Better than Heifetz on the Auer Stradivarius
Don Loritz | Dayton, OH | 12/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard Vadim Gluzman perform the Tchaikovsky live with the Dayton Philharmonic last month. The lines to buy his CD at intermission were WAY too long, and I couldn't bring myself to buy a *recording* of what I had just heard live. Now I have just heard an FM broadcast of this recording. Both performances were so astonishing I felt compelled to immediately order it and post a first review of this album.
If you read other reviews of the Tchaikovsky you will find that every soloist gets 4.5 stars. No classical music aficianado can reach my age without hearing dozens of performances of this piece. Everybody who can play the notes at all sounds good playing it. But I have heard nobody play it like Gluzman.
For me and many other reviewers, the Heifetz/Reiner recording is the standard against which others are judged. Heifetz played it *fast*, but Heifetz didn't play it this fast! Truth be told, there are moments in the Heifetz/Reiner finale where it sounds like both Heifetz and the orchestra are trying to play faster than they can, and Heifetz goes a little portamento, using the energy of that "scratching" style to cover up any "accidents" along the road. So the Heifetz/Reiner is exciting, albeit a little bit in the way a NASCAR race is exciting.
Not so here. Gluzman covers up nothing. Cascades of double octaves that are only a blur in the Heifetz fall like sparkles from Gluzman's violin. Everywhere there are crystalline details of the work that you have never heard before. Some critics will no doubt find (as I did at first) that Gluzman is overly Romantic, showboating, even gauche (!) in how he frames these details with large and sudden changes in tempo and dynamics and with abrupt stylistic changes from Russian folk to symphonic. But the snob in you is soon overwhelmed. This is Tchaikovsky! It *can't* be played too Romantically.
Possibly the most compelling aspect of this recording is that Gluzman plays it on the Auer Stradivarius. This is the fiddle Tchaikovsky wrote the concerto for! Tchaikovsky originally dedicated the concerto to Auer (and, implicitly, this violin). Sadly Auer himself couldn't play the concerto well--he at first called it "unplayable". Finally here, in this recording we hear the violin and the concerto come alive in the hands of an artist who can play them! Surely this is the sound Tchaikovsky wanted when he wrote it.
I haven't heard Gluzman's Glazunov; I'll comment as soon as I do. I just *had* to bring this disc to your attention. It belongs in everyone's collection, if only for the Tchaikovsky.
Glazunov is GREAT
Carolyn Yurko | Weirton, WV | 09/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
An absolutely wonderful recording of this old favorite. The clarity is exceptional and the execution amazing."