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Mischa Elman - Complete Decca Recordings Vol 1


Release Date: 05/11/2004 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1343   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartWerner JostenLudwig van BeethovenTommaso Antonio Vitali,   ... 
Performer:  Mischa ElmanJoe Seiger
Conductor:  Josef KripsSir Georg SoltiSir Adrian BoultAnatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony OrchestraLondon Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 4 Hours 22 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Mischa Elman's style personified Russian Romanticism in its liberal rubato, arched phrasings, pronounced string portamento, and heart-on-sleeve sentiment. However, it was eclipsed when the violinist's younger compatriot Jascha Heifetz appeared on the scene. Heifetz's tauter, more streamlined style boasted unprecedented technical prowess and a kind of rhythmic drive that quickly set standards to which violinists have aspired since. In contrast, Elman was something of an anachronism by his 40th birthday. Still, he retained an active career and a loyal public up until his death in 1967. And judging from the first of two boxed sets encompassing all of the recordings the violinist made for Decca during his tenure with the label in the mid-1950s, Read more I'd go so far as to claim that Elman has been underrated.

His conversational, tonally varied phrasing in the two Mozart concertos (No. 4 in D, No. 5 in A) holds your attention to the point where the "outmoded" tempo variations nearly sound organic. The 1954 Tchaikovsky concerto is slower and more sedate than Elman's famous shellac recording from a quarter century earlier, yet it has the advantage of far superior sound and Adrian Boult's virile podium support. Both Bruch concertos and the Wieniawski D minor suit Elman's gifts for melodic projection and knack for finding pockets of color and nuance that flashier fiddlers leave unexplored.

However, of all the items in this set, I was most curious to hear Elman's 1955 collaboration with Georg Solti in the Beethoven Concerto. It's true that Solti's coiled precision has nothing in common with Elman's looser temperament. Yet Solti's firm and meticulously detailed orchestral framework manages to anchor Elman's flights of fancy without inhibiting them (Elman's own cadenzas, though, remain thoroughly garish and controversial). In addition to his rich but never cloying tone, Elman was famous for his trills, as the first movement's long chains magically prove.

Three violin/piano items fill out this release. If you want to know how Hindemith might have rewritten portions of Gershwin's An American in Paris, Werner Josten's three-movement Sonatina provides the answer. Elman gives Korngold's Much Ado About Nothing suite all the lilt and sly character the four movements require, but the Vitali Chaconne lacks "vitali-ty", so to speak. Testament's transfers do the original source material full and honest justice, and Tully Potter's notes are excellent and informative.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major, K 218 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Mischa Elman (Violin)
Conductor:  Josef Krips
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 5 in A major, K 219 "Turkish" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Mischa Elman (Violin)
Conductor:  Josef Krips
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1775 
3.
Sonatina for Violin and Piano by Werner Josten
Performer:  Joe Seiger (Piano), Mischa Elman (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
4.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mischa Elman (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Chaconne in G minor by Tommaso Antonio Vitali
Performer:  Joe Seiger (Piano), Mischa Elman (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
6.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mischa Elman ()
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
7.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in D minor, Op. 44 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Mischa Elman ()
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Germany 
8.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Mischa Elman (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Germany 
9.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in D minor, Op. 22 by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Mischa Elman (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; St. Petersburg, Russ 
10.
Much Ado about Nothing, Op. 11: Suite by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Performer:  Joe Seiger (Piano), Mischa Elman (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1919; Vienna, Austria 

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