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Prokofiev: The Violin Concertos / Mintz, Abbado

Release Date: 12/17/2009 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 410524   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Shlomo Mintz
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

As readers familiar with his accounts of the Third Symphony (Decca SXL6469, 10/70) and the Scythian Suite (DG 2530 967, 11/78) will know, Claudio Abbado has a highly-developed feeling for Prokofiev's sound world. Rarely has the fairy-tale atmosphere of the First Concerto been more keenly evoked. Compare the closing paragraphs of the first movement (after the soloist's cadenza) in the rival versions, and there is no question that Abbado distills a sense of wonder and enchantment that is quite special. Others are magical too: Rozhdestvensky with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (HMV) and Kondrashin with the LPO (Decca) are given slightly more detailed yet not more subtle recording, but it is Abbado that casts the strongest spell. Throughout both Read more concertos textures are more delicately coloured, dynamic nuances scrupulously observed and there are feather-light string Sonorities.

In the Second Concerto stress is laid on its lyricism and the slow movement in particular is spacious and relaxed (it becomes a shade slower than quaver= 180); Rozhdestvensky is less ruminative (and, I think, less imaginative) here. Heifetz's pioneering recording with Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra which I still treasure, was sharper etched, tauter and more astringent (HMV DB3604-06, 10/38) but the eloquence of the new issue is not in question. Nor, for that matter, is the quality of the solo playing. Shlomo Mintz phrases with imagination and individuality; you need only hear the way he shapes the first bars of the G minor Concerto for that to register. He plays with greater polish and beauty of tone than Boris Belkin, greater freshness than Stern (CBS-7/83) though with less sense of that complete and total authority that informs Perlman's playing. Occasionally he colours a phrase by playing on the flat side of the note though his intonation is fine throughout. Although the DG recording is not quite so detailed as the Decca or HMV, the engineers produce a beautifully refined and homogeneous balance and (save for the fact that the soloist is a shade larger than life, albeit not so much as Perlman for HMV), it is very impressive indeed. There is plenty of space round the instruments and the sound is truthful.

-- Gramophone [4/1984]
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 19 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Shlomo Mintz (Violin)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916-1917; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/1983 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 21 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 2 in G minor, Op. 63 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Shlomo Mintz (Violin)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 03/1983 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 27 Minutes 4 Secs. 

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