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 Post subject: Sibelius Violin Concerto
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:52 pm 
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Hello all,

This popular work has been at the fore of my mind for the last little while. Apart from picking up the new Hilary Hahn recording of the concerto last week, I saw my first live performance of the work in April at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, with Pekka Suusisto, an energetic young Finn, the soloist. The piece never fails to delight me with its beautiful contrasts and the wonderful dialogue between soloist and orchestra. I like to believe that, in its composition, Sibelius was trying to release all that pent-up anger about never having become a violin virtuoso himself!

Unlike many other violin concerti, I'm not aware of any 'benchmark' recording of the work, and was hoping that you could share some of your favourite selections. I have the following recordings:

Gidon Kremer, Philharmonia Orchestra/Ricardo Muti (EMI)
Jascha Heifitz, London Philharmonic/Sir Thomas Beecham (EMI)
Cho-Liang Lin, Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony)
Hilary Hahn, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen (DG)

The stand-out in my collection is the Lin recording; his dynamics are very sensitive, he handles the multi-stopping phrases with such fantastic grace, and Salonen's conducting is top-notch. After hearing it a few times, Hahn's performance is growing on me; Salonen almost replicates the orchestral accompaniment present in the Lin recording, but I feel that the sound engineering isn't quite as good as the older Sony disc.

Let's hear your picks!

- Ken

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:55 pm 
Of interest, the BIS version...two concertos! The Original and
The Final...neither too good... :D (joke)

International recognition came whilst Kavakos was still in his teens. He won the Sibelius competition in 1985 and then the Paganini competition in 1988 and following these successes, he was invited by orchestras across Europe, North America and the Far East and his reputation soared.

Kavakos now appears in concert throughout the world with the great orchestras and conductors and regularly visits the major international festivals with visiting orchestras, in chamber music and in recital.

In the current season, Kavakos appears with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, La Scala Filharmonica, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, NDR Symphonieorchester Hamburg, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and working with such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Valery Gergiev, Ivan Fischer, Daniel Harding, Zubin Mehta, Christian Thielemann and Osmo Vänskä.

In October 2007, Kavakos took up the position of Artistic Director of the Camerata Salzburg, succeeding Sir Roger Norrington. He conducts twice each season in the Camerata's Abonnement series in the Mozarteum, Salzburg as well as appearing at the Salzburg Festival, the Mozartwoche and in their own festival, the Begegnung. This season, together with the Camerata Salzburg, he appears in two concerts in the Konzerthaus, Vienna and later in the season he gives concerts in Athens and Germany. He has previously taken the orchestra on tour to Italy, Germany, Spain and Greece and in February 2006, he presented the Camerata Salzburg in his own festival at the Megaron, Athens, in which he played five Mozart concerti and conducted three late symphonies. The concerti and Symphony No. 39 were subsequently released by Sony to wide acclaim. The Sunday Times wrote that this “…grand account of the great E flat major symphony suggests he will be as formidable a director of this superb chamber orchestra as he is a soloist.”

Kavakos is an established chamber musician and collaborates with many distinguished partners - Heinrich Schiff, Natalia Gutman, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, Elisabeth Leonskaya. Last season he gave recitals in the major cities of Italy, in Paris and Bordeaux, Madrid, Bilbao, Copenhagen, Stockholm, London and a series of chamber music recitals at the Verbier Festival and the Salzburg Festival. He was also resident at the Concertgebouw in a dedicated weekend of recital and chamber music as well as in concert with the Camerata Salzburg.

In addition to his most recent disc of the Mozart concerti with the Camerata Salzburg, Kavakos has a distinguished catalogue of recordings. In 1991, he won the Gramophone Award for the first recording ever of the original version of Sibelius' violin concerto (1903/04) on BIS. Further recordings include the violin concerto by Hindemith with the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos), solo sonatas by Ysaÿe (BIS), works by Debussy, Kreisler, Paganini et al (Delos) as well as Sibelius' Humoresques (Finlandia). On ECM, he has released a recording of sonatas by Enescu and Ravel together with pianist Péter Nagy and a recording of works by Bach and Stravinsky which received the following accolade, "...the exquisite tenderness of the playing gives the music a sense of timeless, poignant beauty...the performance here is exceptional for its unruffled poise and delicious details. Not to be missed". Gramophone May 2005

Leonidas Kavakos plays the "Falmouth" Stradivarius of 1692.


