One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


alternatively AmazonUK

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 (1844) [26:59]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D Op.77 (1878) [39:51]
Joseph Szigeti (violin)
New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra/Bruno Walter (Mendelssohn), Dmitri Mitropoulos (Brahms)
rec. February 1941 (Mendelssohn) and October 1948 (Brahms)
MUSIC AND ARTS CD1197 [67:55]

Fortunately Szigeti left behind a number of performances of the Brahms Concerto, some commercial and some recorded off-air. According to taste one can go for the Hallé/Harty, Philadelphia/Ormandy and the stereo LSO/Menges from the commercial discs, and the Boston/Munch and this NYPSO/Mitropoulos from the live broadcast material. All repay the closest scrutiny because despite the pronouncements of current proponents of binary oppositions in music making, players such as Kreisler, Huberman and Busch did not possess hegemony in the Brahms.
The Brahms finds Szigeti with Mitropoulos, the conductor who apparently held Szigeti in higher esteem than any of his contemporaries. Let me say at once that this is a performance that affords manifold insights into the musicianship of two great musicians. True, the recording exacerbates the tensile and razory quality of Szigeti’s tone but this was a constituent of his playing and the insights revealed by him are legion. Foremost among them is his considered approach to portamentos and expressive finger position changes. In the Harty recording the tension between the pervasive sliding of the Hallé strings and Szigeti’s more sparing use of the device generated a fruitful if sometimes incongruous tension. Here many years later in New York we find that the device is very much less in evidence in the orchestral ranks. Mitropoulos directs and sculpts a powerful and incisive orchestral sound world; he’s slower and steadier than Harty’s more fluid and spontaneously romanticist approach.
The finale in particular shows just how commanding this pairing can be. Szigeti’s playing is masculine but sensitive; downward portamenti are employed for significant expressive intent. Just once one senses he might become derailed but he recovers. There is a little damage to the source material – a few acetate ticks and from 2:45 the sounds starts to crumble, though Ward Marston has done his best to mask it. There’s some hum audible as well so I’d recommend taking down the bass frequencies.
We know Szigeti best in the Mendelssohn from his 1935 Beecham recording, multiply reissued over the years. In strictly temporal terms this one with Walter differs hardly at all though there are certainly differences in attack and both conductors take intriguingly personalised views in the finale – Beecham giving a dramatic kick, Walter bringing out capricious Midsummer Night’s Dream wind tracery. The recording is rather boxy and Szigeti is well forward in the balance, which because of his particular tonal qualities means that this is an occasionally abrasive ride. The brief audience coughs and chuffing on the original acetates are not intrusive though they’re both audible. Szigeti’s bowing at the start of both the opening movement and the finale is not beyond reproach but otherwise this is an impressive reading, and one interpretatively consistent with that which he gave with Beecham a few years earlier.
Ward Marston’s transfers do well with the source material. The Brahms was once on AS disc 518 where it was coupled with the Szigeti/Mitropoulos Mozart K216 Concerto – an enviable all-Mitropoulos conducted disc. The Marston sound is not radically different – in fact the differences are small, though his small restoration of the finale crumble in the Brahms is good.
Talking of good there’s a long and admiring note from Abram Chipman. And of course Szigeti admirers should not hesitate to add this disc to their collection.
Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus



Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.