Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Mullova|
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto In D Op. 35/Sibelius: Violin Concerto In D minor Op. 47
For some reason, record companies like to put these two concertos together, particularly for debut albums. Of course, Viktoria Mullova is an established artist, but this was the record that got her career going, and it's... more »
For some reason, record companies like to put these two concertos together, particularly for debut albums. Of course, Viktoria Mullova is an established artist, but this was the record that got her career going, and it's still one of the best around for these two concertos. They are very different pieces: the Tchaikovsky warmly heart-on-sleeve, the Sibelius more brooding and melancholy, even in its flashier moments. Mullova is a very serious, even severe artist, who's not into musical fun and games. You would think that this makes her a natural for Sibelius--and so it proves. But she also imbues the Tchaikovsky with a certain intensity of purpose and musical logic that makes her performance stand out from the crowd, and that's what great playing is all about. --David Hurwitz
Can't go wrong with either of these electric performances
John Grabowski | USA | 09/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Intensity of purpose and musical logic." Here Hurwitz hits it right on the nose in describing the Tchaikovsky concerto. Mullova, who I've read no longer plays this work because she says it is "too much work for not enough music," extracts plenty of music here. In a concerto that offers plenty of opportunities to smear notes, she articulates each phrase with clarity, yet this is not a mechanical performance. It's rich in passion with a full rich accompaniment by Ozawa and the BSO. (Admittedly the sound is a little too lush and thick at times.) My only major quibble with her entire performance is in the coda to the first movement. Usually there's a dramatic tempo increase here, but she plays it pretty slow. Maybe she's trying not to "show off," but I think that's exactly what this section calls for; otherwise it is dull. She takes passages that are normally cut in the Finale, by the way.
But as great as the Tchaikovsky is, it's the Sibelius that's worth the price of the disc. Mullova is icy-cold in the first movement and plays with stark authority. The only recording I know that tops this one is Oistrakh/Rozhdestvensky (BMG/Melodiya), and that one has inferior sound. The slow movement here in particular is luminous and stops time--you will be drawn into this performance's seamless, organic whole. Mullova, who was very young when this was recorded, plays as someone with wisdom beyond her years.
The recording has the electricity of a live performance. The Philips sound, as usual, is warm and smooth. Pity this is out of print, but look for it used. It's worth the effort.
(Post script: I see that this disc has gone out of print. What a shame--more proof Philips does not treasure its superb catalog. This shouldn't be too hard to find used, however, so run, don't walk, to your favorite used CD store and start browing the bins. This should not be out of print.)"
Mark Pollock | Davis, CA United States | 07/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All the criticism so far is right on the mark - this performance is brilliant, technically superb, and very enjoyable.
One aspect of this recording that is almost unnoticable is how well the orchestra backs Mullova. Every phrase is spot on, the dynamics are fantastic, simply a great job.
The recording is fine, but not great. As mentioned before, it is very warm. I find that it has too much hall sound, not enough stereo image, and a very indistinct high end. It does not take advantage of the possibilities of high-end sound, but it is also a digital recording done in 1985, when digital recording was still fairly new and was not capable of resolving all those wonderful high frequencies that we treasure.
The performance is also noise-free. There are no massive bumps, creaking chairs, burps, floor squeaks, or loose barnyard animals to be heard. (The Uto Ughi recording of this appears to have a rhinocerous wandering around nudging the microphones every so often. It's awful.)