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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Piano Concerto No. 1 (1875) [34.08]
Violin Concerto (1878) [35.07]
Emil Gilels (piano)
New York PO/Zubin Mehta
David Oistrakh (violin)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
rec DDD/ADD
SONY ESSENTIAL CLASSICS SBK46339 [70.15]



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These classically familiar Geminis are from the Sony/CBS vaults. The CD is part of the Essential Classics bargain price range - a response to the Naxos, CFP, Apex, Arte Nova onslaught. No recording dates or locations are given in the booklet. However the Piano Concerto must be from a 1980s live concert if the sprinkling of coughs is anything to go by. Other sources confirm the recording venue as the Carnegie Hall. Gilels always makes an event out of anything he plays and so it proves here with his usual blend of passionate intellect and resounding bravura on display. The sound lacks nothing in immediacy but it is not very refined. For a concert performance try Petukhov's Buenos Aires coupling of the first two concertos on Pavane. Gilels is magisterial however.

The Oistrakh is in analogue from the 1960s and dates from the earliest days of hesitant rapprochement between the USSR and the USA. Oistrakh is scintillating and voluptuous of tone and he is partnered by an affluently upholstered orchestra which is kept on its toes by Ormandy. If the performance lacks the radiant intensity of the BMG-Melodiya recording with Oistrakh and the Moscow RSO/Rozhdestvensky it is no slouch either.

A good coupling with two characterful giants of the USSR partnered by American orchestras in weighty performances. If you want a budget coupling of these two works you could easily do a lot worse.

Rob Barnett



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