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Kagan Edition Vol 32 - Violin Concertos / Svetlanov, Sinaisky, Lifshitz, Et Al

Release Date: 01/27/2009 
Label:  Live Classics   Catalog #: 112   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph HaydnAntonio VivaldiIgor Stravinsky
Performer:  Oleg Kagan
Conductor:  Vassili SinaiskyTovy LifshitzYevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow State Philharmony Academic Symphony OrchestLithuanian Chamber OrchestraUSSR State Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAYDN Violin Concerto No. 1. 1 VIVALDI Violin Concerto in e, RV 278. 2 STRAVINSKY Violin Concerto 3 Oleg Kagan (vn); 1 Vassily Sinaisky, cond; 1 Tovy Lifshitz, cond; 2 Evgeny Svetlanov, Read more cond; 3 Moscow St Philharmony Academic SO; 1 Lithuanian CO; 2 USSR St SO 3 LIVE CLASSICS 112, analog (55: 42) Live: Moscow: 3/20/1980; 1 5/15/1980 2 6/18/1979 3

Live Classics’s “Oleg Kagan Edition” continues in its 32nd volume with performances of concertos by Haydn, Vivaldi, and Stravinsky. The booklet notes relate David Oistrakh’s favorable impression of the young Kagan’s playing of Mozart’s violin music. He might have formed a similar impression of Kagan’s performance of Haydn’s First Violin Concerto: cleanly articulated, yet robust rather than fussy; and tonally rich, yet lean rather than buttery. Kagan and Vassily Sinaisky take a brisk tempo in the first movement, which underscores the brilliance of Kagan’s passagework. If it’s not period performance, it might anticipate the movement, although it’s hard to hear even a vestigial continuo. Kagan takes the slow movement at a leisurely pace, stopping to smell the roses, and suggesting more by nuance than by any relaxation in tempo the richness of ideas Haydn worked into its simple patterns. In this exposition, he seems more successful than, say, Isaac Stern, who made an early recording of the work, or than Christian Tetzlaff; despite his forward motion, he allows the solo to deliquesce over the pizzicato accompaniment with an almost decadent indolence. The brief finale jogs along briskly, making an especially bright impression. The (student?) Orchestra rises to whatever challenges this work poses; and the recorded sound, though not particularly transparent, reveals enough to allow the listener to appreciate the soloist’s tone and performance.

Vivaldi’s dark-hued Concerto in E Minor, RV 278, with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, appears in recorded sound that’s at once more lively and more detailed and brings Kagan’s full-bodied tone more strikingly to the fore. In this earlier work, Kagan and the Orchestra come closer to the style, timbres, and textures of groups like I Musici and Solisti di Zagreb than to cutting-edge experimenters like Il Giardino Armonico, or even the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. That more sober approach, however, succeeds better in this work, with its somber first movement, its meditative slow one (which, however, may seem almost static to listeners accustomed to the bracing lightness of period groups in music of this type), and its tempestuous finale, than it might in concertos like “Il grosso mogul,” RV 208.

Kagan’s reading of Stravinsky’s Concerto tends more to the lyrical side than to the crisp, abrasive style of violinists like Ivry Gitlis, who took it about as far in the direction of the static-electric and hair-raising as most listeners might like to go. Despite Stravinsky’s famous remarks about not liking the standard violin concertos (Bach’s “Double” excepted) and about not knowing how violinists’ fingers moved, the part seems especially well written (thanks, perhaps, to Samuel Dushkin, who served as an advisor), so despite its angularity, it succeeds in performances as diverse as those by Gitlis and Stern, not to mention one, like that of David Oistrakh, that represents a sort of coincidentia oppositorum . The recorded sound, though not especially clear, reveals the variety of orchestral timbres, but these can tend to swamp the soloist in passages like the hurly-burly middle section of Aria I. The relative relaxation in the Vivaldi Concerto also makes itself felt in the Aria II, which, instead of being lyrical with a twist of lemon, sounds lyrical neat. The outer movements chug rhythmically, though they generate only a somewhat attenuated voltage. Those who admire Kagan will find him here spanning a wide variety of styles and manners. Recommended to those followers but to general listeners, too, although particularly—and principally—for Kagan’s exciting reading of Haydn’s First Concerto.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin no 1 in C major, H 7a no 1 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Oleg Kagan (Violin)
Conductor:  Vassili Sinaisky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow State Philharmony Academic Symphony Orchest
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1769; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Concerto for Violin in E minor, RV 278 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Oleg Kagan (Violin)
Conductor:  Tovy Lifshitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Concerto for Violin in D major by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Oleg Kagan (Violin)
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; France 

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