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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806) [45:31]
Sonata for Piano
and Violin in A major, Op. 47 ('Kreutzer')*
Wiener Philharmoniker/Riccardo Muti
rec. Musikverein, Grosser Saal, Vienna, February 2007. DDD
GRAMMOPHON 477 6596 [45:31]
* sonata not included on this promotional disc
This CD is a
promotional copy of a yet-to-be-released recording (the release
dates are October 15 in the UK and September 29 in the US).
It was accompanied by a DVD of violinist Vadim Repin and
discussing the concerto. We also get a few excerpts of the
performance. The DVD lasts under seven minutes and serves only
as an advertisement for the CD. The CD when released will
also contain a performance of Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano
and Violin in A major, Op. 47, the “Kreutzer Sonata” with Martha
Argerich and Repin. It is listed in the glossy booklet that
accompanied the CD, but is not on the CD itself. This is a
pity, for it might sway one whether or not to buy since there
are so many recordings of the concerto available. I know of
no other that also contains Beethoven’s most popular violin
and piano sonata.
of the concerto itself is wonderful, but no more or less than
many others. It is a big, traditional account; there is nothing
revisionist about it. Repin has a beautiful tone and technique
to burn. Muti and his fabulous Vienna Philharmonic are with
him all the way. The tuttis are powerful, but the quieter moments
are especially memorable. The winds in particular are outstanding
throughout the performance. Tempos seem normal, although the
overall timing of 45 and one-half minutes is one of the longer
performances on disc. Menuhin/Furtwängler, for example, finish
the work in 44 minutes, while Heifetz/Munch set the speed record
of just under 38. A minute of the additional timing is due
to a longer cadenza at the end of the finale than some others.
It is attributed to Fritz Kreisler, as is the usual one in
the first movement. The recorded sound is superb with a very
good balance between soloist and orchestra, allowing orchestral
detail to be heard.
As I said, if
the coupling is as good, this account of the Beethoven Violin
Concerto would be hard to beat. However, I do not plan to throw
out my favorite recording of the past, Arthur Grumiaux’s with
the New Philharmonia conducted by Alceo Galliera (Philips 426
064-2). Grumiaux made a later recording with Sir Colin Davis
that has also worn its years well. He presents a more classical
view than Repin/Muti, Perlman/Giulini or especially Vengerov/Rostropovich.
For something altogether more bracing, owing a good deal to
period performance practice, I can recommend the recent recording
Tetzlaff and David Zinman/Tonhalle (Arte Nova 82876 76994
2) with the cadenzas Beethoven provided for the piano version
of his concerto. For a more traditional interpretation of this
violin concerto masterpiece, and one extremely well played
and recorded, then, this new Repin/Muti is highly recommended.
I look forward to hearing Repin and Argerich in the sonata.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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