By most accounts this is short measure. However 'most accounts' are no measure
of musical merit in the present case.
Kondrashin and Oistrakh give the Glazunov (long a favourite of mine) one
of its most free-wheeling performances, pointed, relaxed, dramatic, humming
and dancing. I had just heard and reviewed the recent BMG compilation including
the Glazunov. This is a plodding performance if you judge by the timings
alone. Heifetz despatches the Glazunov in 18.57 and does it in fizzing style.
Oistrakh and comrades let loose the spirit of fantasy and are even free enough
to make me think of Delius's concerto at 2.49.
The Kabalevsky (clearly recorded in a different hall from the Glazunov) is
more slender in sound and the ever so slightly hazy focus of the Glazunov
is gone. Oistrakh gambols and skitters his way through the Allegro con Brio
- vapid thematically speaking, it is nevertheless a sure-fire recipe for
instant gratification. A similar accolade for the Shostakovichian rapid-fire
sparks of the Vivace giocoso which also contrives to be just a bit
vulgar and gormless. The central andante cantabile has a lot to live
up to with a title like that but manages rather well especially in the
ppp roulades of the soloist over the 'lonely steppes' melody of the
Gliere's reserved Tchaikovskian Romance rises to a technicolour peak
and then contentedly subsides in wash of Delius and Korngold. Gone almost
before it started!
These recordings are from mono analogue tapes but I detected no hiss.
I do not recognise the name of the orchestra - at least not from the 1950s.
This is surely the USSR State Symphony Orchestra rejoicing under a politically
Music making of a notable order and the Glazunov bids fair to be the best
recording ever if you can take the perfectly respectable (though haloed)
mono analogue sound. Well worth its bargain price and more.
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