Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:


Violin Concerto

Violin Concerto
Mélodie (arr Glazunov)

Tossy Spivakovsky (violin)
LSO Tauno Hannikainen (Sibelius) Walter Goehr (Tchaikovsky)
EVEREST EVC 9035 [69.39]


Two classic romantic violin concertos in best-seller harness.

The Sibelius is freshly accented and moulded and I suppose the only danger is that it might seem mannered when compared with the norm of the last decade or so. Personally I find Spivakovsky's mercurial and brooding approach well worth any momentary disorientation. The tone is set by the magical ppp with which the work starts. I will happily count this in the unruly company of Oistrakh/Rozhdestvensky (BMG-Melodiya) and Ida Haendel/Berglund (EMI) recordings.

The Tchaikovsky is also done with all required enchantment by Rozhdestvensky and Oistrakh on Melodiya. The Spivakovsky is as good as the Sibelius being of very similar provenance. Goehr does not display the panache and imagination of Hannikainen (who would have made an excellent conductor for the Tchaikovsky if only he had been available). Spivakovsky is explosively virtuosic but here his point-making does not cast the same spell as in the Sibelius. If you are looking for a really personal (not to say eccentric) version then hunt out the Beulah recording of Alfredo Campoli (cuts and corrupt text and all).

The sound quality is realistic and certainly much better than the really quite respectable Boult Sibelius tone poems or the Abravanel symphonies. The recordings were made in Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London in 1959/60. The recordings were set down on Everest's 35mm magnetic film onto three tracks and it is typical of this process that it now yields such solidity.

Everest throw in the emotionally reserved swoon and elegance of the Tchaikovsky Mélodie as arranged by Glazunov.

A valuable and flavour-some pair of performances eschewing anyone's orthodoxy. Preferred for the Sibelius which no Sibelian should be without.

Rob Barnett

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