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20th Century Violin Concertos II

Release Date: 11/15/2000 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 464979   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Béla BartókDmitri ShostakovichSir Edward ElgarKarol Szymanowski
Performer:  Henryk SzeryngViktoria MullovaKyung-Wha Chung
Conductor:  Bernard HaitinkAndré PrevinSir Georg SoltiJan Krenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length:  2 Hours 22 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

My favourite performance here is undoubtedly the Second Violin Concerto with Henryk Szeryng and Bernard Haitink, recorded back in 1969 but still sounding wonderfully luminous and full-bodied. Szeryng plays with unabashed expressive intensity, his tone characteristically silken and well focused, his phrasing affectionate but unaffected. True, there are one or two places where ensemble sounds a mite approximate (as in the second movement's scherzo-style variations), but Haitink is in total command of the work's symmetrical design and the recording doesn't miss a trick. There are other fine versions of the concerto available, but none I think that is better than this.

-- Gramophone [2/1994, reviewing the Bartok, Philips
Read more 438812]


The Mullova technique is, as we know, of lethal accuracy and she rises to the scherzo and finale pyrotechnics with a trenchancy and panache that is more than a match even for Oistrakh. Previn and the RPO are close and highly spirited collaborators, locked tight into her every turn of phrase. They pick up terrifically, for instance, on the energy of her forcefully projected cadenza to whirl us into the Burlesque finale.

-- Edward Seckerson, Gramophone [6/1989, reviewing the Shostakovich, Philips 422364]


Kyung-Wha Chung recorded the Elgar concerto with Solti as part of his fascinating 1970s series of Elgar recordings, which included red-blooded and revelatory accounts of the two symphonies. Thirty years later, Solti's Elgar recordings remain consistently engaging and are a vital corrective to more “traditional” interpretations. His enthusiasm for Elgar is very much on display in this recording of the violin concerto. He whips up some excited playing from the orchestra in the tuttis, getting a great big blustery sound out of the LPO. Chung is also in fine form. Her tone is sweet and innocent, but she has plenty of power and heft where required.

-- Tim Perry, MusicWeb International [reviewing the Elgar, Decca 421388]


This recent volume in the Philips Duo 20th Century Classics series focuses on the violin concertos of the 1900s, specifically works by Shostakovich, Bartok, Elgar, and Szymanowski. In the second concertos of Bartok and Szymanowski Philips has resurrected two of the finest readings of either work, played by Henryk Szeryng, an artist whose uncannily stoical sense of individuality usually paid handsome dividends. For example, from a man who liked to play Busoni's timpani-accompanied cadenza in the Beethoven concerto rather than Kreisler's more or less mandatory one, here's a stupendously beautiful reading of the second Szymanowski concerto, in which Szeryng is joined by the Bamberg Symphony under Jan Krenz. This 1972 account--one of the few completely satisfactory recorded versions--has been far too long out of circulation. The rapture and vulcanism of Szeryng's playing seem effortless, even in some of the more labyrinthine passages of this highly elusive and difficult work. Szeryng is heard again in a 1969 Concertgebouw performance of Bartok's Cconcerto No. 2. Again, it's superb in all respects, as much for its astonishing technical finesse as for its wealth of imaginative touches, not least Szeryng's fluid and natural use of rubato in the second movement (Passacaglia).

-- Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin no 2, Sz 112 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937-1938; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1969 
Concerto for Violin no 1 in A minor, Op. 77 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Viktoria Mullova (Violin)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USSR 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Concerto for Violin in B minor, Op. 61 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
Date of Recording: 1977 
Concerto for Violin no 2, Op. 61 by Karol Szymanowski
Performer:  Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Conductor:  Jan Krenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; Poland 
Date of Recording: 1972 

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