 2021 (1 of 1)

Interesting. Channel Classics just released (January, 2021) Ning Feng's newest recording Paganini: 24 Caprices + 1 (CCS 43221) on CD and not SACD. But, the works' original recording format was DSD 256 by well regarded sound engineer Jared Sacks. It is available for download from both Channel Classics and Native DSD in 5.0 Multichannel or Stereo. A variety of resolutions are available including DSD 256. I'm not sure if HR Audio reviews music not offered in SACD but I did want to alert readers that this work is now available. I will give it a listen once downloaded and offer an opinion. Native DSD notes: This recording stayed in DSD 256 throughout the entire process (no conversion to DXD, no mixing / EQ). The recording process is confirmed on the Channel Classics website.

Edit #1: I downloaded all 25 tracks in DSD 256. Total size was greater than 30 GB. This might be the reason for no SACD. I've listened to the first 5 tracks. Very favorable so far.

Marcus DiBenedetto
Las Vegas, NV