WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Brahms: Double Concerto; Bruch / Oistrakh, Fournier

Release Date: 03/07/2006 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 45765   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Max BruchJohannes Brahms
Performer:  David OistrakhPierre Fournier
Conductor:  Lovro von MatacicAlceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraPhilharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BRAHMS Tragic Overture. 1 Concerto for Violin and Cello, ?Double.? 2 BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 3 ? David Oistrakh (vn); 2,3 Pierre Fournier (vc); 2 Alceo Galliera, cond; 1,2 Philharmonia O; Read more class="SUPER12">1,2 Lovro von Mata?i?, cond; 3 London SO 3 ? EMI 45765, mono 3 (70: 25)

Brahms?s Tragic Overture and ?Double? Concerto, recorded on November 2, 1956, and February 29 & March 2?3, 1956, respectively, at Kingsway Hall, London, originally appeared together on a single LP. EMI?s re-release, as part of its series of ?Great Recordings of the Century,? reproduces that original issue, including as well the second of Oistrakh?s recordings of Bruch?s First Concerto, from November 17?18, 1954, at Abbey Road, London (the Brahms Concerto appeared second among four of the work, the first from 1946 with Sadlo and An?erl; the third from 1948 with Knushevitsky and Eliasberg; and the last from 1969 with Rostropovich and Szell). Tully Potter?s notes relate the dramatic story of the Brahms recording?s origin?Fournier had been working with Oistrakh and Yampolsky in Stockholm, where they casually discussed playing the Brahms Concerto. Through Walter Legge, that discussion eventually led to this recording, which Oistrakh, according to Potter, treasured, literally to his dying day. Fournier would record the same work with Francescatti and Bruno Walter almost four years later; although both Oistrakh and Francescatti both seemed to dominate the cellist, Francescatti?s leaner sound strikes sparks (Henry Roth thought he simply didn?t contribute sufficient tonal weight) and at least in the beginning, Fournier seemed to respond with a more aggressive approach. Be that as it may, Fournier and Oistrakh constitute a mellifluous duo, singing with especially touching ardor in the slow movement. The finale?s massive and energetic, but set off, too, by the soloists? bursts of carbonated fizz. The recorded sound, balanced, according to one story, by Legge himself, still provides satisfactory detail, although soloists and orchestra seem to have been folded together in a round ball of dough. The engineers made Galliera?s stirring account of the Tragic Overture relatively more transparent.

Despite his reputation as a ?cold? performer, Jascha Heifetz effectively championed Max Bruch?s warmhearted works, making an unexpected case for hot rather than mild sauce. Oistrakh, on the contrary, would have seemed ideal for the First Concerto; in fact, he brought tense energy rather than melting warmth to the first movement?s opening recitative before indulging in its more richly romantic continuation. The work?s glory lies in its slow movement, which Oistrakh plays with great ardor (and with congenial support from Mata?i? and the orchestra), employing a full range of Romantic expressive portamentos, yet without allowing it to sound in the least maudlin. Of the finale?s theme on the G string, Oistrakh makes an especially grand oratorical statement; but the first theme hardly lacks crisp energy, and Mata?i? builds imposing climaxes as runways for the soloist?s even higher flights.

These performances have been available from time to time in reissues, but not recently. For their performances and for the clarity of their recorded sound, then, they fully deserve their inclusion in general collections as well as in EMI?s series. They?re mandatory for aficionados of Oistrakh in particular and of the violin in general.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin no 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch
Performer:  David Oistrakh (Violin)
Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Germany 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
Tragic Overture, Op. 81 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102 "Double" by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pierre Fournier (Cello), David Oistrakh (Violin)
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Austria 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title