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Victor Tretiakov (violin)
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Victor Tretiakov (violin) with accompaniments as below
rec 1965-90
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93005 [10 CDs: 72:14 + 73:24 + 71:33 + 72:01 + 67:24 + 62:13 + 72:14 + 75:18 + 69:43 + 73:34]

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Victor Tretiakov (violin)
Alexander TCHAIKOVSKY (b. 1946)
(not Boris as it says in the packaging!)
Concerto for Violin [36:19]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Arnold Katz
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Concerto for Violin no 1 in A minor, Op. 99 (1947) [35:58]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano in E flat major, Op. 40 (1865) [34:52]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano), Boris Afanasiev (French Horn)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D 574 (1817) [20:09]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK

Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits (1762/1774) [4:12]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Melodies (5) for Violin and Piano Op. 35bis (1925) [14:09]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Nikolai PEIKO

Prelude and Toccata [9:46]
Nikolai Peiko (piano)
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 34 Ė 2 Preludes arranged Tzyganov (1932-33) [2:20]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)

Albumblatt [4:39]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)

Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 23: No 2, Zapateado (1880) [3:28]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Pièce en forme de Habañera (1907) [3:18]
Mikhael Erokhin (Piano)
Rodion SHCHEDRIN (b.1932)

Humoresque [2:30]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)

El campielo [3:07]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)

Canciones populares españolas (1914-15) [13:07]
Mikhael Erokhin (Piano)
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Nocturne for Piano in E minor, B 19/Op. 72 No 1 (1827) [4:51]
Mikhael Erokhin (Piano)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands (1868-1880)
No. 7 [2:06]
F major [2:42]
G major [2:15]
D minor [3:04]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Eugene YSAYE (1858-1931)

Poème élégiaque, Op. 12 (1895) [14:11]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Sonata for Violin solo no 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 (1720) [18:21]
Concerto for two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043 (1717-1723) [17:36]
Oleg Kagan (Violin)/ USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)

Concerto for two Violins in G major, RV 516 [10:46]
Oleg Kagan/USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Concerto for Violin in A minor [10:17]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G minor, Op. 1 No 4 "Devil's Trill" [14:54]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 (1844) [27:44]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 (1878) [39:37]
USSR State Academy Symphony Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 19 (1916-17) [21:51]
USSR State Radio and TV Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Concerto for Violin No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 129 (1967) [32:33]
USSR State Radio and TV Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev
Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)

Thème et Variations for Violin and Piano (1932) [7:41]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Camille SAINT-SAENS (1835-1921)

Havanaise for Violin and Orchestra in E major, Op. 83 (1887) [10:41]
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Kitaenko
Introduction and Rondo capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 28 (1863) [9:09]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Romance for Violin and Orchestra no 1 in G major, Op. 40 (1802) [7:41]
USSR State Academy Symphony Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)

Poème for Violin and Orchestra in E flat major, Op. 25 (1896) [15:20]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)

Concerto romantique Op.35a - Canzonetta (1878) [4:09]
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Kitaenko
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Caprice viennois [4:31]
Estonian State Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Jarvi
Liebesfreud [3:22]
Liebesleid [3:28]
Schon Rosmarin [2:10]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Nicolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)

La Campanella [7:50]
Mikhael Erokhin (piano)
Caprice Op.1 No.17 [3:48]
Violin Concerto No.1 in D major Op.6 (1817) [35:29]
Estonian State Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Jarvi
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)

Violin Concerto (1940) (19:45]
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Tulin
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Meditation [10:42]
Scherzo [3:24]
Melodie [4:00]
Serenade melancolique [10:46]
Valse-scherzo [5:35]
Violin Concerto in D major Op.35 [35:08]
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Violin Sonata Op.134 [33:18]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Violin Sonata No.2 in D major Op.94a [22:49]
Josef SUK (1874-1935)

Four Pieces for violin and piano Op.17 [17:23]


Tretiakov was born in 1946 into a musical family. At ten he was accepted by Yuri Yankelevich and remains one of his most eminent pupils. He won the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Competition, though Yankelevich and others ensured that the young man remained under thoughtful guidance. He toured internationally and made recordings and played with other luminaries such as Gutman, Bashmet, Richter and the Borodin Quartet. He gradually began to conduct as well, though his period with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra didnít satisfy him for reasons of repertoire and sensibility. Tretiakov now lives in Germany where he is a much-admired teacher and performer.

