Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Julia Fischer, Daniel Müller-Schott|
Brahms: Violin Concerto and Double Concerto [SA-CD - CD compatible]
Brahms to the manner born ! (?)
Bruce Zeisel | Albany, NY United States | 06/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In summary, It's the finest performance of either concerto I ever heard. That includes Stern (live and on record), Heifetz, Oistrach, Szeryng, (both live and the RCA recording), and Milstein. As for Mutter (I have both the one with von Karajan and the one with Masur), Mullova and Hahn, for me they all pale before the magnificence of this one.
But is it Brahms to the manner born ? As if by upbringing and birth, Fischer should give us (at such an early age), so commanding a performance of this violin concerto of all things?
To say that, I believe, would denigrate the achievement of this extraordinary young musician. It must have taken a lot of study to derive an interpretation of this magnitude.
Others have said that Julia Fischer is "an astonishingly gifted young artist" - what we have here demonstrates that these gifts extend well beyond her flawless technique and perfect intonation, beyond that gloriously rich and variegated tone set within its golden aura. Fischer's greatest gift must surely be a "profound and lyrical musicianship" (phrase borrowed from the Budapest Sun review of her recent performances of the violin concerto with the NY Philharmonic on their European tour).
We acquired this disc on April 19th during intermission following her performance of this work with Maazel and the NY Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall immediately prior to that tour. On the drive north the next day we played the disc in the car.
After the violin's first entrance, my wife and I turned to each other in amazement! This was even better than last night! The slower tempi allow her to be even MORE expressive!
This recording clearly demonstrates that "profound and lyrical musicianship" and we find that by turns, it is fiery, steely, gutsy and heroic. Yet where implicit in the writing, we are moved by playing of heart-melting lyricism and tonal splendor with breathtaking pianissimi.
The violin's first movement entrance displays jaw dropping power. But beyond that and throughout the movement this power is contrasted with a lightness of touch that is simply amazing (How does she do that?) The phrasing is characterized by a probing intellect as well as by Fischer's innate lyricism.
The first movement cadenza is such a singular and wonderful experience, one wishes for it to never end. After the broad phrasing and tonal splendor of the second movement, one is again startled by the power and exhuberance of the solo violin in the first theme of the final movement.
What of the double concerto? Fischer continues to amaze with her powerful sound and lightness of touch. Mueller Schott demonstrates a like minded approach. This is Brahms Double concerto in a chamber like rendition where two friends match each other, tone for tone and phrase for phrase with solo passages intertwining to yield a conception different from what I have previously heard. The second movement is broadly, beautifully sung but the outer movements are like a fireworks display viewed to reveal a panorama of wonder and tonal resplendence.
As to the sound, the multi-channel layer is not gimmicky, it centers you in the hall about 7 to 10 rows out from the artists. The rear speakers, in conjunction with the front left and right, catch the sidewall and rear wall reflections to reproduce the hall acoustics in your listening room. It sounds like you are truly THERE! This in impossible with mere stereo!
One cannot listen to this disc on a fine multi-channel SACD system and not be absolutely caught up in the profound committment and sheer heart with which Fischer attacks those declamatory chords that form the violin's entry in both the first and third movements of the violin concerto.
THIS is playing of real fire. Fire complemented by all of Fischer's extraordinary abilities, the tonal splendor, the spot on - absolutely perfect intonation, the flawless technique, the sensitive phrasing, the unrivaled musical intelligence.
Her achievment here is simply unparalleled. Brahms should have heard this, he really should have."
Right Up There Among the Best
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to cast my vote for this CD as being extremely satisfying. But then I love both concertos so much that I simply get lost in the music and don't perhaps pay as much attention to technical details as I should; small flaws don't bother me because it's the music itself which is important, not the technical performance. I even remember a live performance of the Violin Concerto played by an international star -- no, you can't drag his name out of me! -- who had a major memory lapse in the finale; the orchestra had to stop and the soloist went over and consulted the conductor's score in order to get back on track. But then he played with the angels. Or with Brahms, which is practically the same thing.
I guess what I'm saying is that there is absolutely nothing in this recording of these two concerti that offends me and there is plenty to gladden my heart. I was won over by Fischer's way with Joachim's cadenza in the solo concerto's first movement. Fire and ice combined. (The playing of the NPO winds is inspired in the lovely Adagio movement.) The finale is perhaps a little restrained, or should I say a little suave rather than hell-bent-for-leather, but it is wonderful in its way. As to her partnering in the Double Concerto with Daniel Müller-Schott -- a cellist I've come to admire greatly and one with whom Fischer frequently plays chamber music -- it is a melding of minds. Don't let me forget to comment that Fischer's constant accompanist on her PentaTone recordings, conductor Yakov Kreizberg, is superb as well. I'm growing very fond of his burgeoning quality recordings. (And did you know he was Semyon Bychkov's younger brother?) Finally, who knew that the Netherlands Philharmonic was capable of such subtlety? This orchestra is playing as if they were the Berlin Philharmonic!
This recording will not replace other favorites -- in the violin concerto I love Milstein, Heifetz, Shaham, Vengerov among others; in the double concerto there are the magnificent Oistrakh/Rostropovich, Szeryng/Starker and Ma/Stern and others to consider -- but it deserves a space on your shelf.
The CD is a hybrid SACD, playable on regular CD players as well as SACD equipment, and the sound is luscious.
The brilliant Fischr is let down by lackluster conducting
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 08/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As often happens at Amazon, reviewers become so subjective that they don't give us a fair portrayal of the performance in question. Julia Fischer is quite distinctive here, offering a rather small-voiced, intimate view of Brahms, sensitive rather than heroic. She's at the oppoiste extreme from Oistrakh, much closer to Hilary Hahn. Her musical ideas are not intrusive; she doesn't attempt to make the Violin Concerto a signature dish concocted from special ingredients. There is instead a flow of keen musicality kept on a personal, poetic level. The only time Fischer deliberately strikes sparks is in the finale, taken fast with extra emphasis on the gypsy flavor of the rhythmic line.
Having read the Gramophone's rave for this CD, along with the reviews at Amazon, I must be in a minority over Kreizberg's contribution. He seems mundane throughout, glibly stating all the main themes before the soloist enters, never probing beneath the surface. The best you can say is that he's energettic and robust. Mediocre condcuting is damaging in a concerto conceived symphonically. Without an equal partner on the podium, even the greatest soloist offers only half a loaf.
Kreizberg fares a little better in the late, melancholy Double Concerto, but here Fischer finds a soulmate in Mueller-Schott. Together they transform the two solo parts, bringing lightness and brightness to Brahms's at times overwrought writing. This is the most mercurial, optimistic reading I've ever heard -- it deserves to stand beside the excellent one on DG from Abbado with Gil Shaham and Jian Wang. How lovely to feel a fresh breeze blowing through the piece.
In sum, I have nothing but praise for Fischer, but the lack of equally inspired conducting comes as a disappointment."