Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D / Cho-Liang Lin, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen
Don't miss this!
J. Anderson | Monterey, CA USA | 01/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Stravinsky is a giant of a piece, and Cho-Liang Lin rocks! His playing is outrageously fine, constantly and completely. The nuances of his musical hearing are a wonder to behold time and time again! He claims the magisterial Stravinsky with all fires lit, and leaves the competition in the dark! It's as inevitable a performance as you will ever hear from a master of Music. The Prokofiev is so strong and beautiful, and the First Concerto, especially, so brilliantly composed, it's difficult to complain that we hardly need more Prokofiev concertos, so I won't. Lin's sheer musicianship is startling; his is an original and musicianly vision of kingly proportions, and so pure at times it takes your breath away. His magnificent musical aesthetic comes full circle between the Prokofiev and the Stravinsky, each advance coming rightfully from the one before, set in an extraordinary musical understanding that seems to know no boundaries but beauty in Cho-Liang Lin. And the fiddles he uses, especially the Guarneri del Gesu, are to my ear without peer among the instruments of the great modern violinists recording today! If you want to know HOW a great violinist 'hears', listen to the timbre of the instrument he chooses to play! This is a great recording - don't miss it!"
One of the best. Absolutely amazing.
wooj | Chicago, IL USA | 05/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Both Stravinsky's and Prokofiev's violin concertos are absolute masterpieces, although they may take some time to absorb if you are used to more classical-era composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. Once you "find the groove" in these works, you'll be intoxicated and thrilled by both the score and the performance. Cho-Liang Lin is a dazzling genius in this recording -- his playing is just electrifying and superb. The different sounds he creates, which I cannot describe in words, are part of those living tributes that make the violin such a great instrument. Salonen's conducting is great, creates a wonderful ambience for Lin's heavenly violin, and is very convincing. The second movement of Prokofiev's no.2 is truly beautiful. Out of my collection of over 300 classical CD's, this stands as one of the best. A must-have for any serious fan of classical music and/or good music. Just buy it."
Definitive Performances of Three Great Concerti
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording from 1994 is one of those 'must have' recordings: the pairing of Cho-Liang Lin with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic is a collaborative coups that remain the gold standard, even though obtaining this recording is becoming increasingly difficult. Hopefully it will be re-issued soon.
Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 is the less performed of the two and in many ways that position of importance should be reversed! Though the Second concerto is rich with melody and characteristic of Prokofiev's mature compositional skills and excruciating demands on the soloist, the First concerto contains moments of musical dichotomy and cultural/sociopolitical clash that informed Prokofiev's creation of the work in the stormy year of 1917. It is all here: the bristling motoric changes in tempi and the testy atonality of the new music of the era are equally balanced with some of the most 'Russian' of folk melodies and passion. Technically challenging while demanding in heart, Lin gives it his all, allowing his incomparable virtuosity to enhance the moments of soaring beauty of line with a tone so rich it feels like cream. His performance of the Second concerto is equally exciting: he is ever in control of the demonic lines while allowing the pulsating melodic lines to flow with natural, almost ethereal grace.
Lin's (and Salonen's for that matter) affinity for Stravinsky has never been better served than in his impeccable performance of the Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra. He understands the bite, acerbic wit, and neoclassical aspects of this challenging work like few others. And here again, as with the Prokofiev works, Salonen and the LA Phil provide synchronous collaboration with that is exceptional and exciting. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, January 06"
A dark horse for best in class
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know if it's cultural snobbery that causes Cho-Liang Lin to be overlooked when critics mention the best performances of a given work, but he has been outstanding on every CD I've heard, and this one is no exception. Born in 1960 in Taiwan, Cho-Liang perhaps isn't exotic enough to rank with mainland aritsts like Lang Lang and Yundi Li, but he surpasses them in musicality and innate feeling for classical style. The Prokofiev and Stravinsky concertos aren't classical, of course, but you would never guess that Cho-Liang is anything but a top-flight virtuoso on the order of Itzhak Perlman, so polished and complete is his playing.
I would raise this account of the two Prokofiev concertos above Perlman's EMI versions, in fact, because the sonics from Sony are superb, and Salonen, a committed Prokofiev conductor, offers the best accompaniments I've ever heard. The venue is acoustically superior (Royce Hall at UCLA), and the 20-bit format affords total clarity, with unusually realistic violin tone. As far as interpretation goes, Cho-Liang is powerful, assured, and extrovert. He provides the hushed atmosphere required in the opening of the First concerto, but in both Shcerzos he avoids the biting satire and edgy slashes that other, more daring performers favor (e.g., Leila Josefowicz), falling closer to a sweet-toned Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham. But those are superficial characteristics. What's so remarkable here is the close affinity between soloist and conductor, which makes both works sound like Prokofiev symphonies with violin obbligato. The same smoothness and power is applied to the Stravinsky concerto, which feels not quite right given the composer's preference for a drier, more detached style. On the ohter hand, in its romanticized way, this is a gripping performance, too.
Whatever small reservations one might have, here is superlative playing from an overlooked virtuoso with music in his viens. "
3 concertos! Count 'em!
David Thierry | Chicago, IL United States | 02/12/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lovely recordings indeed. Not only the two by Prokofiev so often erroneously coupled with another composer's but the more challenging Stravinsky. Isaac Stern's recording bought my soul way back when but this is a terrific performance, if a bit slower in the second movement of the first and a bit soft and lyrical where there really should be a bit more bite in the second movement of the Stravinsky although he rises to the challenge of the last movement. Excellent all around."