Brilliant Classics honours the sixty year old violinist with a ten disc retrospective covering live performances given between 1965 and 1990, a quarter-century that covers in the main standard repertoire. The first disc actually gives us one the most penetrating of Tretiakovís performances of a concerto rather disparaged in the characteristically terse Brilliant notes Ė Boris Tchaikovskyís. What that writer finds "workmanlike" others may find introspective, serious-minded and moving. In two movements itís deeply felt but not opaque. The ominous tread and answering violin calls are part of a potent orchestral sound world, one that compels admiration. Scurrying winds incite an increasingly athletic soloist in his dynamic incursions; splendidly played by Tretiakov in 1990. Itís coupled not inappropriately with Shostakovichís No.1 in a 1984 broadcast. Expansive and set in a rather swimmy acoustic this isnít allowed to bite quite as toughly as it might. Blunted by the sonics, though it is this is still commanding playing, though adherents of Oistrakh and Kogan will find Tretiakov rather lateral in his playing of the Passacaglia rather than riding crests of drama. Some will also find him less intensely communicative, even though he takes a considerably slower tempo.

The second disc is rather a mixed affair. Itís good to hear him in the Brahms Horn trio with two colleagues of long standing. Once again though the ambience is decidedly boomy and this doesnít flatter the already fat bore sound of horn player Boris Afanasiev. The highlight of the performance is the fine playing of the trio. With his then regular associate the excellent Mikhael Erokhin Tretiakov essays the Schubert Duo in a decisive and very masculine performance with very occasional ensemble imprecisions. It might not sit so well in this particular disc in a programmatic context but the Prokofiev Melodies are spiced with considerable reserves of character.

Tretiakov has never gone in for mere beauty of tone. And one couldnít say that his tone colours are the most evocative or sensuous. He seldom makes gestures that purr or preen. What he seeks is an appropriate sound colour for each work, not an amorphous tonal beauty for its own sake. Itís very noticeable how each work evokes its own special series of colours and gestures, for Tretiakov is at all times a thinking virtuoso. Some, one should note, may find this kind of playing is at times rather roughly bowed and that Tretiakovís vibrato is wide without having a definable core.

The third disc is a miscellany. The Peiko Prelude and Toccata has its composer as piano accompanist. Itís rather Eli Eli like, hinting at Bloch in its lamentation, but also visceral in its compact and folkloric drive. Tretiakovís Sarasate is subtle, multi-voiced and contoured. He essays Shchedrinís witty Humoresque Ė a splendid encore pleaser for violinists on the look out for something different. And he disinters Remy Principeís El Campielo. He plays all of de Fallaís songs not just Jota and does so with a certain astringency of tone. He also proves in the long line of Russian players who played Ysaÿe so well Ė in his case itís the Poème élégiaque.

A baroque volume is devoted to Bach, Vivaldi and Tartini. His Bach is heavily phrased, quite slow and very serious-minded. Thereís little tonal allure for its own sake in the solo sonata. He and Oleg Kagan take what would now be considered a rather ponderous tempo for the slow movement of the Double Concerto but it is well characterised tonally. The Vivaldi concertos are rather better in this respect though still somewhat over-considered. The Tartini Devilís Trill has rather too many moments of rough bowing and articulation. Tretiakov makes a big play of timbral contrasts between upper and lower strings and plays with graphic intensity. But this is not a performance in the grand line of David Oistrakhís classicist spirit.

