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Gemini - Beethoven, Brahms, Etc / Oistrakh, Et Al

Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 81487   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenSergei ProkofievWolfgang Amadeus MozartJohannes Brahms
Performer:  Sviatoslav KnushevitzkyLev OborinDavid OistrakhPierre Fournier
Conductor:  Sir Malcolm SargentAlceo GallieraDavid Oistrakh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Concerto In C, op. 56, “Triple.” 1 BRAHMS Concerto in a, op. 102, “Double.” 3 PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2. 3 MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3. 2 David Oistrakh (vn), cond; 4 Read more Malcolm Sargent, cond; 1 Alceo Galliera, cond; 2,3 Sviatoslav Knushevitzky (vc); 1 Lev Oborin (pn); 1 Pierre Fournier (vc); 2 Philharmonia O EMI 81487, analog (2 CDs: 119:39)

David Oistrakh recorded Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto four times in the studio, about once every decade—twice with Knushevitsky and Oborin in 1947, this performance with Sargent on May 10, 1958, and later with Rostropovich and Richter in 1969. He made his recording of Mozart’s Third Concerto on May 22, 1958, as one of four: in 1954 with Ancerl and the Czech Philharmonic, this one with himself conducting in 1958, another the next year with Barshai and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and in 1971 with himself conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. He also recorded the Brahms “Double” Concerto several times: with Sadlo in 1946, with Knushevitsky in 1948, this one with Fournier from February 29 to March 3, 1956, and with Rostropovich in 1969. His only recording of Prokofiev’s Second Concerto (he recorded the First several times, supposedly once with the composer conducting) came from the 1958 sessions mentioned above, specifically on May 14 and 19, 1958.

In 21:6, I reviewed DOREMI’s release of the older of Oistrakh’s two recordings with Knushevitsky and Oborin (Oistrakh, Volume 4, DHR-7714) and characterized his later one with Sargent and the Philharmonia, then already available on EMI 69331, as “better balanced, with Knushevitsky warmer and Oistrakh less brilliant,” although I thought that Oistrakh, Rostropovich, and Richter discovered new relationships among their parts. The performance from 1958, with soloists placed within the orchestral web, as a concerto grosso perhaps requires, balances moments of rugged declamation and sensitive reflection, and in EMI’s resonant recorded sound still seems commanding.

Henry Roth considered Oistrakh’s way with Mozart somewhat romanticized, but his performance of the Third Concerto, both as violinist and conductor, sounds at least as spirited as Isaac Stern’s recording from 1950, which it resembles in its energy, although it surpasses it in buoyancy and effervescence, at least in the first and third movements. Once again, the engineers have placed Oistrakh in a chamber-music relationship with the orchestra rather than in an aggressively soloistic one.

Oistrakh’s and Fournier’s reading of Brahms’s “Double” Concerto reappeared less than a year ago on EMI 45765 (30:1). In the accompanying booklet, Tully Potter related that Walter Legge had set up the recording session after Oistrakh and Fournier, working together in Stockholm, had “casually discussed” playing the Concerto. Potter also noted that Oistrakh especially treasured this recording. In my review, I compared Oistrakh’s collaboration with Fournier to that of Fournier with Francescatti and Bruno Walter, recorded about four years later. Both violinists seemed to overwhelm the cellist, but “Francescatti’s leaner sound” struck sparks and “at least in the beginning, Fournier seemed to respond with a more aggressive approach.” Legge himself supposedly balanced the orchestral sound (which I characterized as “folded together in a round ball of dough”), but the soloists appear in about the same relationship of soloist to orchestra that appeared in the other performances in this anthology of re-releases. I singled out the soloists’ “touching ardor in the slow movement” and the “massive and energetic” finale “set off . . . by the soloists’ bursts of carbonated fizz.”

It’s said that Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto didn’t achieve the popularity in the Soviet Union that the First enjoyed, perhaps for political reasons. (That’s surely not why Oistrakh suffered his first heart attack while performing the G-Minor Concerto in 1964.) EMI re-released his only recorded performance on EMI 62889. The engineers took an approach to their soloist in this Concerto similar to the ones they took in the other works recorded during these sessions, and in 28:3, I noted that Oistrakh seemed “less committed” in this work than he had been in the performance of the First Concerto (with Lovro von Mata?i? and the London Symphony Orchestra) paired with it on the re-release, although I thought that “his being buried under swirling orchestral detail in the slow movement may have given an inaccurate impression of dimmed intensity.”

Collectors of David Oistrakh’s recordings who haven’t already acquired these mature, now almost vintage performances of a half-century ago shouldn’t hesitate to do so. They’re virtually self-recommending.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello in C major, Op. 56 "Triple Concerto" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Knushevitzky (Cello), Lev Oborin (Piano), David Oistrakh (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1958 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 34 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 2 in G minor, Op. 63 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  David Oistrakh (Violin)
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/1958 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 27 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 3 in G major, K 216 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  David Oistrakh (Violin)
Conductor:  David Oistrakh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1958 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 23 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102 "Double" by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  David Oistrakh (Violin), Pierre Fournier (Cello)
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Austria 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 32 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Kingsway Hall, London, England (02/1956 - 03/1956) 

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