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Mendelssohn, Bruch: Violin Concertos / Perlman, Et Al

Release Date: 08/01/2006 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 56525   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnMax BruchTraditional
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
Conductor:  Bernard HaitinkJesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw OrchestraNew Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Anyone who wants to understand why Itzhak Perlman has reached such a dominating position among violin-players might listen to Perlman’s recording, made on June 24–25, 1983, of Mendelssohn’s Concerto. Through the first movement’s cadenza, it seems amiable, virtuosic, and aggressive enough, but during the recapitulation, Perlman begins to feel his oats, stretching phrases with the impunity—and almost with the tonal opulence—of Mischa Elman. But this heartfelt playing remains chaste enough to please listeners who might have scoffed at his illustrious forebear. Just this section alone, even without the second movement’s more controlled expression and the finale’s ebullient sparkle (even if not so bright as Heifetz’s), would make the release Read more worth acquiring. Haitink and the orchestra follow close on Perlman’s heels during his inspired digressions; and although the violin sounds a bit far forward (and hardly so lush in live appearances), the digital recording offers rich detail.

Perlman and Haitink recorded Bruch’s First Concerto during the same session. Perlman played more expansively than urgently in the first measures of the Vorspiel, but he’s by turns importunate, pleading—and urgent—during the movement proper. In the second movement, he recalls both Stern’s expressive performance from 1956 (which I always preferred to the stereo one from 1966) and the freedom of expression in the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Concerto, all with affecting tenderness. The finale’s appropriately commanding, full of sound and fury signifying, in this case, much more than nothing.

Perlman’s reading with Lopez-Cobos from February 27–28, 1976, captured in three-dimensional analog sound, may seem, in its first movement, not to register the same soaring excitement and tensile strength as Heifetz’s, which set a very high standard; but, as in the other concertos in the program, Perlman breaks loose on occasion: in this less frequently played concerto, that occurs strikingly in the recitative-like transition to the first movement’s recapitulation, as well as in the second, recitative-like movement as a whole, which he plays with an authority arguably the equal of Heifetz’s, but with superior tonal splendor, and finally in the finale’s lyrical passages.

Perlman certainly shows himself, at least in select passages scattered throughout these performances, to be an interpreter at the level of the greatest violinists of the past. For these moments alone, the program demands an urgent recommendation.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Germany 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 27 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands (06/24/1983 - 06/25/1983) 
Concerto for Violin no 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Germany 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 23 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands (06/24/1983 - 06/25/1983) 
Concerto for Violin no 2 in D minor, Op. 44 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Germany 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 25 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, England (02/27/1976 - 02/28/1976) 

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