Last edited by TopoGigio on Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:57 pm 
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Just curious, Topo; what are the main differences between the original and the final versions of the concerto?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:11 pm 
Image :!: :?:
I have it,yes, but,sorry, my advocate is not at hand...try the Amazon Customers reviews instead...
http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B0 ... ewpoints=1


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:42 pm 
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The Cho Lang Lin is a great recording, I also adore Heifetz's RCA recording with Hendl and Chicago. Isaac Stern and Ormandy is another favorite.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:02 pm 
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The Original version has more technical requirements, but it does not serve the musicality of the work in the same way. If you like violin as a solo instrument, then you'll find the original version very interesting. Kavakos is the best Greek violinist and the best greek performer at the time. He is really devoted to what he does. If you can find it, buy the Berliner Phil. cd (Simon Rattle conducts). Great playing

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:47 pm 
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You already have a pretty good roster of performances. I find Hahn deeply moving, her tone is so rich and expressive.

I'd add the Heifetz/Hendl/CSO on RCA. For many it is a benchmark performance. Heifetz is outstanding. His playing is very direct and passionate. In my experience the orchestral part has never been played better than it is in that recording. The Chicago Symphony is awesome.

Another beautifully played, expressive performance is the Mullova/Ozawa/BSO recording on Philips.

John


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:13 pm 
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Quote:
I'm not aware of any 'benchmark' recording of the work, and was hoping that you could share some of your favourite selections."


Heifetz/Hendl/CSO - 1959 -outstanding in every respect.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:38 pm 
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David Oistrakh beats all IMHO...

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:39 pm 
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Ida Haendel with Berglund/Bournemouth, coupled with a fine reading of the 5th.
Khachatryan/Krivine/Sinfonia Varsovia, coupled with a rousing Khachaturian VC.
Kuuisisto/Segerstam/Helsinki, coupled with a lovely Belshazzar's Feast.
Kavakos/Vänskä/Lahti, coupled with the original form of the Sibelius VC.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:44 pm 
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I am not a famous fan of Sibelius in general but use his excellent concerto to remind myself that unevenness is a fact of life for many composers.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:27 pm 
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Good point, John; and I tend to agree with your overall indifference to Sibelius's music. His Third Symphony and orchestral suites I tend to enjoy, but much of the rest I find a bit hazy.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:33 pm 
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I like the Ormandy and Oistrakh, but it may be hard to find now.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:37 am 
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My favorite is Spivakovsky/Hannikainen/LSO
EVEREST EVC 9035

I heard him play it live many years ago. He was a much underrated violinist and I wish he had recorded more often.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:17 am 
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I prefer the very poetic version of Ferras and Karajan.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:40 am 
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Other recordings to recomend
Dylana Jenson-Ormandy
Julian Sitkovetsky-Anosov
Yuval Yaron-Soudant
Ricci-Fjelstad
:) :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:16 pm 
Well, I have my advocat at hand...I will talk...there is a splendid interpretation by Gil Shaham with BPO'Levine...Image Was it?


Last edited by TopoGigio on Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:32 pm 
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jbuck919 wrote:
I am not a famous fan of Sibelius in general but use his excellent concerto to remind myself that unevenness is a fact of life for many composers.
Happily, that does not apply to Sibelius, whose uniformly high quality of serious music places him among the very front rank of composers.

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"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:18 pm 
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The first time I am able to get back to you all, I find this brilliant thread on the Sibelius Violin Concerto.

By the merest coincidence Jan Sibelius' grand daughter, Satu Jalas phoned me two days ago. We had met during my lectures at Valletta University. She attended my lecture on “Jeno Hubay and the Modern Hungarian Violin School,” which incidentally has recently been published in Italy. She spoke to me after the lecture. I had included Guila Bustabo in the list of Hubay pupils and mentioned her dazzling performance.

What was most interesting for me was her account of the violinists who visited Sibelius in his home and played the violin concerto for him. The names, oh the names, sounded like the golden Who's Who of the violin. She told me about Jasch Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, Guila Bustabo and many others whom she knew.

