Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
(New titles - January)


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

Works for Voice by György Kurtág

Best Seller

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D major Op.77 (1878) [41:01]
Double Concerto in A minor, Op.102 (1887) [33:54]
Gioconda de Vito (violin)
Amedeo Baldovino (cello)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Rudolf Schwarz
rec. 1952 (Double) and 1953 (Violin Concerto), London

Gioconda de Vito recorded the Brahms Concerto in the Kingsway Hall in 1953 with Walter Legge’s Philharmonia directed by Rudolf Schwarz. It’s a recording that has been in and out of the international catalogues – quite popular in Japan – but more out than in. A Japanese Angel/EMI boxed LP set in the 1980s was dedicated to de Vito and consolidated her commercial discs in an impressive fashion, which is where I caught up with the performance, in a transfer that has remained for me something of a benchmark. Archipel issued its own uncredited transfer and added a live Tchaikovsky from Turin given the following year, in 1954. Their Brahms transfer was a grave disappointment - see review.

Admirers of the violinist and of Furtwängler will know that the two collaborated on the Brahms, live, in 1952, a rather subfusc RAI recording and with a similarly sub-standard performance from the orchestra, one that gets progressively worse. It’s an important document for de Vito adherents and should be noted. She’s not as dashing with Schwarz as she was earlier with Furtwängler; her opening statements are curiously static and heavy with a deal of over-stretchy rubato, not a very fast vibrato, and also rather brittle when it comes to the bowing. Elsewhere however she is silvery and pliant with some wonderful poetically phrased lyricism, the greatest virtue in this performance, though some of her voicings and tone colours in the first movement are idiosyncratic; her intonation too. She enters the slow movement stealthily though her very first note is mostly covered by the winds and the patina of her playing is very reserved. This is the kind of musicianship that avoids all rhetorical show and expressive gestures. It's the polar opposite of the muscular Russian or Soviet schools in performances of this work. In the finale we can hear some metrical displacements, with Schwarz marshalling some questionable slowings down. It can become rather static.

De Vito and Schwarz had already been teamed for the Double Concerto the previous year, where they were joined by Italian cellist Amedeo Baldovino. Again, this was well served by that LP box in a fine transfer, and fortunately this Amare is an excellent one too. The two Italian string players had successfully performed the work with Malcolm Sargent, which emboldened EMI to record them. By one of those historical quirks they took it into the studios at almost the exact same time as Furtwängler, Boskovsky and Brabec were taped in their live performance in Vienna, a now oft-transferred performance. The now little-remembered cellist actually emerges as the stronger Brahmsian partner, his tonal resources richer and darker. De Vito is ardent but occasionally a little tremulous, and less forceful in unison passages where the cellist, as can sometimes happen, tends to dominate.

For admirers of the violinist, I would recommend her Furtwängler-directed live Concerto performance, interpretatively-speaking. The Double Concerto is not commonly transferred, and with excellent transfers both make for rewarding if occasionally quixotic listening.

Jonathan Woolf