It's probably unfair to compare Sergey Khachatryan's 2006 recording of Shostakovich's violin concertos accompanied by Kurt Masur leading the Orchestre National de France with David Oistrakh's classic recordings of the works: the 1956 Mitropoulos/New York Philharmonic First and the 1967 Kondrashin/ Moscow Philharmonic Second.
This performance takes the music seriously, and Fischer more than holds her own in the outer movements where the violin needs to be able to confront the orchestra fearlessly in their ongoing dialog. In the lengthy andante, once again Fischer projects passion and sincerity without excessive histrionics.
This sparkling suite for violin and piano came into being when the composer had to adapt his incidental score for a production of Shakespeare's play to the impending absence of the chamber orchestral. The result is a brilliant piece for violin and piano, which the composer quickly released in a four-movement version. There are other recordings of the chamber orchestra suite in five-movements that duplicate only three of the movements of this version. Violinist Gil Shaham and pianist André Previn are ideal partners in this brilliant performance. The four movements allow Shaham to show four sides of his violinist's personality: He skips and plays in carefree fashion in the opening movement, indulges in the grotesquery and parody of the second, gets to play the romantic in the garden scene of the third movement, and dazzles with virtuosity in the final hornpipe. Previn's part is more than mere accompaniment; the piano often has a large part of the mood of the music and his contribution is, to use a word already employed here, ideal.
Italian violinist Guiliano Carmignola has a crisp, sharp style that can do wonderful things in High Baroque repertory. In Classical-period music he is again distinctive, but your mileage may vary. This release harks back to the middle days of historically informed playing, when Baroque groups first began to explore the Classical era (and music beyond). There are no graceful, gentle lines here, no warm, muted colors of mythological figures frolicking in summer sunshine.
Recordings of Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, are abundant, and even the pairing with the rarer Robert Schumann Violin Concerto, WoO 23, of 1853 are not as infrequent as they used to be. The thorny Schumann concerto has undergone a reevaluation upward, and plenty of players now concur with the judgment of Yehudi Menuhin: "This concerto is the historically missing link of the violin literature; it is the bridge between the Beethoven and the Brahms concertos, though leaning more towards Brahms." Violinist Carolin Widmann who (like the ECM label on which the album appears) has focused mostly on contemporary music, takes up the challenge of providing something new here, and she meets it. The central fact of the recording is that Widmann conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe from the violin. Others have done this before, but few have pursued the implications of the technique as far as Widmann has: the performances are unusually light and transparent, and they are perhaps thus in accord with the sounds an orchestra of the middle 19th century might have produced. Sample the unusually lively, sprightly reading of the Mendelssohn concerto's finale.
Hungarian Kristóf Baráti is recognised as one of the most outstanding violinists of his generation. His dazzling technique (often compared with the young Heifetz), his sincere, intensely musical interpretations and strong personality have brought him to today's top. This release presents two virtuoso showcases, the violin concertos nos. 1 & 2 by Paganini, the wizard of the violin, suspected of having sold his soul to the devil in order to receive a transcendent technique.
Wieniawski's scintillating works are played with brilliance and great musical charm here by Perlman and Sanders (piano) for the duets, and Ozawa conducting the LPO for the concertos. It is somtimes said that Perlman's playing has often been recorded too "forward", so one can hear the "between the notes" bowing sounds when he plays.
At the ripe old age of 19 Mozart wrote five violin concertos, and they represent his coming of age as a composer of orchestral music. From here on, it's basically one masterpiece after another. Though not difficult works, technically speaking, they partake in full measure of Mozart's uniquely sensual brand of melody. That means that successful performances must know how to spin out a singing musical line, while at the same time making the most of the rare opportunities for soloistic display.