Bravo to Naxos for
this well-designed programme. Two Romantic
A minor Violin Concertos frame some
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.
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
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.
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.
see also review
by Jonathan Woolf