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PENTATONE

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Violin Concerto in D minor (1940) [36.38]
Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Violin Concerto No. 1 in D, Op. 19 (1917) [22.00]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1856-1936)

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82 (1905) [20.28]
Julia Fischer, violin
Russian National Orchestra/Yakov Kreizberg
Recorded in the DSD system at DZZ Studio 5, Moscow, Russia, 13 May 2004
CD tracks Stereo 2.0, Surround
Notes in English, Deutsch, and Français. Photos of artists.
Hybrid SACD also playable on CD players.

PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC 186 059 [79.24]


Comparison Recordings:
Prokofiev: D. Oistrakh, Rozhdestvensky, Moscow SO. various LP releases.
Prokofiev: D. Sitkovetsky, C. Davis, LSO. Virgin 45108
Khachaturian: D. Oistrakh, Khachaturian, Moscow SO Russian Disc RUS 11 012
Khachaturian: Kogan, Monteux, BSO BMG/RCA Living Stereo 63708
Glazunov: Jascha Heifetz, Walter Hendl, RCA SO RCA Red Seal RCD1-7019

These recordings are very cool, confidently virtuosic, eschewing any Gypsy passion or Russian sense of tragedy. They achieve a completely Romantic feeling along with clear, precise and energetic musicianship. The SACD tracks are truly in surround sound with sound sources filling the listening space, the violin vividly present but at a realistic volume level with respect to the orchestra. The CD tracks are of unusually high dynamic range, and notably clear and transparent. All of the alternative recordings listed above are more expressive, more passionate, but none are so well recorded, and none are more capably played. Ms. Fischer, who certainly showed us what she can do in her gorgeous Vivaldi Four Seasons video, takes an energetic and youthful approach to these works which were generally written by youthful - well, Glazunov was in his early middle age - composers.

But, overall, none of the recordings on this disk is as satisfying musically as any of the listed alternates. Certainly the Oistrakh Prokofiev and Khachaturian concerto recordings are absolutely necessary in any collection which includes that music. Although I greatly enjoy and admire most Glazunov, I have never particularly liked this concerto. Fischerís graceful, well-structured, thoughtful approach is very appealing. I prefer it to the Heifetz version, although Heifetz sets out to find more passion in the score and most listeners will likely prefer Heifetz.

Paul Shoemaker


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