The Mendelssohn Concerto with Vladimir Fedoseyev opens unusually slowly and trades on a dichotomy between extreme sweetness of solo tone and a grandiose, rather monumental orchestral support. The orchestral sound itself is rather swimmy. The slow movement is prayerful, the finale more conventional. An unusual, ultimately unsatisfying approach. Coupled with it is the Brahms Concerto with Yuri Temirkanov. Itís a shame that the soloistís first entrance is covered Ė or might it be the lack of projection that some critics have spoken of in relation to his alleged small-scaled tone. Whichever this is not an overtly muscular reading such as one often hears from Russian players. It has instead a certain weariness of spirit, with an occasional intonational slippage in chording. Some studio knob twiddling has gone on in the tuttis unfortunately and this makes for uneasy listening. It would have better to have let the tuttis ring out and sort out the muddied lower string frequencies.

Tretiakov has always impressed in Prokofiev, especially the First Concerto. Heís partnered once more with Fedoseyev and together they turn in a good performance though not an immaculate one. Thereís commanding control over the sardonic wit and the dynamism. In theory this should suit Tretiakovís somewhat astringent playing as well as it did Szigeti but in practice Szigetiís incision is of a different order. From the same concert Ė not a relaxing evening for the iron-armed violinist Ė comes Shostakovich No 2. This receives a reading of windswept desolation, highly articulate and maintaining vibrancy even in the highest positions. The cadenza is redoubtably dispatched, the performance one of power and gravity. Thereís an unlikely envoi to this disc; Messiaenís 1932 Thème et Variations from a recital given almost a decade earlier.

Another rather miscellaneous disc is the seventh. His Saint-Saëns is subtle but not especially sensuous. The Chausson has a certain muscularity that does, in fairness, lighten when he soars upwards. I was not taken by his Kreisler which, in the case of Caprice viennois, accompanied by the heft of the Estonian State Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Järvi, sports unnatural sounding rubati. Tretiakov is inclined to be heavy handed and over elastic rhythmically in this kind of repertoire, as he shows in the other three solo pieces. Lack of the requisite style and tonal resources are fatal here.

No such criticisms could apply to his Paganini, which is first class. Heís never espoused the gymnastic repertoire and has never been known as a finger-buster, though his technique is rock solid. But one concerto he certainly did pursue was the Paganini No.1, here with Järvi again and dating from 1978. Projection and expression are fully on show in a work in which he caused something of a stir in his 1960s tours. Coupled with it is the Khachaturian, with Dmitri Tulin conducting in a 1967 concert. Once more heís a great deal more expansive than Kogan whose 1951 reading with the composer conducting is also in a Brilliant Classics box. Still, for those who find Kogan chilly Ė and there are some who do Ė Tretiakov doesnít stint the warmth of the music, though itís rather blunted by another woolly recording.

Thereís an all-Tchaikovsky disc, as one would expect of an International Tchaikovsky Competition prize-winner. The smaller works with the USSR State under Mariss Jansons are all very acceptable. The concerto Ė from the same concert in October 1981 - is manly but thoughtful, technically eloquent and tonally rich. Fortunately Tretiakov is not a tempo malingerer. Jansons conducts intelligently, except perhaps for a melodramatic closing few bars Ė try to excuse the percussive outburst at the very end. A steady, enjoyable but by no means stellar traversal.

Finally there is more Prokofiev and Shostakovich. He was taped in Shostakovichís sonata in 1970 and one finds him using far more bow weight than the dedicatee David Oistrakh in his own traversals. Heís less core-centred tonally than the older man, and tends to be less febrile and more magisterial sounding in the finale. Two years later he was recorded in Prokofievís sonata, the one originally written for flute. Again he proves redoubtable in this repertoire but Oistrakh proves the more subtle and multi-variegated artist.

This is an impressive salute to a fine musician. If it seems to me rather less essential than other Brilliant salutes to Russian violinists perhaps thatís a reflection both of the nature of the repertoire on show and of the lesser standing of Tretiakov in the upper echelons of that violin school. Muddied sonics of course donít always help his cause either. But Tretiakov discs are not that plentiful at the moment and itís an opportune time to salute this powerful figure on his sixtieth birthday.

Jonathan Woolf


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