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If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 - 1953)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19 (1917) [22’16"]
Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63 (1935) [28’17"]
Suite from – The Love for Three Oranges Op. 33a (1924) [16’22"]
Boris Belkin (violin) Opp. 19 and 63
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin (Op. 19), Rudolf Barshai (Op. 63), Walter Weller (Op. 33a).
All recorded in Kingsway Hall, London, January 1981 (Op. 19), January 1982 (Op. 63), and November 1977 (Op. 33a) ADD/DDD
ELOQUENCE 476 2744 [67.16]

 

The box for this disc proudly announces – "First release on CD". It should really have said "Yet another first for Australian Eloquence." Over the past few years this label has consistently made available to collectors, repertoire that the European suppliers seem determined to ignore completely, whilst busily releasing the same old favourites over and over again; no wonder the recording industry is in such a bad state. Who wants a third or fourth release of something at bargain price that they bought at a higher price two or three years before. Much better to release repertoire that has never been on CD at any price, and if the first release is at super-budget price, even more reason to rejoice.

LP collectors like myself remember many of the older releases which have not yet reached silver disc. I am sure we would snap them up if the companies would only make them available. This disc is hardly in this category, as it is a digital recording, and so may be not quite such a ‘golden oldie’, but the principle holds good.

In Boris Belkin, we have an extremely good soloist in repertoire that suits his temperament, playing two Prokofiev concertos often sharing harness. The playing time is made up with a popular ballet suite from the same composer. The only common factor is the London Philharmonic, enjoying one of its peaks during the late seventies/early eighties. The excitement in the orchestral playing is noticeable, so different from some of the bland, dull playing we often have to suffer on modern releases.

Having three separate conductors does not cause a problem. All three are inspirational leaders and this really shows. From these recordings I would be hard pressed to choose between them. There is absolutely no problem with any of them, and with the first two, they both seem to establish an ideal rapport between orchestra and young soloist.

I am sure that if there had not been cutbacks in the industry, Boris Belkin would have a much higher profile with collectors than he has today. Currently he would appear to have only the Sibelius and Strauss concertos, with a minor Tchaikovsky item available. Australian Eloquence are also advertising the Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich No. 1 coupled together. With these two discs you can have more of this soloist than is otherwise currently available.

The playing is first class, with sweetness of tone in full measure for the earlier of the two concertos. The second concerto is scored for full orchestra, minus timpani replaced by bass drum. The work is fully realised and played very effectively by the young soloist.

I have had much pleasure from this disc and will be returning to it regularly. I highly recommend it.

It is well worth placing your order through www.buywell.com. Have a good look at their site and see just what treasures are available on the Eloquence label.

John Phillips

 



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