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RUSSIAN VIOLIN CONCERTOS Knipper, Khrennikov, Karayev, Rakov rec 1947-1989 Russian Revelation - Rare Repertoire RV10104

There may be a supply problem with this disc



This is a very varied catch with a different soloist and conductor for each concerto. Oistrakh and Kremer devotees will not want to miss these recordings. Sound quality is never very sophisticated. These are radio tapes rescued from Russian Radio archives. The sound is probably mono throughout. The notes do not tell me. The Karayev is possibly in stereo.

Two very different concertos from the very late 1950s are sandwiched between two from the years of the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany. Overall the bread comes over far more successfully than the filling. Both the Nicolai Rakov (1908-90) and Lev Knipper (1898-1974) works, dating from 1943 and 1944 respectively, are sweetly and meatily melodious. They are not specially original and are none the worse for that. The Knipper (played by Arkady Futer rec 1966) is called 'Little Concerto' and so it is, running circa 11 minutes across three pocket movements. The language is a rather touching blend of Delius, Glazunov, Korngold and Dvorak. The only criticism is an unconvincing finish.

The Rakov (David Oistrakh rec 1947) is quite a find too and deserves more exposure. It is another ripely romantic work but here struggles with crumbly fragile sound. It is written in much the same language as the Knipper but with a dash of Walton - odd since there is presumably no way Rakov could have heard the Walton while writing it. The Khrennikov (Yako Sato rec 1967) and Karayev (Gidon Kremer rec 1989) are written in very different language. The latter is atonal and only becomes engaging in the final sardonic march movement which shows signs of Shostakovich's tutelage. The Khrennikov is, to my ears, a rather empty exercise. The language is certainly approachable and the violinist's skills are tested or showcased as is expected but little stays in the memory afterwards except perhaps a rather Eastern caste to the first movement which also uses material which seems to have escaped from Rosenkavalier.

Good notes from John Kehoe though I would have liked to know more about the featured composers' other works. Perhaps their music will appear in future releases. Good discographic information but no indication of stereo or mono.


Robert Barnett


Robert Barnett

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