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Paganini, Strauss: Violin Concertos; Tchaikovsky / Belkin, Et Al

Release Date: 05/22/2005 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4767488   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Niccolò PaganiniRichard StraussPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Belkin
Conductor:  Zubin MehtaVladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin Radio Symphony OrchestraNew Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Boris Belkin doesn't shy away one bit from the showier aspects of Paganini's echt-virtuoso Violin Concerto No. 1. Indeed, he's only too happy to indulge the music's many opportunities for bravura, right from the opening of the large-scale, formidable first movement, with its high-wire-act of a cadenza. The violinist's technique is beyond reproach, with many passages that stun for their sheer audacity as well as accuracy. Yet Belkin is sensitive enough of a musician to find the poetry and poignancy that lie beneath the surface sizzle, as he offers a gently moving Adagio and a confident, vivacious rendering of the festive finale.

Richard Strauss' early Violin Concerto is not so distinctive as his later orchestral works,
Read more nonetheless it's a finely wrought and very enjoyable composition, with some bold and inventive solo writing as well as occasional passages that hint at the composer's mature harmonic style. Belkin bestows on this music the same sterling musicianship you would expect of him when playing one of the great concertos, especially in the engaging, brightly-lit first movement and the finale's driving presto.

The program ends in a similarly upbeat if somewhat more relaxed atmosphere with Tchaikovsky's delightfully dancing Valse-Scherzo, which Belkin brings off with spirited aplomb. Belkin's conductor accompanists--Zubin Mehta in the Paganini and Vladimir Askhenazy in the Strauss and Tchaikovsky--provide top-notch orchestral support throughout, while the remastered Decca recordings offer satisfying clarity and presence. A real treat for violin fans, especially at the Eloquence price.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 6 by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Boris Belkin (Violin)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1817; Italy 
Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 8 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Boris Belkin (Violin)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1882; Germany 
Valse-Scherzo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, Op. 34 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Belkin (Violin)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Russia 

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