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Beethoven: Symphony No 2; Brahms Violin Concerto / Mitropoulos, Francescatti

Release Date: 09/19/2000 
Label:  Orfeo D'or Catalog #: 534001   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenJohannes Brahms
Performer:  Zino Francescatti
Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Dimitri Mitropoulos wasn't known as a Beethoven conductor, but this performance of the Second Symphony is marvelous. The outer movements crackle with energy, and although the Vienna Philharmonic sounds as if it's hanging on for dear life, the players bring tremendous joy and gusto to what must have been for them a novel interpretation. Mitropoulos obviously asked them to slightly exaggerate Beethoven's hairpin dynamics and accentuation, resulting in a musical surface teeming with ear-catching activity. There's more to the performance than nervous tension, though. Mitropoulos relaxes into the slow movement with great sensitivity, and he knows how to ease off fractionally at such moments as the finale's transition to its second subject, Read more allowing Beethoven's lyricism to fully flower.

The Brahms Violin Concerto, which occupied the second half of this concert of August 26, 1958, offers similarly fresh playing. It's not a subtle performance, but it has great heart and generosity of spirit. Zino Francescatti's exuberance expresses itself not just in his fearless double-stopping, occasionally approximate tuning in rapid passagework, and ample, singing vibrato, but also in a slight tendency to rush, a factor that causes Mitropoulos no discomfort at all. His accompaniment follows the soloist like Francescatti's own shadow, and the gutsy, no-holds-barred finale realizes its Hungarian gypsy spirit beautifully, closing the work with good humor and grace. Okay, so the oboe soloist at the beginning of the slow movement bleats a bit, but that's the Vienna Phil. When the performance is a good one, as here, we can excuse it as evidence of the orchestra's unique tonal character.

The mono sound, though dry, is remarkably clear and detailed. In the symphony, balances favor the strings, but nothing important gets lost as the music heavily favors the wind section anyway--and my, but those violins do play! The concerto offers more natural perspectives, curious given the fact that it was taped at the same event. The attentive and appreciative audience sounds like it had a very good time. So will you.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/26/1958 
Venue:  Live  Festival House, Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 31 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Zino Francescatti (Violin)
Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/26/1958 
Venue:  Live  Festival House, Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 39 Minutes 49 Secs. 

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