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Reviews: Russian Violin Concertos - Fischer/Kreizberg

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Reviews: 6

Site review by Polly Nomial December 21, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:    
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Review by beardawgs January 14, 2005 (20 of 20 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This disc arrived in the same batch of new violin concerto recordings with Mutter (Tchaikovsky/Korngold) and Hann (Elgar), and it has already spent more time the player then the two above mentioned ladies combined. While Hann is ok but unremarkable and Mutter outrageously self-absorbed, Julia Fischer strikes the cord perfectly. This all Russian programme is well executed and even better programmed Ė rarely available Khachaturian and Glazunov in such a glorious recording are the SACD treat of the season.

Ms Fischer is a new name for us, and she is definitely one to watch. Her tone has a plenty of personality, her touch might be light but it doesnít lack expression and most importantly she doesnít over perform the rest of the orchestra. She copes perfectly with the lyrical demands of Khachaturianís slow movement and effortlessly moves on to dance-like bravura of the finale. Orchestra and the conductor play an equal role in the performance, and the musical reminders of the composerís more popular works (notably Spartacus in the slow movement) are never too far away.

Glazunovís lyricism is of a different sort Ė this is a single movement piece with opening Moderato serving as a long introduction with uninterrupted violin line leading straight into the central Adagio, a sort of late romantic symphonic picture with violin obligato. Violin floats among woodwinds and strings all the way through, and apart from the brief cadenza orchestra and the soloist are swapping and developing each otherís ideas. And not just musically, but in terms of phrasing and expression, until the whole thing just erupts in a glorious folk music inspired Allegro finale. Virtuosity a plenty on offer, all of it executed with great precision and subtlety.

A hard nut to crack, Prokofievís first is more about the mood and meaning than hitting the right notes. Fischerís tone grows darker and darker, her confidence just teams from every line and her musical authority is undeniable. The closing pages of the first movement with high strings and harp have the solo violin incorporated in a complete sound picture so perfectly in a way that Iíve never heard before. Customary transparent recording from Pentatone helps a lot, while the utterly barbaric Scherzo has some impressive dynamic outbursts. Ferocious tempo here sounds just right, while the soloist explores some more unusual colours of her instrument to a great effect.

The recording, spacious, dynamic and natural, as ever from this source, has the solo violin placed naturally within the orchestra. Such a diverse program and hypnotic quality of Fischerís performing personality keep us coming back to this disc more than we ever expected. How about Shostakovich, Prokofiev two and Stravinsky for the second volume?

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Review by nickc September 21, 2005 (10 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
My first Julia Fischer disc but definitely not my last! A full-blooded collection of Russian violin concertos all different in their own ways - the Khachaturian sinuous and dolorous, the Prokofiev spiky and magical and the Glazunov with a sort of faded fin-de-siecle charm.
I'd never heard the Khachaturian and immediately in the first movement we have a galloping motif that just gets the beat racing and the toes tapping! A lovely, dolorous slow moevment with duets with the woodwind then another energetic movement for the finale - great, undemanding (to listen- not to play!)stuff!
With the Prokofiev we have one of the great 20th. century concerti and Fischer is fully up to the task - what a barbaric scherzo and, as Beardawgs has correctly said, what a lovely floating cantabile violin at the end of the 1st. movement!
The Glazunov is not on the same inspired level as the Prokofiev as a piece but is has some lovley melodies and can be regarded as a fantastic bonus - the disc runs for 79.24!
Fischer is balanced closely but her playing astounds. Don't forget Yakov Kriezberg who is really making a name for himself as a conductor and succesfully deliniates the differing characters of these 3 concerti.
The sound is magnificent, full-blooded, up-close, just how I like it.
Highly recommended.

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Review by threerandot May 25, 2007 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
After reading the glowing reviews presented here, I decided to get this one and this disc does not disappoint! Julia Fischer and Yakov Kreizberg make an excellent team. Julia Fischer has a lyrical, singing tone and is completely at home in these wonderful performances with the Russian National Orchestra.

The disc starts off with an exhilarating performance of the Khachaturian concerto and it is mind-boggling that this piece has not been recorded and performed more often. It truly is a moving and exciting piece of music. Fischer has no trouble with it and plays it with supreme artistry. The Prokofiev is a moving and lyrical piece with plenty of passionate playing, the soloist at times, embedded in the orchestral sound. The Glazunov is a lovely piece to end this fine disc.

There is wonderful ambience and depth in this recording and the playing is simply first rate. You won't hear a single moment of "routine" in this collection.

The excellent booklet features notes by Ms. Fischer herself and she has always been confused at concert promoters and conductors who have been reluctant to include the Khachaturian concerto in their concerts. I find this completely incomprehensible, given the excellent treatment Fischer and Kreizberg give in this recording. The booklet also features notes on Ms. Fischer's career, conductor Yakov Kreizberg and the Russian National Orchestra. You will also find some photos of Ms. Fischer, as well as her conductor and orchestra.

To summarise, top-rate sound, superior performances and an excellent booklet make this one of the very finest SACDs in my collection. Completely recommended... miss at your peril!

(This review refers to the MCH portion of this disc.)

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Review by jazz1 March 5, 2012 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I am quite happy with the performance especially the Prokofiev. The Glazunov is the weakest one and lacks a bit of passion.
My main problem is the audio quality which everybody rates as 5 stars.
I had this recording for a while and listened to it on a few high end system and the same problem is apparent. The violin sound lacks body, this is probably due to the fact that Julia is too far back. The orchestra details is excellent but it is on the bright side of neutral, there is also a lack of image depth.
Pentatone has done much better than this.
The Prokofiev sound is a little better but not by much.

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Review by Luukas May 26, 2014 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is extraordinarily brilliant recording of Russian Violin Concertos. Julian Fischer plays magnificent: hers violin's tone is bright and natural, and Yakov Kreizberg understands these familiar scores very well. Russian National Orchestra is good accompanist.
Aram Khachaturian's Violin Concerto is dazzling and exciting work. First movement's singing melody from woodwinds is excellent and violin's accents rhythms are ravishing. PentaTone's natural recording captured Moscow Studios surrounding acoustic. Second movement's singing thema sounds excellent, and dancing finale is funny.
Sergei Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto is one of the modern era's greatest works for violin and orchestra, and Fischer plays its sentimental moments very beautifully. First movement't dreamy theme is excellent, and second movement's difficult moments are stunning! Third movement is also very good.
And now, my own favorite: Alexander Glazunov's Violin,Concerto in A minor, Op. 82. I have one another recording of this work (Nathan Milstein (Emi Classics)), and it is excellent: Mr. Milstein's technique is breathtaking (tempi are fast) but he doesn't plays composer's markings flageolets. It is shame, because the whole performance is satisfying. But when I heard this recording, I was surprised: Fischer plays warmly and richly. Glockenspiel's magical sound is captured very closely and harp's dreamy sound sounds pretty. Concerto's end is powerfully: cymbals crash is stunning! Very welcomed issue!

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