> Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev Violin Concertos Hudecek [RB]: Classical Reviews- May 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto (1878) [35.37]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Romeo and Juliet (selection from the two suites) (1935) [21.52]
Václav Hudecek (violin)
Czech PO/David Oistrakh
rec Smetana Hall, Municipal House, Prague, 20 May 1972, The Prague Spring Festival, AAD.
SUPRAPHON SU 0216-2011 [57.33]
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The Oistrakh-'customised' Prokofiev suite works well interspersing three high tensile dramatic episodes with two featherdown motor-slow dances. Oistrakh shows his usual attention to dramatic nuance. Live events have their small hiccups as does this one including a stutter from the saxophone in Montagues and Capulets. The featured movements are: Montagues and Capulets, Dance, Romeo at Juliet's Grave, Dance of the Maids from the Antilles, Death of Tybalt (brilliantly shaped both as technical challenge - listen to the quicksilver glissandi of the violins - and as dramatic account). A Prague connection: the ballet was premiered complete in Prague on 30 December 1938.

It must have been an unnerving experience to play the Tchaikovsky under the baton of one of its foremost solo interpreters. Hudecek had been heard by Oistrakh in London in 1967 with the RPO and had impressed. Shortly after this Oistrakh took him under his wing and promoted him internationally. Hudecek has not been taken up by EMI, Decca, DG or Philips but he is a fixture of the Supraphon catalogue. He is an estimable player and if he lacks (on this evidence) Oistrakh's baritonal depth and ruddy arterial perfection he is brilliant and responsive. Hudecek is perhaps a different player now than he was in his twenties. I can only go by what I hear but this version does not displace my reference discs: Oistrakh (Rozhdestvensky, BMG-Melodiya), Kogan (Paris Conservatoire, EMI), Campoli (Beulah, politically incorrect edition and approach - but emotionally apposite).

Notes in English, French and Czech.

Rob Barnett

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