Viktoria Mullova Plays the Tchaikovsky and
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto
Viktoria Mullova (violin)
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa
rec Boston, Oct 1985
PHILIPS 50 464 741-2
This is, as the Scots say, a well-kent coupling. It reminds us of the strong
slender tone of young Viktoria Mullova - about whom we hear little these
days. She had just left the USSR in the shadowlands between Soviet decay
and the falling of walls. Her arrival in the West provoked a minor media-fest.
I recall a programme (several I think) on BBC following her progress in the
In the Tchaikovsky her violin technique produces some lovely legato
cantilena (e.g. at 4.47 in the Allegro moderato). Her vibrato is hardly
there at all remaining always under tight control. In the spectacular passages
she does not have the definition of the very greatest such as Oistrakh or
Kogan both of whom generate more sheer adrenalin than is on call here. I
must not forget to mention the lusciously over the top recording by Campoli
on Beulah - corrupt edition and all - but technicolour performance.
The Sibelius announces itself with a true whisper level pianissimo.
Some lovely suave playing as at 0208 in the first movement recalling that
Sibelius, at the time of writing, the concerto had only lately forsaken his
early dreams of becoming a violin virtuoso. There is some touching orchestral
playing in the adagio di molto and Mullova and the orchestra really
excel in blood-stirring. The blatting horns behind the rumbustious dance
at 1.40 in the Finale register amiably. She reminded me a little of my favourite
Spivakovsky (Everest) but the sound and the orchestral contribution is superior
to the Spivakovsky's collaborators. The Sibelius is a very fine performance
and is not be forgotten in the welter of new releases and recycled back
The liner notes are short but the playing time is very respectable for this
series. The DDD recording holds up excellently.
While not displacing my reference recording, Oistrakh (BMG), Mullova and
Ozawa have a lot to tell us about both works. I see this recording returning
to my CD player for pleasure in future.
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