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Leonid Kogan Vol 1 - Brahms: Violin Concerto; Mozart: Violin Concerto No 3


Release Date: 04/08/2008 
Label:  Doremi Records   Catalog #: 7900   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsWolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Leonid Kogan
Conductor:  Gennadi RozhdestvenskyPierre MonteuxYevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony OrchestraBoston Symphony OrchestraNew York Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRAHMS Violin Concerto. 1 MOZART Violin Concerto No. 3 2 Leonid Kogan (vn); Pierre Monteux, cond; 1 Boston SO; 1 Dimitri Mitropoulos, cond; 2 New York P 2 DOREMI 7900, mono (63:48) Broadcast: Boston 1/11/1958; Read more class="SUPER12">1 Live: New York, 2/2/1958 2


Supposedly Leonid Kogan considered Brahms’s and Mozart’s Third Concertos his favorites; and DOREMI has now made available live performances from Kogan’s first American tour (the Brahms Concerto being his actual American premiere) on a single disc. Kogan recorded the Brahms Concerto three times in the studio from 1955 (with Bruck and the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire) to recordings with Kondrashin in 1959 (Philharmonia) and 1967 (Moscow Philharmonic). If Kogan particularly liked the Brahms Concerto (choosing it for both his Russian and his American debuts), I particularly liked Kogan in it, from the first time I heard his 1959 recorded performance without knowing the identity of the violinist. Perhaps that exemplified Kogan—his sound wasn’t nearly as identifiable as Oistrakh’s to a young listener—but the white heat of his performance and the steely strength of his virtuosity made an indelible impression nonetheless. This American debut sounds similar, with Kogan entering with perhaps even grander, more assured aplomb, thus reaching his level of intensity earlier. Those who consider Kogan a somewhat remote, cold player should listen as a corrective to his readings of Brahms’s Concerto (as should those who entertain a similar opinion of Heifetz, who had so deeply impressed Kogan on his return to Russia). Similar to Heifetz in his technical command, Kogan nevertheless produced a tone that seemed rawer and less nuanced. Both had all the power required to bring the violin part of Brahms’s first movement to the fore (the cadenza is dazzling if somewhat edgy). The recorded sound places Kogan center stage, where inquisitive radio listeners could hear him very clearly for the first time—and so can listeners to DOREMI’s strikingly clean and vivid transfer. He soars majestically in the slow movement (I don’t remember Kogan sounding as vibrant when I heard him live) and takes a trip-hammer tempo in the finale without sacrificing either clarity or sense.


Kogan’s urgent performance of Mozart’s Third Concerto (with incisive accounts of the Franko cadenzas) preceded by almost a year his studio recording with Silvestri in November 1959 with the same cadenzas (he’d recorded the work with Oistrakh’s cadenzas in November 1955 with the Philharmonia Orchestra). Unfortunately, the recorded sound doesn’t represent his tone as favorably as did that of the Brahms Concerto, though it’s clear that he soars transcendently in the slow movement and obviously plays with purity and simplicity in the finale (piquantly spiced in the Rondo’s middle section).


Those who admire Kogan, perhaps, heresy of heresies, preferring his hard, dashing, modern style to Oistrakh’s warmer Romanticism, should consider these performances bedrock items in a collection. Urgently recommended.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leonid Kogan (Violin)
Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Pierre Monteux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Austria 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 3 in G major, K 216 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Leonid Kogan (Violin)
Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 

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