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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto; Brahms, Et Al / Ivry Gitlis

Tchaikovsky / Gitlis
Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 88469  
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyJohannes BrahmsBéla BartókSir Edward Elgar,   ... 
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

IVRY GITLIS Ivry Gitlis (vn); Francesco Mander, cond; 1 O Natl de l’ORTF; 1 Tasso Janopoulo (pn); 2 Georges Pludermacher (pn); 3 Stanislaw Wislocki, cond; 4 Warsaw Natl PO 4 EMI 88469 (DVD: 75:22)

Read more class="COMPOSER12">TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto. 1 BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 3: Allegro. 2 BARTÓK Solo Violin Sonata: Melodia. ELGAR La capricieuse. 2 WIENIAWSKI Polonaise brillante in D, op. 4. 2 Capriccio-Valse. 2 SAINT-SAËNS Introduction and Rondo capriccioso. 3 MOSZKOWSKI (arr. Sarasate) Guitarre, op. 45/2. 3 ALBÉNIZ (arr. Kreisler) Malagueña, op. 165/3. 3 PAGANINI Violin Concerto No. 2: La campanella 4

EMI’s entry for Ivry Gitlis in its classic archive series draws from INA archives from the decade between 1962 and 1973, all filmed in Paris (Tchaikovsky on June 13, 1965; Brahms, Bartók, Elgar, and the Wieniawski Polonaise filmed on June 5, 1962; Wieniawski Capriccio-Valse on April 12, 1968; Saint-Saëns on November 17, 1971; Moszkowski and Albéniz on August 21, 1973; and Paganini on October 2, 1966). Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo capriccioso appeared as an extra on EMI/IMG 90446, a DVD devoted to Arthur Grumiaux. In 27:6, I noted that while Gitlis “pumps a listener’s adrenaline” and that no one should “experience a dull moment in these eight and a half minutes,” I cautioned that not everyone would be entirely pleased either. It’s true, critics in my youth would suggest that this or that work could be heard properly only in Gitlis’s reading. And, of course, Gitlis does have the kind of edgy musical personality to put across similarly edgy works like Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto. His performance, in EMI’s collection, of the “Melodia” from Bartók’s Solo Violin Sonata displays him, in this sense, at his best, even though that movement’s a lyrical one compared to the Sonata’s spiky Fuga or the jagged episodes of its Tempo di ciaccona. But in this movement, as elsewhere, Gitlis relentlessly deploys highly individual devices from his expressive arsenal, such as eerie extended passages without vibrato punctuated by sudden vibrated notes. Throughout the program, such sections of “white notes” appear unexpectedly, and so do rapid bow strokes that suddenly slow down, as they might in a rhapsodic Gypsy improvisation, brittle but fiery staccatos, and tempos that, as mentioned, pump the listener’s adrenaline. His reading of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto may come as a welcome alternative after so many faceless ones—and in it, his face appears at every movement. In “La campanella” from Paganini’s Second Violin Concerto, in which he pantomimes to a previously recorded performance, he also seems to have lengthened his stride, although some may find it hard to watch. He may sound brilliant in Wieniawski’s Polonaise brillante , but either listen to Milstein’s performance from the 1950s or watch Heifetz’s video. Both of those violinists also played with a generous dollop of individuality, but neither of them seemed to overshadow Wieniawski’s personality so fully as Gitlis does, for good or evil. And while Elgar’s La capricieuse may showcase Gitlis’s hair-raising staccato, it’s not so electrifying as to compensate for a brittleness that didn’t infect Heifetz’s early performance of that work.

What’s the algebraic sum of all this back-and-forth? It’s that Gitlis stands a bit to the side of the main violinistic concourse, providing an enjoyable detour for listeners and suggesting to violinists, now and then, a fresh point of view or a novel interpretive idea that’s well worth exploring. He remained fully himself, dashing as Ysaÿe, electrifying as Heifetz, but perhaps with the faults of both, as successive crops of increasingly anonymous violinists grew up beside him. But so strong a personality might perhaps better be taken by some in small doses—or, if possible, diluted ones. EMI’s collection’s neither brief nor diluted. Individual numbers can, of course, be accessed through the menu, so those who find the whole somewhat overwhelming can dip more tentatively into the parts. The collection is therefore an indispensable reference; and those who simply wish to be amazed and can tolerate a modicum of pain adulterating their pleasure or those who simply admire Gitlis whatever he does can even swallow it whole. I should probably note that I fall into the latter categories—now into one, now into the other—so it’s hard for me to qualify my recommendation even as much as I’ve done. At bottom, then, I’d have to describe this collection as strong though salutary medicine for almost everyone.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 108 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; Austria 
Work(s) by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
La capricieuse, Op. 17 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; England 
Polonaise brillante for Violin and Piano no 1 in D major, Op. 4 by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Russia 
Capriccio-Valse in E major, Op. 7 by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854 
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 45: no 2, Guitarre by Moritz Moszkowski
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Malagueńa by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
Concerto for Violin no 2 in B minor, Op. 7 "La Campanella": Excerpt(s) by Niccolň Paganini
Performer:  Ivry Gitlis (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826 

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