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Sibelius, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerti / Mullova, Ozawa, BSO

Release Date: 11/20/2002 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 416821   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean SibeliusPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Viktoria Mullova
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Viktoria Mullova's first recording couples the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos and will come as a surprise to those who may have heard some of her London performances. Her Tchaikovsky has seemed very routine and uncaring, and the Sibelius rather cool. Not so her new record, I'm happy to say, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Ozawa. Stephen Johnson spoke of the slow movement of the Sibelius being "darker, sterner and ultimately more invigorating" in her hands: it certainly has warmth, though is mercifully free of the zigeuner element one so often encounters in this score. What the Concerto needs above all else is an aristocratic quality and without this, a performance falls. The opening is quite magical and right Read more from the very opening the slow movement has a dignity that is rarely accorded it. Her Tchaikovsky is also immaculate and finely controlled but without always achieving the combination of warmth and nobility that this score requires and seldom consistently achieves.

– Gramophone [5/1987]

This is, as the Scots say, a well-kent coupling. It reminds us of the strong slender tone of young Viktoria Mullova - about whom we hear little these days. She had just left the USSR in the shadowlands between Soviet decay and the falling of walls. Her arrival in the West provoked a minor media-fest. I recall a programme (several I think) on BBC following her progress in the New World.

In the Tchaikovsky her violin technique produces some lovely legato cantilena (e.g., at 4.47 in the Allegro moderato). Her vibrato is hardly there at all remaining always under tight control. In the spectacular passages she does not have the definition of the very greatest such as Oistrakh or Kogan both of whom generate more sheer adrenalin than is on call here. I must not forget to mention the lusciously over the top recording by Campoli on Beulah - corrupt edition and all - but technicolour performance.

The Sibelius announces itself with a true whisper level pianissimo. Some lovely suave playing as at 0208 in the first movement recalling that Sibelius, at the time of writing, the concerto had only lately forsaken his early dreams of becoming a violin virtuoso. There is some touching orchestral playing in the adagio di molto and Mullova and the orchestra really excel in blood-stirring. The blatting horns behind the rumbustious dance at 1.40 in the Finale register amiably. She reminded me a little of my favourite Spivakovsky (Everest) but the sound and the orchestral contribution is superior to the Spivakovsky's collaborators. The Sibelius is a very fine performance and is not to be forgotten in the welter of new releases and recycled back catalogue.

The liner notes are short but the playing time is very respectable for this series. The DDD recording holds up excellently.

While not displacing my reference recording, Oistrakh (BMG), Mullova and Ozawa have a lot to tell us about both works. I see this recording returning to my CD player for pleasure in future.

– Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 47 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Viktoria Mullova (Violin)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Finland 
Date of Recording: 10/1985 
Venue:  Boston, Massachusetts 
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Viktoria Mullova (Violin)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1985 
Venue:  Boston, Massachusetts 

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