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Leonid Kogan

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1732 – 1809)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750)

Sarabande from Partita for Solo Violin in D Major BWV 1004.
Claude DEBUSSY (1862 – 1918)

Beau Soir (1880)
George Frederic HANDEL (1685 – 1759)

Violin Sonata in E major, HWV373
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 – 1975)

24 Preludes Op. 34, Nos. 10, 15, 16, and 24 (1932)
Jean-Marie LECLAIR (1697 – 1764)

Sonata for 2 Violins in C major, Op. 3, No.3 (1730)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)

Hungarian Dance No. 17 in F# Minor (1869)
Nicolo PAGANINI (1782 – 1840)

Cantabile (1823)
Manuel de FALLA (1876 – 1946)

Suite populare espagnole (1914)
Leonid Kogan (violin) with Orchestre National de l’ORTF/ Louis de Froment (Beethoven)
With Andrei Mytnik, piano, (Handel, Debussy and Shostakovitch) with Elizaveta Gilels-Kogan (Leclair) and Naum Walter piano, (Brahms, Paganini and Falla)
All recorded in Paris on 12th March 1966 (Beethoven and Bach), 26th March 1962 (Handel, Debussy and Shostakovich), 21st November 1963 (Leclair), and 1968 (Brahms, Paganini and Falla). (DVD).
EMI CLASSICS 7243 4 92834 9 [96.02]

Leonid Kogan was less famous in the West than his competitor, David Oistrakh. This was probably more to do with politics in the USSR rather than any lesser worth, although he started later and died at the tragically young age of only 58 in 1982. Coupled with this, he did not like recording, particularly on film or TV because he always preferred performing in relatively darkened surroundings.

He was a virtuoso of the first order, however, as these rare recordings show. The Beethoven Concerto is the centre-piece of this disc, and is ably accompanied by Louis de Froment. Particular sections of great repose and beauty are to be found in the quiet parts of the first movement and particularly the slow second movement. The Bach piece played as an encore to the Concerto is superb.

In the remainder of the programme, various aspects of Kogan’s playing is to be seen and heard. Throughout the programme, he is seen standing almost motionless whilst playing, proving once and for all, that it is not necessary to dance about the platform in order to show an audience that you can play with feeling.

In the Handel, Debussy and Shostakovich, Kogan is partnered by Andrei Mytnik, his favoured partner for many years up to 1963. As always in the USSR, the Handel is partnered by piano rather than harpsichord, so purists beware. The Debussy is played in the arrangement by Heifetz, and the Shostakovich by Dmitri Tsiganov, the composer’s friend and leader of the Beethoven Quartet. The Falla was arranged by the Polish violist Pawel Kochanski. You will notice that the last song is omitted, and this was as a result of Kochanski, not Kogan. The Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 17 is arranged by that other formidable violinist, Fritz Kreisler. For the Leclair, Kogan is joined by his wife, who was the daughter of Emil Gilels, the pianist.

All in all, a wonderful DVD, well worth issuing. I am sure it will give immense pleasure to all who hear it. Given the vintage of the recordings, the video and (mono) sound quality is quite tolerable without being of today’s highest fi.

John Phillips

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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