One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53a (1880) [29’47].
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Adagio in E, K261b (1776) [7’26]. Rondo in C, K373b (1781) [4’57].
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82c (1904) [18’23].
Nathan Milstein (violin)
aMinneapolis Symphony Orchestra/Antal Doráti; RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/bVladimir Golschmann, cWilliam Steinberg.
From RCA Victor aLM-1147, bLM-1064, 49-0500-02; rec. at aNorthrop Auditorium, Minneapolis on March 4th, 1951, Manhattan Center, New York on bMarch 29th, 1950 and cFebruary 19th, 1949. ADD
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110975 [59’46]

Bravo to Naxos for this well-designed programme. Two Romantic A minor Violin Concertos frame some charming Mozart.

Tully Potter’s booklet notes contextualise and trace the history of the various recordings (precious little on the works themselves, though, but that was probably Potter’s brief). The legendary Milstein gives massively involving performances of the two major works on this disc – I dare say nobody will be disappointed. Mark Obert-Thorn’s talents for restoration are once more showcased for the sound is intimate and clear throughout.

Dvořák’s Violin Concerto is a masterpiece, as Akiko Suwanai memorably reminded us all a couple of years ago on Philips ( Milstein also clearly believes in the work, and his advocacy comes across viscerally in this performance (and Doráti is clearly on the same wavelength – the orchestra really goes for it, too). This response clearly complements Suwanai’s on one’s shelves. Milstein does not indulge too much in sweetness in the Adagio, rather he illuminates the interior depth of the music, forcing the joyous finale into relief. Foot-tappingly infectious, there is still an undercurrent of urgency that propels the music headlong to its close (here almost brutal in effect).

Amazingly, this recording was apparently not originally issued in Britain. The remastering engineer (‘Audio Restoration Producer’, as Naxos put it) is Mark Obert-Thorn, and his work is exemplary in all respects. Orchestral detail comes over remarkably clearly.

Glazunov’s beautiful concerto again benefits from Milstein’s evident belief and affection (he actually played this work under the composer’s own baton). Listen to the deep-throated tone of the very opening, or the way Glazunov’s free-flow of invention sounds almost improvised on the spot. The Andante sostenuto is emotive without, thankfully, any over-milking, but nothing that has gone before can prepare one for the astonishing cadenza. What stopping, what beauty in the higher register!. It is heart-stopping stuff.

True, Milstein’s remake with the Pittsburgh Orchestra has outshone this version over the years, but that makes it all the more urgent to hear this 1949 performance.

The Mozart items (separators between the concertos) very clearly come from another era. The old-style orchestra (Golschmann at the helm this time) is indeed turgid, but it cannot rob Milstein of his sweetness in the E major Adagio. The C major Rondo is delightful, light and infectious.

Very highly recommended indeed from all angles.

Colin Clarke

see also review by Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.