Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Gideon Kremer, Sir Neville Marriner|
Beethoven: Violinkonzert (Violin Concerto in D)
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Beethoven on a smaller scale, appealingly different
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As much as I hate to admmit it, submitting Beethoven to a huge virtuoso orchestra isn't what he intended. Here the reduced forces of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields aproximate the size of ensemble the composer would have heard in Vienna at a performance of the violin concerto. In addition, Marriner's fairly brisk but relaxed way with the accompaniment makes this feel almost like a chamber work.
Kremer scales down his playing; we hear more finesse than power. The Philips recording from 1980 is warm and natural. Nowadays one would expect a more aggressive approach from Kremer, who pushes the violin to its limits, but the young Kremer 25 years ago was much tamer. Some listeners might find the whole performance too tame, but I turn to it as an antidote to the usual attempts at Big-Think Beethoven."
Lyric Beethoven with a Twist
I. Martinez-Ybor | Miami, FL USA | 11/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of one of Beethoven's most melodious scores has been a favorite of mine since it first appeared in vinyl many years ago. It has long been superseded in popularity perhaps even critical acclaim by Kremer's later, grander, more conventional effort with Harnoncourt conducting on Teldec. Philips, to my knowledge, never saw fit to re-issue it on CD; it is now beind done so, under license by Arkiv, though preserving the Philips artwork but not the notes. The sound retains the warmth and clarity of the original, bright early-digital recording.
What makes this recording so special? It is lyrically conceived from the first note to the last. Kremer, ably supported by Neville Marriner and the ASMF, are not out to dazzle but to engage. The scale is intimate, the tone is bright and serene, blissful when the violin part ascends into the stratosphere. And then there are the miraculous Schnittke cadenzas. Imagine yourself seated in a very familiar, comfortable room, decorated to your pleasure. Imagine lifting yourself out of your body and looking at it from an entirely different perspective, with all the furniture and bric-a-brac placed where you would least expect it, but nonetheless there, so that enchantingly displaced, you are never dispossed. The vision lingers for a while but miraculously everything falls back in place, you are back in your body, curiously refreshed, comfortable in familiar surroundings. Surprisingly, you were never afraid. This is one way of describing the cadenzas Alfred Schnittke wrote for this concerto and (if my recollection is correct.... again no notes.....) for Kremer, an unstinting advocate of his music. The sound of the cadenzas is simultaneously incongruous and firmly rooted in Beethoven. At times violin is punctuated by tympani, in recollection of the opening bars of the concerto. How the last movement cadenza modulates into the finale is magical.
So, this is a precious recording indeed. Perhaps as an introduction to the piece, the later Kremer, with cadenzas by the violinist himself (based on Beethoven's less successful piano version of the concerto), might be a more appropriate venue. Or for the historically minded, the 1934 Bronislaw Huberman with George Szell conducting the Vienna Philharmonic (cadenzas by Joachim?). But Kremer/Marriner is not a recording to by skipped by lover of the piece, the violin, or the soloist. I am very happy it is now on CD and next to my several other versions of the work."
The Concerto has been reissued on a budget label
Discophage | France | 01/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given the price now demanded for this CD, part of the early batches of Philips CDs (it came out in LP form in 1980) and now gone, I just wanted to point out that the Concerto has been reissued on a budget series, shorn of the two Romances, but with the addition of an earlier recording, made by Kremer in 1979 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Emil Tchakarov, with the first Romance and the Concerto fragment WoO (work without opus number) 5 (originally half an LP whose other half were Schubert trifles). You can find it (with my 5-star review) here: Violinkonzert/Violinromanze Nr. The Schnittke cadenzas, which were bazookad down in flames back in 1980 and again in 1984, are possibly this version's main appeal. They are clever, and actually much less jarring than Kremer's option in his 1992 remake with Harnoncourt, to have a fortepiano play from the wings the cadenza written by Beethoven for his own reworking of the Violin Concerto in form of a Piano Concerto, opus 61a, and dialogue with it (Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 / Romance in G major, Op. 40 / Romance in F major, Op. 50 - Gidon Kremer / Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Nikolaus Harnoncourt). Other than that both readings are pretty similar, Kremer hasn't changed much his approach in the intervening twelve years, Marriner's Academy is marginally less muscular and clearly-articulated than Harnoncourt's Chamber Orchestra of Europe, but still the orchestra's chamber-like quality, swift (but never rushed) tempos and energy make it a fine partner to Kremer."