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Nathan Milstein - Vignettes / Leon Pommers


Release Date: 07/14/1998 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 66871   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachJohannes BrahmsFrédéric ChopinClaude Debussy,   ... 
Performer:  Nathan MilsteinLeon Pommers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"I treasure the earliest memories of my father's golden Guarneri-pattern violin, made by my luthier great-grandfather, as it lay smothered in the green velvet of his case. I remember with equal clarity and warmth my first experience of Milstein almost a decade later. Although he was the last of the great violinists whose style I came to know, two of his recordings, the Goldmark Concerto (Capitol PAO 8414) and the Vignettes (Capitol P 8396), along with Paul Stoeving's rhapsodic book on the violin, set the compass of my life. In the booklet accompanying Testament's rerelease of the Goldmark Concerto (SBT 1047), Hugh Bean notes that Milstein was the Goldmark Concerto. I'm the Vignettes. Not that I ever could, or even now can, play those Read more short pieces with anything like Milstein's consummate elegance. For years, though, I begged my teacher to let me work on one after another: They became the test tubes in which I tried to replicate Milstein's alchemistic transmutations. What he himself made from them was, and for me still is, the purest gold.

Frank Sinatra, the story goes, mined Heifetz's recordings for ideas about phrasing. But Sinatra and Heifetz had little in common (although Heifetz did have blue eyes). Only in the months since the Chairman's death have I discovered the resemblance between Sinatra's art and Milstein's. Milstein's tone had its detractors, as did Sinatra's voice. But who could fault the style, impeccably suave and aristocratic? They shared a way of arriving on a high or low note with a sudden change of color and shift of the harmonic spectrum that had the same imperious effect as a gyroscope twisting your hand. One such note, and you recognized Milstein—or Sinatra. But both, at other times, could sound almost anonymous. Listen to Milstein play Tchaikovsky's Mélodie and to Sinatra sing Young at Heart, and see if the similarity doesn't strike you.

Milstein recorded many of these pieces more than once; and although his stylings remained remarkably consistent (unlike his readings of the masterworks, which continuously evolved throughout his lifetime), these recordings, made in 1956 and 1957, when Milstein was in his early fifties, are the locus classicus for each. And the digital remastering of the original tapes has opened up some individual pieces, like Bach's Air, that originally seemed closed in on themselves. Some of these works appeared in The Art of Nathan Milstein, EMI Classics 6-ZDMF 64830 (where Milstein's tone occasionally sounded too strident for the well-oiled machinery that produced it—a problem the new issue seems to have addressed), but many of the best of them, like Wienawski's Polonaise, Sarasate's Romanza andaluza, Tchaikovsky's Mélodie, Schumann's Träumerei, and Debussy's Maid with the Flaxen Hair, are finally available for the first time in CD format. The disc, with the same cover as the old Vignettes LP, also includes pieces from Milstein Miniatures (Capitol P 8339). There's no release of any kind I've more eagerly awaited, and none that I could recommend more highly.

When all's said and done,...it would come as no surprise to me if Milstein were to be recognized as the premiere violinist of the 20th century. If anything can hasten that judgment, these recordings can. They give palpable meaning to Paul Stoeving's question about the violin, whether it was not as if, for once, man had somehow grasped the ideal hidden in the heart of God."

-- Robert Maxham, Fanfare [1/1999]
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Works on This Recording

1. Suite for Orchestra no 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Wilhelmj 
2. Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 2 in D minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
Notes: Arranged: Joachim 
3. Nocturne for Piano in C sharp minor, B 49 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830 
Notes: Arranged: Nathan Milstein
The attribution of this composition to Chopin is doubtful. 
4. Préludes, Book 1: no 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
5. Canciones populares españolas (7): no 3, Asturiana by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 
Notes: Arranged: Kochánski 
6. Canciones populares españolas (7): no 4, Jota by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 
Notes: Arranged: Kochánski 
7. Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Arranged: Fritz Kreisler 
8. It Rains in the Village by Zoltán Kodály
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: Arranged: Nathan Milstein 
9. Thaïs: Meditation by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Notes: Arranged: Marsick 
10. Larghetto for Violin and Piano in A major by Pietro Nardini
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
11. Caprices (8) for Violin and Piano, Op. 5: no 2, Perpetuum mobile by Ottokar Novácek
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Czech Republic 
12. Sicilienne in E flat major by Maria Theresia Paradis
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 
Notes: Arranged: Samuel Dushkin 
13. Berceuse sur le nom de Fauré by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; France 
14. Suite for Violin and Piano no 3 in G, Op 34: no 5, Perpetuuum mobile by Franz Ries
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
15. Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 - Flight of the bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Notes: Arranged: Hartmann 
16. Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 22: no 1, Romanza andaluza by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879 
17. Kinderszenen, Op. 15: no 7, Träumerei by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
18. Pieces (2) for Violin and Piano, T 128 "From my homeland": no 2 in G minor by Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Czech Republic 
19. Chanson russe for Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; France 
20. Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42: no 3, Mélodie by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
21. Concerto for Violin in E flat major, RV 256 "Il ritiro": 2nd movement, Siciliano by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
22. Mazurkas (2), Op. 19: no 2 in D major "Le ménétrier" by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1860; St. Petersburg, Russ 
23. Polonaise brillante for Violin and Piano no 1 in D major, Op. 4 by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Russia 
24. Scherzo-Tarantelle in G minor, Op. 16 by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856 

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