This is a perfectly reasonable recording of Bach's works for violin and orchestra and anyone who has not heard the works before will no doubt find them more than adequate. Violinist and leader Jonathan Rees is a fine player with a sweet tone and a warm style and he takes the strings of the Scottish Ensemble through thoroughly professional performances of the works. When joined by spry violinist Jane Murdoch in the Concerto for two violins and plangent oboist Nicholas Daniel in the Concerto for violin and oboe, Rees proves himself a graceful and considerate partner. Virgin's early-'90s sound is a bit thin on top but still clean and clear.(James Leonard)
As long as there are violinists around like Giuliano Carmignola, classical music will never be a museum for the dead because in his hands, Mozart's Concertos are brilliantly, vibrantly, irresistibly alive. Carmignola, who later signed with Sony and then Deutsche Gramophone after these recordings were made in 1997, is a violinist with a light bow, a warm tone, an impeccable intonation and a superlative technique, all of which are needed for Mozart's effervescent Concertos. But, best of all, Carmignola has an elegant way of turning a phrase and a graceful manner of expressing the inner life of the music. With the skilled if not especially characterful il Quartettone led by Carlo de Martini, Carmignola turns in performances of Mozart Concertos which while they might not challenge the greatest recordings ever made, certainly do reconfirm the life enhancing – life affirming – qualities of the music.(James Leonard)
The title and theme of this set of concertos is 'Human Passions.' The detailed booklet argues that Vivaldi was unique in attempting to portray human emotions in the instrumental concertos. As examples of this, the first disc consists of six violin concertos written around about the time of the opus 8 set which includes the Four Seasons. These extra concertos may have been intended to form a new set of six related concertos all linked by Human Passions. The concertos are are titled and five are as follows: Il Sospetto (Suspicion); L'Inquietudine (Anxiety); Il Riposo (Repose); Il Piacere (Pleasure) and L'Amoroso (The Lover). The missing sixth title could have been one of many options and on this disc the extra concerto played is Amato Bene (Beloved Creature). The second disc in the set comprises four reconstructed concertos from a similar period but where the concertos are incomplete, mostly as a result of missing pages or parts. These have been expertly reconstructed to the extent that they sound authentic. Given the sheer number of fully complete concertos already available it may seem a little strange that such an effort has been made in this direction, but they make an enjoyable group.
Star violinist Christian Tetzlaff performs Béla Bartók’s (1881–1945) two masterpieces in a new recording with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. This recording continues both artists’ highly successful series of recordings on Ondine.
The violin concertos here are not the familiar pair in A minor and E. Bach composed a number of concertos for orchestral instruments and later transcribed them as keyboard concertos. Reversing Bach’s procedure, Wilfried Fischer has taken the harpsichord versions and from them has reconstructed the originals. BWV 1056 is a transposed transcription of the Keyboard Concerto in F minor (though New Grove identifies the outer movements as being from a lost oboe concerto). The D minor work is also usually heard in its keyboard adaptation. The concerto in C minor for two harpsichords appears in its original instrumentation for violin and oboe, the soloists here being perfectly balanced for clarity of line. It was Tovey who suggested that the A major concerto may have been intended for the oboe d’amore, an instrument pitched between the oboe proper and the cor anglais.
The answer to the question what would post-Oistrakh Soviet Mozart sound like? is Vladimir Spivakov. The answer to the question what does Spivakov's Mozart sound like? is lightly, lively, elegant, and, every once in a while, extremely intense. In these recordings from the late '70s and early '80s of Mozart's violin concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with the English Chamber Orchestra and violist Yuri Bashmet, Spivakov plays and conducts with graceful artistry, consummate virtuosity, and deep humanity. In opening Allegros, Spivakov is airborne in the zephyrs of spring. In the closing Rondos, Spivakov is dancing in the ballrooms of Europe. But sometimes, especially in the central Andantes, Spivakov can sing with an intimacy and intensity that reveal a more profound Mozart, a Mozart touched not only by eternity but by mortality. In the central Andante of the Sinfonia Concertante with the soulful Yuri Bashmet, Spivakov proves he is not only the best of the post-Oistrakh Soviet violinists, but also one of the most moving violinists of the past 30 years.(James Leonard)
Compiled from recordings dating from 1965 to 1974, this EMI/Gemini double-disc of Bartók's string concertos and other works features Yehudi Menuhin at the peak of his powers, with support from two important Bartók specialists and their sympathetic orchestras. Menuhin is admirably backed in all the concertos by Antal Dorati and the New Philharmonia Orchestra, and Pierre Boulez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra provide meticulous accompaniment in the two Rhapsodies. The resilient Viola Concerto and the splendid Violin Concerto No. 2 are essential listening, both for their masterful writing and for the vigorous performances Menuhin and Dorati deliver.
These classic recordings need little comment from me on artistic grounds. Heifetz's account of the Mendelssohn never has been bettered for sheer dazzling virtuosity, and although the Beethoven is more controversial (some find it "cold"), I love its unaffected, truly classical purity. Besides, you also get Munch and the Boston Symphony, no mean bonus. It's interesting to compare the two performances in multichannel sound, since the Beethoven is two-track, while the Mendelssohn offers three.