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Festspieldokumente - Vivaldi, Etc / Milstein, Klien


Release Date: 10/30/2007 
Label:  Orfeo D'or Catalog #: 743071   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Antonio VivaldiJohann Sebastian BachWolfgang Amadeus MozartJohannes Brahms,   ... 
Performer:  Nathan MilsteinWalter Klien
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



VIVALDI Violin Sonata in D, RV 10. BACH Solo Violin Sonata No. 1 in g. Solo Violin Partita No. 3 in E: Preludio. MOZART Violin Sonata in C, K 296. BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 3 in d. PARADIS Sicilienne Nathan Milstein (vn); Walter Klein (pn) Read more class="BULLET12">• ORFEO 743071, mono (66:52) Live: Salzburg 7/31/1963


Gottfried Kraus, artistic supervisor of Orfeo’s series of documents from the Salzburg Festival, confesses in a note that he had originally reviewed this 1963 recital under the title, “Milstein at Half Strength,” criticizing not only the program selection but what he deemed “superficial” execution.” That review apparently didn’t stir up as much controversy as did Virgil Thomson’s notorious one of Heifetz, “Silk-Underwear Music,” but it comes down to us, nevertheless, almost 50 years later, as a sort of document in its own right, suggesting how smug critics could afford to be at a time when great violin-playing could be heard everywhere. Nowadays, the ruck of violinists may play better than the ruck of violinists did at the middle of the century, but do the peaks rise so high? Would Milstein even at half strength today seem supercharged? Milstein, despite his charisma, despite his faults (had there been any), gave audiences an unmistakable impression that he and no one else stood on the stage. Do today’s violinists cut so dashing a profile? Does that matter? Listeners, particularly those who love the violin, must at least entertain these questions.


Milstein’s program in 1963 consisted of Milstein chestnuts, all but one of them sonatas or sonata movements. It’s the dreaded modern Sonata Recital, in fact, but enhanced by the violinist’s personal connection with each of the works. The recording technology made Milstein sound a bit edgy, yet live and vibrant, and close enough to create a lifelike impression of his tone production, technique, and expressive devices.


Milstein’s playing has often been described as “patrician,” and a sense of that nobility emerges in the opening fantasy-like movement of Vivaldi’s popular Sonata: not only does Milstein play with characteristic bravura, but he also introduces a sense of freedom that would fit well with more modern ideas about Baroque improvisation. He makes the passagework of the second movement sparkle with highlights that afford continual pleasure in themselves; his signature downward shifts stamp his identity into the brief slow movement (if period instrumentalists decry them, they should consider the mannerisms that they, by contrast, accept as natural and that might have offended him). Bach’s G-Minor Solo Sonata appeared on many of his programs. He had written in his autobiography that Bach and Paganini made up the pair of greatest composers for the violin—and he played them that way. But, while his approach to Paganini may have been similar throughout his career, whatever the extent of his experimentation on stage with novel fingerings and bowings, his readings of Bach became more individual as he approached the end of his sixties. In this performance, the Adagio is commanding in a steely, slightly impersonal way (is this “half strength”?); the Fuga, brisk and overwhelmingly assured; the Siciliano, reflective and spacious; and the Presto, headlong. Milstein had recorded only four of Mozart’s Violin Sonatas: K 301 in G, K 304 in E Minor; and K 380 in E? (never, I believe, released), but only this one, K 296 in C, twice (in 1939 with Balsam and again in 1957–58 with Pommers). He took a rapid tempo in the first movement, as he did in 1958 (a performance included in “Art of Nathan Milstein”—EMI 64830 and later reworked “from original session tapes,” on EMI 67316—where it’s listed as K 295—which reissue I reviewed in 24:2); but he accepted his role as accompanist in the slow movement (perhaps more graciously than he had with Pommers in the studio recording), and perhaps because of this humility, his interchanges with Klein rose to a very high level of affecting musical communication.


Milstein recorded Brahms’s Third Sonata in 1950 with his old comrade Horowitz and chose it for his 1953 recital with Artur Balsam in the Library of Congress (Bridge 90066, 20:2). Here it sounds urgent and propulsive in its first movement, but the mood softens and projects a ruddy glow in the Adagio, which, however, also features perhaps a greater number of portamentos than a listener might expect (though the movement lasts more than a half-minute longer with Balsam, Milstein didn’t employ such noticeable devices), counterbalanced by a correspondingly greater than expected number of dynamic nuances and a throaty declamation so urgent that it borders on hoarseness. The third movement is rougher in both opening and middle sections, and the finale’s double-stops even occasionally suggest sandpaper. The urgency of the first movement remains, but comes to sound less personal. Here, perhaps, can be heard the kind of moments that prompted Kraus’s unfavorable review. Milstein recorded and played Paradis’s haunting but stately Sicilienne , and also Bach’s brilliant Preludio, which he gave as thunderously received encores. The audience’s enthusiastic applause, in fact, suggests that Milstein may have been communicating at a level of which Kraus didn’t take note. But listeners to the recording can now take that note, and listeners to this recital we all should be. Urgently recommended.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in D major, RV 10 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Walter Klien (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1963 
Venue:  Live  Mozarteum, Salzburg Festival 
2.
Sonata for Violin solo no 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1963 
Venue:  Mozarteum, Salzburg Festival 
3.
Partita for Violin solo no 3 in E major, BWV 1006: 1st movement, Prelude by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1963 
Venue:  Mozarteum, Salzburg Festival 
4.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in C major, K 296 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Walter Klien (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Mannheim, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1963 
Venue:  Mozarteum, Salzburg Festival 
5.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 108 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Walter Klien (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1963 
Venue:  Mozarteum, Salzburg Festival 
6.
Sicilienne in E flat major by Maria Theresia Paradis
Performer:  Walter Klien (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1963 
Venue:  Mozarteum, Salzburg Festival 

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