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Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ben-Haim: Violin Concertos / Perlman


Release Date: 04/29/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 54296   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mario Castelnuovo-TedescoPaul Ben-Haim
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Two rare yet rewardingly highly coloured and intensely cantabile violin concertos. Short on playing time; long on interest.

Two composers from axis countries who left those countries in the face of fascism: Castelnuovo-Tedesco from Italy to the USA and Ben-Haim from Munich to Palestine. They are represented here by two fairly brief three-movement violin concertos in a tonal-melodic idiom.

In the Castelnuovo-Tedesco we experience the flaming eloquence of the ancient prophets. The composer shows a singing heart at 3.34 and 10.45 in movement I but also there are moments that are jaunty and swashbuckling. A slight sense of glitzy Hollywood overlay and echoes of Rozsa, Bloch and Respighi do nothing to dilute
Read more the attractions of this highly coloured music. In The Lament Of Jeremiah second movement there is a memorable quick yearning recurring motif. The finale is a tone poem representing Elijah seemingly a blithe soul by this account and one inclined to carnival and the full gamut of virtuoso display including a few I did not recalling hearing before. After this I would like to hear the first concerto. Has it ever been performed in modern times, I wonder. I'd be fascinated to hear it.

I have not been able to compare this version with the famous Heifetz (BMG-RCA) but this sounds good and with no audience noise except in the well merited explosion of applause at the end.

The Ben-Haim concerto is a compact three movement work written for Zvi Zeitlin in 1960. It's also in an approachable romantic style though less succulently fruity than the technicolor pleasures of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The two works do however share a sinuous Middle-Eastern sway and bejewelled orchestration. The Ben-Haim shows more restraint but there are some lovely moments as in the harp and soloist interlude in the first movement. There's a beguiling smiling coolness and honeyed oriental ululation in the andante affetuoso - all in all a very beautiful movement; a sort of oasis Lark Ascending. Treasure indeed. For the finale there's an indomitable acceleration towards a wild conflagration of flaming virtuosity. This carries echoes of Bartok and Enescu, a bluesy haze and the scorch and skirl of the folk fiddle.

Someone should also look over Castelnuovo-Tedesco's two piano concertos, the second of which the composer played with Barbirolli and the NYPO in 1939.

Two rare yet rewardingly highly coloured and intensely cantabile violin concertos. Short on playing time; long on interest.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 2, Op. 66 "The Prophets" by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; Florence, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1990 
Venue:  Live  Frederic R Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv 
Length: 30 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Violin by Paul Ben-Haim
Performer:  Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; Israel 
Date of Recording: 10/1990 
Venue:  Live  Frederic R Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv 
Length: 19 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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