Search - Pablo de Sarasate, Gaetano Pugnani, Ottokar Novacek :: Isaac Stern Presents Encores

Isaac Stern Presents Encores
Pablo de Sarasate, Gaetano Pugnani, Ottokar Novacek
Isaac Stern Presents Encores
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1



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Isaac Stern At His Best ! !
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard for me to believe no one has reviewed this CD! This CD contains encores for Violin and Piano played by one of the greatest violinist of the Century, Isaac Stern along with his life long accompanist Alexander Zakin.Here is Stern at his best..The Technique, the Tone, the Shadings, and the Coloring are all perfect. All these recordings on this CD come from in my opinion, Stern's best period... the Late 40's early 50's.His recordings of the Melodie by Gluck and Bird as a Prophet by Schumann are the best I ever heard..and that is including the recordings by Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein and Perlman. What a Beautiful Sound!. Also this CD contains previously unreleased material."
A finely composed collection of not always substantial piece
Discophage | France | 12/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Volume 31 of Sony's Isaac Stern tribute "A life in music" brings together a collection of "encores", with recordings that date from the early years of the violinist's career: principally December 1947 and August 1952. The collection is assembled with taste, the 1947 recordings (Sarasate to Bloch and Dinicu to Falla - I don't know why Amazon lists Milhaud last, as it comes on track 16 out of 24) framing the ones from 1952. The sonics are excellent, with the piano sounding a bit subsidiary but the violin coming out excellently, and there's no gain in vividness that I can perceive in the 1952 violin when compared to the one from 1947. All the 1947 recordings were published on a single Columbia LP by the way (ML 4324), while the ones from 1952 were scattered on various records, and three of them never released until this CD.

And these three previously unpublished pieces are not always trifles: Jean-Marie Leclair's Sarabande et Tambourin (in Kreisler's arrangement) can qualifiy as such, and perhaps even Szymanowski's "Chant de Roxane" from his opera King Roger in Kochanski's arrangement, but certainly not the same's "La Fontaine d'Aréthuse", the 2nd movement of "Mythes", his (second) violin and piano sonata in all but name. Stern's recording makes one lament that he did not record the complete work.

By essence the pieces are snippets, not always substantial, but played by Stern with chic and his customary juicy tone, and Zakin is an efficient partner. My favorite are those with a folk-music tinge: the Jewishness of Bloch's Nigun, the 2nd movement of his "Baal Sheem" violin and piano suite, which Stern went on to record complete with Zakin in 1961 (now on volume 28 of the Sony Stern collection), the middle-east inspired melismae of Szymanowski's pieces, Falla's Spanish Popular Suite (Kochanski's arrangement again), Dinicu's "Hora Staccato" in Heifetz' arrangement (the epitome of the wild Gipsy violin). Although Heifetz is said to have discovered the Gipsy fiddler Dinicu and obtained of him the right to transcribe his piece, Stern sounds incomparably more idiomatically Gipsy, with all the frenzy and the swoon. Heifetz in comparison seems proper and civilized (Jascha Heifetz Recital).

There's more substantial stuff on other issues from this Isaac Stern tribute (hence my four-star rating), and this one to be fully appreciated needs perhaps to be heard bit by bit rather than complete, but there is some exceptional music and music-making here.