This Brahms Violin
Concerto has already appeared nicely
transferred on Dutton and rather less
well on Tahra. It is played by the short-lived
Viennese fiddler Ossy Renardy (born
plain Oscar Reiss in 1920). This is
a recording that many admire. There’s
certainly a mix of measured control
and strong accelerandi, the lyrical
and the passionate, that intrigues.
The second movement is sweetly lyric
though I have to say I find Renardy’s
playing a little glutinous sometimes
and claustrophobic; and, to be schoolmasterly,
those repetitious slides in the finale
simply won’t do – all too unvaried.
The demerits of the performance are
ones of youthful monochromaticism –
there just aren’t enough tone colours
for this of all works.
Given the choice of
this and the Dutton and Tahra transfers
how do things stack up? There’s some
78 hum on the Tahra and the strings
do sound a bit starved high up – a Decca
tendency and one that Pristine Audio
and Dutton have dealt with much better.
Some of the side changes are noticeable
as well in the Tahra, with subtle acoustic
shifts that are momentarily off-putting.
Pristine Audio has used more noise reduction
than Tahra and it sounds correspondingly
rather more veiled and less open at
the top. The newer transfer is therefore
darker, and the lower brass occasionally
sound a touch congested. You can hear
some surface noise on Pristine Audio
but only at a very high level, and in
fact it sounds negligible. In the finale
the new transfer copes with Decca shrillness
as well as does Dutton. As for a choice,
the Tahra is part of a two-disc set
devoted to Charles Munch and the Dutton
is coupled with Furtwängler’s problematic
recording of Brahms’ Second Symphony
with the LPO – which may affect things.
Pristine Audio offers just the Concerto
This new transfer from
Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio is one
of an increasing number of "concerto
singles" put out by their company.
Follow the link at the top of this review
for further information as to availability,
pricing and the kind of repertoire of
historic – and much other – material
they cover. As a taster they have produced
new transfers of Kulenkampff’s Schumann,
Heifetz’s Tchaikovsky, Ricci’s Beethoven
and plenty of orchestral music besides.