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Violin Concertos
Bartok, Stravinsky, Mullova
Violin Concertos
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1

It's handy to have two of the 20th century's greatest violin concertos together on one disc, especially in such fine performances. The somewhat astringent but dance-inspired Stravinsky, in his neo-classic mode, dates from ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Bartok, Stravinsky, Mullova, Lap, Salonen
Title: Violin Concertos
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Release Date: 3/14/2000
Genre: Classical
Styles: Forms & Genres, Concertos, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Instruments, Strings, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 028945654225

It's handy to have two of the 20th century's greatest violin concertos together on one disc, especially in such fine performances. The somewhat astringent but dance-inspired Stravinsky, in his neo-classic mode, dates from 1931. Viktoria Mullova invests it with virtuoso flair, her lean tone perfectly fitting the brittle, skittish outer movements, broadening for the melodically rich Aria movements. The Bartók gets as committed a reading, Mullova playing with rhapsodic exuberance and the orchestra matching her for color and energy. Mullova sings the delicate lyrical theme that opens the Andante tranquillo movement with intense inwardness. Esa-Pekka Salonen's sympathetic conducting makes this a partnership to treasure. --Dan Davis

CD Reviews

Absolutely Fabulous!
Darin Tysdal | Bloomington, MN 55420 | 10/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ever since I heard the recording of the Bartok concerto (with the original ending) by Mark Kaplan on Koch, I have listened to all of the recordings of this ending. I have no reservations at all in saying that I prefer the original ending. All of the conductors (Lawrence Foster, Michael Gielen, Leonard Slatkin and Esa-Pekka Salonen) play it for all its worth-and to me, it's worth a lot. I can see why Bartok published this ending. It is true, though, that it should say on the CD case that the original ending is used (which is also the case on the Tetzlaff/Gielen recording.)This is my favorite available recording of this version, as the Zuckerman/Slatkin recording is out of print. There is also room on this disc for the revised ending, which Zuckerman/Slatkin also do. All you have to do is program your CD player accordingly.As for the rest of the performance, it is absolutely fabulous. Mullova's tone never falters, and she is expressive where possible and she is backed to the hilt by Salonen and the LA Phil. The sound is gorgeous, with a very realistic bass drum. Soft playing is beautiful and loud sections are very powerful. As for the Stravinsky, this piece is foolproof, in my opinion. Every recording I have heard of this piece (Perlman/Ozawa, Stern/Stravinsky,Chung/Previn, Gitlis and now, Mullova and Salonen) is very well done. The spirit is certainly there, and Mullova certainly can play her violin well. This cd is recommended with much enthusiasm!!"
Two Favorite 'Modern' Concerti Magnificently Performed
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is so refreshing to note that these two 20th century concerti are now considered staples of the repertoire of the major orchestras. Both of them are not only inventive and demanding, but they are also simply beautiful music!

Viktoria Mullova is a perfect match for these works. Her technique is dazzling while being more concerned with the composer's ideas than her own. In the Violin Concerto in D major by Stravinsky she is as brisk and perky as any artist on record. Her control over the dynamics and the phrasing fit like a glove.

In the Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor of Bela Bartok she sings the elegant opening movement with all the passion it demands, and yet in the second movement her technical virtuosity is cheeky and assured. In both of these works Mullova is partnered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group as conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen: finer collaboration would be difficult to imagine. The LA Phil New Music Ensemble is merely a reduced form of the LA Phil and sound is lushly resonant where called for and tightly attentive when the speed and accuracy of the collaborative portion are paramount. Salonen knows this repertoire well and molds the soloist and orchestra into a finely honed whole. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 06

Sweeter in both concertos than what we're used to
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Amazon reviewer, like almost every critic before him, trots out "astringent" to describe the Stravinsky violin concerto, written in 1931, the prime of his neo-clasical period. Mullova and Salonen conquer the cliche with a sweet-toned performance that dances and chirps light-heartedly. Mullova doesn't take the opportunity to dig into the music; she is content to be part f the contrapuntal weave as the most important thread. On her own terms, it's the first Stravinsky concerto performance I would call charming.

The Bartok Second Concerto is a considerably more significant masterpiece. This is a work where astringency applies, along with a touch of the barbaric. But Mullova goes her own way again--she is warm and lyrical throughout. In fact, the miraculous thing about her style in general, now that I know it fairly well--is how she can keep one's interest without much external show. She uses beauty of tone and sensitive phrasing in the best way possible, to bring across deeply felt musical instincts. I would rate her the most musical violinist now before the public, despite my high regard for Vengerov and Shaham, both of whom resemble Mullova in style. Excellent sound, by the way, and the LA Phil. plays with panache and bite in the Bartok, staying well on the side of refinement."