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  PentaTone Classics -
  PTC 5186 059
  Russian Violin Concertos - Fischer/Kreizberg
  Khachaturian: Violin Concerto, Prokofiev: Violin Concerto, Glazunov: Violin Concerto

Julia Fischer (violin)
Russian National Orchestra
Yakov Kreizberg (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 14 show all

Reviews: 6 show all
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Site review by Polly Nomial December 21, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:    
This has to be one of my favourite violin concerto discs - stuffed full of beautiful but highly contrasted music, presented with great panache and sensitivity from a young violinist, orchestra & conductor in wonderfully well balanced MCH sound.

Right from the opening, Kriezburg and the RNO (a fabulous ensemble since inception) provide a vivid and colourful introduction to allow Julia Fischer to come and dance away with the main theme. Throughout the accompaniment is alert to the need to allow the solo lines to come through the orchestral textures. The tempo taken is not driven but always has a sense of forward movement. In the slow movement, the more meditative side of Khachaturian's music is given free and imaginative rein by JF. The concluding Allegro vivace is just that! The playing bursts in and gleefully skips along which makes for a quite invigorating experience - I had to restrain my hand from pressing "repeat" on the remote control such is the pleasure that I experienced (I gave in after listening to the whole disc though!)

The Prokofiev is a harder piece to pull off successfully, the heart is not worn on the sleeve like Khachaturian or Glazunov do but when it is successful it is one of Prokofiev's most enchanting pieces which hides some darker emotions. In the opening the solo line floats above the shimmering tutti strings and soars with the woodwind. Some violinists cannot vary their tone sufficiently and so appear to be strident, "weak" or bland. Fischer does not suffer from this and treats us to a lovely display ranging from tender to dazzling to strong. Just as the music creeps in from barely being concious, it retreats in a most delightful manner here with all contributions perfectly balanced against one another. The Scherzo then is played with such energy that it almost eclipses the vigour of the Khachaturian. The almost balletic and songful closing movement that moves ever closer to tranquillity is given the same care and attention that was lavished on the closing of the first movement and delightfully disappears into the ether that it emerged from some 20 minutes earlier.

The Glazunov is a very "sweet" experience and as such the performers need to treat it with lightness that we don't reach for more substantial fare. The opening section of this piece is thrown off without a care in the world and we soon find ourselves in the more meditative Andante. Here Fischer phrases without a hint of self-conciousness that others seem to wallow in and it is a very refreshing experience indeed not to have ones ears laden with sentimentality. The cadenza builds up a real head of steam which powers the concluding Allegro to the dazzling conclusion the Glazunov had surely imagined as pen was put to paper. Throughout, Kreizburg and the RNO appear to be of identical mind as Fischer and the RNO leaves me in no doubt of their stunning but selfless virtuosity.

The recording itself is extremely good with a great deal of detail coming across with real presence in this very vivid music. The balance places us in my favourite position in the stalls (about half way back) and the accoustic is presented nicely, with percussive effects echoing nicely off the "walls" in MCH.

A real joy - don't hesitate, I find it really hard to imagine this disc being bettered for a long time to come.


Copyright © 2005 John Broggio and

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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Works: 3  

Alexander Glazunov - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82
Aram Khachaturian - Violin Concerto in D minor
Serge Prokofiev - Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19