Notes and Editorial Reviews
One of Kremer's most commanding performances, both polished and full of flair, magnetically spontaneous from first to last.
The rule now seems that all the finest versions of the Beethoven Violin Concerto are being recorded live... Here is another, for Gidon Kremer's Teldec recording offers one of his most commanding performances, both polished and full of flair, magnetically spontaneous from first to last. Rarely have I heard such consistently pure tone in this work as from Kremer, and his achievement is set in place the more clearly, when my other new version offers the first recording of this work using period instruments. Harnoncourt may have expanded his sights beyond the period performance movement, but the
lessons he learnt then are most imaginatively applied in his work with COE, earlier in his Beethoven symphony cycle, later in the Missa solemnis, and now in this Concerto. If Kremer regularly has you registering new detail in the solo part, the orchestral writing too is superbly realized, with magical sounds in the slow movement in particular.
The controversial point about the Kremer version for some will be the cadenza in the first movement. It is described as by ''Beethoven/Kremer'', for like Wolfgang Schneiderhan in his 1961 DG recording he uses a transcription of the big cadenza which Beethoven wrote for his piano arrangement of the work. But where Schneiderhan had the solo violin backed up only by the timpani (just as Beethoven does), Kremer introduces a piano as well. This has the advantage that he can open out the tiny cuts made by Schneiderhan, as well as giving to the piano many of the passages and left-hand accompaniment figures that are ill-suited to the violin. It makes a very long cadenza indeed—five minutes exactly as against...3'50'' for Schneiderhan's version of the Beethoven. What Kremer does may seem protracted as well as controversial, but he can certainly quote Beethoven in support. And I am relieved that he has not again recorded the Schnittke cadenza which he used on his earlier Philips recording of the Beethoven. On the new disc he also plays violin versions of the cadenzas and flourishes—many more than in normal performances—which Beethoven introduces in his piano arrangement, but only once again does the piano come back, in the last of the cadential flourishes of the finale. Altogether one of the most refreshing versions of the concerto ever committed to record, backed up by crisp unsentimental readings of the two Romances, with the first of the two flowing faster and more freshly than we are used to.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [12/1993]
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria
Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 : I Allegro, ma non troppo: Beethoven : Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 : I Allegro, ma non troppo
Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 : II Larghetto: Beethoven : Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 : II Larghetto
Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 : III Rondo: Beethoven : Violin Concerto in D major Op.61 : III Rondo
Romance No.1 in G major Op.40: Beethoven : Romance No.1 in G major Op.40
Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op. 50: Beethoven: Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op. 50
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