Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS


 

 

Romantic Violin Concertos
CD1
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 (1806) [45:40]*
Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.26 (1866) [25:48]#
CD2
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 (1845) [27:58]^
Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D major Op. 35 (1878) [35:08]^
CD3
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor Op.47 (1903 rev. 1905) [31:43]%
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor Op.63 (1935) [26:35]%
David Oistrakh (violin), Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française/André Cluytens *; Nikolaj Znaider (violin), London Philharmonic Orchestra/Lawrence Foster #; Augustin Dumay (violin), London Symphony Orchestra/Emil Tchakarov ^; Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Philharmonia Orchestra/Mariss Jansons%.
rec. 8, 10 November 1958, Salle Wagram, Paris *; 26-28 April 1999, Watford Town Hall #; 2-4 March 1988, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road ^; 8-10 August 1991, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road %. ADD*/DDD
EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 5008992 [3 CDs: 71:19 + 63:06 + 58:48]

The other releases in this first batch of EMI Triples tend to pull together recordings that were initially conceived as series.  They include Mariss Jansons' Rachmaninov cycle, his complete Dvořák recordings for EMI, Blomstedt's first Nielsen cycle, Sawallisch's Brahms cycle and Martinon's Ravel

This issue is different.  Under the banner of “Romantic Violin Concertos”, it resurrects two unconnected discs from the back catalogue, and adds a third disc that yokes a classic recording with a performance from one of today's most exciting young violinists. 

The classic recording is, of course, David Oistrakh's recording of the Beethoven with Cluytens.  Of his four studio recordings of this piece, this one is probably Oistrakh's best, edging out even his earlier EMI studio performance with Ehrling.  True, that earlier account is perhaps more urgent, and there is little to complain about in relation to its clean mono sound.  This recording, however, sees Oistrakh at his most refined, shaping Beethoven's lyrical phrases with a sweet full tone and classical poise.  It helps that he has a sympathetic Beethovenian on the podium.  Cluytens had already begun recording his classy Beethoven cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic when this recording was made, and his attention to the detail of the score, clarifying of internal parts and careful phrasing help to give this recording its famous beauty.  While the violin is balanced forward, Walter Legge's superb ear never allows it to overwhelm the orchestra.  If you do not own this recording, you need it.  Of course, if you are an Oistrakh fan first and foremost, you may prefer to acquire this recording in harness with another of his concerto performances – his Philharmonia performance of Mozart's third violin concerto – on EMI's Legends series. 

If memory serves me correctly, the Oistrakh/Cluytens Beethoven concerto first appeared on CD in harness with Oistrakh's distinguished account of the Bruch No.1, which has been re-released in  EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series.  As it happens, Oistrakh's Beethoven sits beside another Bruch No.1 on the first disc of this EMI Triple.  Nikolaj Znaider would have been as prolific a recording artist as Vengerov or Shaham had he come along a little earlier, before the “major” labels began imploding.  His Bruch No.1 is confident and forthright.  He modifies tempo without sounding willful and pours out Bruch's lovely melodies with ease but without a trace of routine.  He is warmly supported by Foster and an energised LPO, though the sudden improvement in recorded sound from Oistrakh's warm but slightly dry analogue to the full Technicolor bloom of recent digital sound is distinctly noticeable.  This recording comes from Znaider's debut EMI disc, which also featured the Nielsen concerto.  I missed that disc the first time around, but if his Nielsen is anything like his Bruch, I hope EMI manages to re-release it. 

The third disc in this set is also well worth adding to your collection.  Frank Peter Zimmermann  is not the most flashy soloist, but his sparkling technique and clear tone are perfectly suited to these two concertos.  Zimmermann's playing in the Sibelius is faultless, his intonation perfect and his command of the notes breathtaking.  He does not dig into the piece the way, say, Perlman does, but he is no less compelling.  His charming performance of the second of Prokofiev's concertos is similarly impressive.  As excellent as Zimmermann's playing is, Mariss Jansons and the Philharmonia deserve much of the credit for the success of these two performances.  In both scores, Jansons draws finely detailed and conversational playing from the orchestra, and the playing of the winds in the Sibelius is given welcome prominence. 

The second disc is disappointing.  Augustin Dumay is usually a violinist who can be relied upon to deliver performances of fantasy tempered by taste and refinement.  Here, though, his sense of fantasy is a disfigured beast that runs amok.  Dumay is wayward in the Mendelssohn, pulling tempi around with abandon and phrasing flagrantly.  It is the sort of performance that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.  The Tchaikovsky receives the sort of performance that will have you reaching for the eject button.  As if the gratuitous point making and look-at-me antics were not bad enough, Dumay's technique fails him here too.  He pushes tempo and gets out of time with the orchestra, his tuning is suspect and he fudges more than a few notes in his rapid runs.  The cadenza of the first movement is a painful experience.  The orchestra could never redeem these performances, but it does not try to either.  The LPO plays with bluster in both recordings but overall sounds uninvolved and under-rehearsed. 

The concertos by Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn are – together with the Brahms concerto, which is inexplicably missing from this set – the quintessential Romantic violin concertos, and should be the centerpiece of this collection.  That being the case, you would expect that EMI would retrieve top quality performances of each piece from their back catalogue for this Triple.  For the Mendelssohn, EMI could have selected either of the excellent Perlman performances on their books – I prefer the fresher analogue account with Previn and the LSO to the later digital performance with Haitink and the Concertgebouw – or a performance by Kennedy, Menuhin, Zimmermann or a number of others.  As for the Tchaikovsky concerto, there's the Kogan and Silvestri, Perlman and Ormandy, or even the 11 year old Sarah Chang with Sir Colin Davis – any of these  would have slipped into this collection nicely.  Instead EMI has resurrected a disc that deserved to be deleted. 

As noted at the outset, the concertos on this Triple have been drawn together on the basis that they are all of Romantic violin concertos.  Certainly the Bruch, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos are at the core of the Romantic violin repertory.  Whether the Sibelius qualifies is debatable, but its admission to the club can probably be conceded.  It is a stretch to call the Beethoven concerto “Romantic”, though.  It may post-date the Eroica, but it is certainly classical in its thematic material and construction.  As for the Prokofiev, warm though it may be, this is neo-classicism rather than romanticism.  Perhaps I am being unnecessarily obsessive about classifications. However, it would be expected that a collection of Romantic violin concertos would stick with the central Romantic concerto repertory. As much as I love it and as much as it is the highlight of this set, Oistrakh's recording of the Beethoven should have been replaced here by one of his two recordings of the Brahms concerto for EMI (on GROC with Klemperer or on Encore with Szell), or either of Perlman's, or Little's or someone else's.  The Prokofiev should have been ousted for, say, Zimmermann's, Chung's or Perlman's recording of the Dvořák concerto, or perhaps even Kremer's recording of the Schumann. 

As a set of key Romantic violin concertos, this set does not really deliver what would be expected.  Nonetheless, EMI has brought together four good performances that are well worth hearing, and if you don't already have it, Oistrakh's Beethoven alone is worth the price of this set, Romantic or not.

Tim Perry 

 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




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.