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The Legendary Violinist David Nadien in Live Recordings
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806) [42:25]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844) [25:02]
David Nadien (violin)
National Orchestral Association/Leon Barzin (Beethoven)
The Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra/Wolfgang Schanzer (Mendelssohn)
rec. November 1952, Carnegie Hall, New York (Beethoven) and May 1975 (Mendelssohn)
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 137 [67:31]
Experience Classicsonline


It’s always a pleasure to encounter another Nadien disc from Cembal d’amour. It’s a sign of the fecundity of such discs that I no longer think it imperative to give you links to the many reviews I’ve written of this great violinist. A simple search should do it for you, and you will find biographical and musical matters a-plenty.

The two live performances here were made almost a quarter of a century apart. The Beethoven was with National Orchestral Association and Leon Barzin, familiar to many, and equally so for the Feuermann survivals as well. Nadien was 26 in 1952 and his playing is marked by fluidity and romantic breadth, the recording by a balance which slightly favours the orchestral tapestry. Tempi are sensible. Nadien slows in echt Romantic fashion for the glorious lyric expression in the slow movement, in which his dynamics are reduced to a sepulchral whisper - playing of rapt introspection that some more austere auditors might find too youthfully pronounced, perhaps. The slow movement is warmly and rather beautifully done. The finale features some more elastic rubato. There are a few minor imperfections recording-wise; a bit of ‘scrunch’ and the fact that fortes don’t really register strongly; a relatively limited dynamic range. Can’t say I was unduly perturbed, given that allowances should be made.

There’s a bit of a lack of definition to the lower strings in the Mendelssohn, taped in 1975. Once again Nadien plays in the Grand Manner, an aristocrat of finger-position changes. His brand of fervour and deeply expressive instincts would, I think, be frowned upon today when the Mendelssohn Concerto is a more aesthetic creature than of old. The slow movement for example is no feather-bed lied. On the contrary it’s full of warm inflexions, of quicksilver slides, and powerful intensifications of tone. Dynamics are commensurately hefty, and the playing a lexicon of violinistic devices. The finale is not over-pressed. The chamber orchestra offers very decent support.

Once more, at the risk of boring readers, Nadien offers ripe playing and splendid musical riches.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


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