Heifetz - Double Concertos by Bach,
Mozart, Brahms Johann Sebastian BACH
(1685-1750) Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043
MOZART (1756-1791) Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola in E
flat major, K 364 (320d) (1779) [27:00]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102
Erick Friedman (violin) (Bach); Thornton Lofthouse
(harpsichord) (Bach); William Primrose (viola) (Mozart); Gregor
Piatigorsky (cello) (Brahms)
New Symphony Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent (Bach);
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Izler Solomon (Mozart)
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Alfred Wallenstein
rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England, May
1961 (Bach); Republic Studios, Hollywood, California, February 1956
(Mozart); Republic Studios, Hollywood, California May 1960. ADD.
CD audio; SACD; SACD Surround Sound
BMG RCA RED SEAL
As expected this
is awesome playing recorded with an immediacy that pins the
listener against the wall. Set against this the fact that these
versions are all just a bit hasty and unfeeling; even brusque
at times. It is almost as if Heifetz and his collaborators cross
a field of fragile blooms treading them under foot. And yet
… and yet … these readings remain profoundly impressive and
they do have the capacity to move. The ensemble is thunderously
simultaneous in the fortes; agreeably gruff and spot-on in unanimity
though a little less so in the Brahms. The Bach and Mozart are
successful in a very idiosyncratic way. There’s no doubting
the romantic charge ladled on deep, warm and sticky but the
results are often irresistible as in the lilting slides at 3.29
in the middle movement of the Mozart. However I would not want
to hear these works like this every time.
In these hands the
Brahms is the least successful of the three concertos. It lacks
the necessary weight of thought and substance. This is a reading
that scuds across the surface – rips along flattening the flowers.
Compensation is proffered in the form of moments of electrifying
excitement but it’s not enough. It does not dig in and for me
it certainly does not move. I have heard several different versions
recently and while hardly ideal the EMI Gemini (0946 3 81487
2 2) with Oistrakh and Fournier is to be preferred. If you can
take the rough edges then another lively, humane yet abrasive
performance is the live one on Russian Revelation RV10089 from
Viktor Tretyakov and Viktor Feigin – get it if you see it. It
has real blood running through its veins and arteries. My reference
version however is the Isaac Stern/Leonard Rose version on Sony.
There is no absolutely substitute for its lyric 'stickiness'
and smoky passion – an overwhelming version.
The sound on this
disc is forty years plus old and is grainy yet vivid. The full
notes are by Jay S. Harrison.
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