Notes and Editorial Reviews
David Nadien (vn); Leon Barzin, cond;
Wolfgang Schanzer, cond;
Natl O Association;
CEMBAL D’AMOUR 137, mono;
(67:31) Live: New York 11/10/1952;
David Nadien, born in 1926, had reached only the age of 26 at the time of the live recording of Beethoven’s Concerto with the National Orchestral Association; and although the recorded sound’s hardly transparent, it provides an adequate representation of Nadien’s silky smooth tone, not to mention his elegant style, then most likely in embryo. Barzin directs a dramatic account of the symphonic orchestral accompaniment. Though neither soloist nor orchestra seems entirely secure throughout, Nadien plays with a suavity and aristocratic nobility reminiscent of Milstein’s. From the opening octaves, Nadien rises to the work’s majestic rhetoric with an easy command and depth of comprehension that only a seasoned soloist could evince; and that overall approach, rather than any missteps, should leave the more lasting impression.
Nadien’s live performance of Mendelssohn’s Concerto, more than 20 years later and several years after he had left the position of concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, reveals a more mature mastery, with a great deal of subtlety and nuance apparent in a tone that had, if anything, blossomed during the intervening years. If the performance isn’t identifiable as Nadien’s, it’s more than workmanlike: warmly communicative and technically more than secure. The Orchestra pulls together admirably for the performance; and while the recorded sound, more vivid than that of the Beethoven Concerto—and without all the noise that may serve as a stumbling block to listeners in the Beethoven Concerto—may slightly feature the soloist, it’s decently balanced.
For those who remember Nadien as concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic either live or through televised performances (remember the Young People’s Concerts after John Corigliano’s tenure as concertmaster) or, especially, through his memorable recordings, Cembal d’Amour’s release of two live performances, a promising one from early in his career and a mature one from middle age, will provide two different but hardly contrasting snapshots (in important repertoire) from the scrapbook of a violinist whose combination of technique and tone production, like Michael Rabin’s similar synthesis, always elicited, at least from me, an almost gustatory response. Strongly recommended both to aficionados of the violin in general and to historians of 20th-century violin-playing in particular; recommended with caveats due to the uneven quality of the orchestral playing and the recorded sound to everybody else.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
David Nadien (Violin)
National Association Orchestra
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
David Nadien (Violin)
Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra
Written: 1844; Germany
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