I asked, “Did Sibelius have a favorite performer of his violin concerto.” Her answer was Jascha Heifetz and Guila Bustabo closely followed by Ginette Neveu. Then came the interesting bit about the violinist who the composer preferred in many ways over the others, that was Anja Ignatius. There is a CD available of her performing the violin concerto. Satu Jalas told me that Ignatius was her violin professor. She also mentioned some recordings of Anja Ignatius playing with her father, Jussi Jalas, as accompanist which she did not have and had never heard. I was delighted to tell her that I have them and would send them to her on a CD.

Finally, about two months ago our Arts Channel here in England showed a film about Sibelius called Finlandia, in that film his grand daughter plays a Romance by the composer on Sibelius own violin which she now owns. The very violin the composed used while composing his concerto.

Just thought you might be interested.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:29 pm 
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Cheniston,

Thanks very much for your fascinating input! You must feel honoured to be on such close terms with the descendant of a great composer. I will definitely keep an eye out for that Ignatius recording.

A shame, isn't it, that the instrumentalists of that time did not live to see the era of digital recording technology?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:32 pm 
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Cheniston! Always such a pleasure to see you posting here. Thanks for the anecdotes re the Sibelius work--and about Anja Ignatius. The only problem is, now I want to hear Ms. Ignatius for myself. So here I go searching...and saying goodbye to "disposable" income...once again.
:wink:

Cheers,

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:43 pm 
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For all those who are interested, I found the aforementioned Ignatius disc:

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Nam ... er/44164-2

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:13 pm 
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Firstly, I cannot believe that I forgot Ginette Neveu which is available coupled with the Brahms Concerto on EMI...and Sibelius was very kind with his compliments...from the Sleeve Notes of Oistrakh's 1968 Recording on Melodiya is a letter Sibelius wrote to him in perfect Russian about his reading from 1946...

"To my greatest pleasure I recently heard my violin concerto played on the radio performed by yourself. Please allow me to express my thanks for your highly artistic and personal interpretation. I am very, very happy that my violin concerto is now in your repertory. With the very best wishes from your ardent admirer, Jean Sibelius"

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:44 pm 
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Having posted about Sibelius his granddaughter and his violin, I omitted to mention my own preference in recordings, past and present, of the violin concerto.

My area of research finishes around the end of the 78 rpm era. This is not to say that I am not aware of the current recordings and those in-between, many of which are both memorable and outstanding.

Having mentioned Heifetz, Bustabo, and Ignatius, I would definitely add the Stern / Beecham recording, one of the earliest of the LP versions. I still play the Stern and find it is one of the most satisfying for me. Although, I would defend Heifetz with my dying breath, I still do not care for his interpretation of this work. If I knew why, I would gladly share my thoughts with you. However, there you go that's life.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:46 am 
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The recording with Ginette Nouveaux and Sir John Barbirolli is really amazing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:48 pm 
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The Sibelius Violin Concerto is one of my personal favourites. Fortunately, we have many recordings of the work. My own favs include
  • Biddulph 80218 - Camilla Wicks/Sixten Ehrling
  • Dutton 9733 - Ginette Neveu/Walter Susskind
  • Ondine 809 - David Oistrakh/Nils-Eric Fougstedt
  • Unesco/EMI 707242 - Ida Haendel/Paavo Berglund
  • Sony 47659 - David Oistrakh/Eugene Ormandy
  • EMI 64030 - Jascha Heifetz/Thomas Beecham
  • Testament 1032 - David Oistrakh/Sixten Ehrling
  • RCA 7019 - Jascha Heifetz/Walter Hendll (Chicago SO)
There are others, but this is already too many for one man! The Heifetz/Hendl, I guess, would be my dessert island disc if I could have only one recording. But David Oistrakh fares marvelously in any of his performances from the sheer beauty of his tone and the unusual eerie but sensual quality he gives in the opening movement.

Did Nathan Milstein or Leonid Kogan ever record the Sibelius VC? If so, I don't have them showing up anywhere. If anyone knows label/catalogue numbers, please advise.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:00 pm 
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I just picked up the Oistrakh Ondine recording, it is from Sibelius week 1954 and also contains Sir Thomas Beecham's readings of the 7th Symphony and Tapiola...definitely worth a listen...

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:17 pm 
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Lance wrote:


Did Nathan Milstein or Leonid Kogan ever record the Sibelius VC? If so, I don't have them showing up anywhere. If anyone knows label/catalogue numbers, please advise.


I'm pretty familiar with the discography of Milstein and I've never seen a recording of the Sibelius. He seems to have been a violinist of sharply defined tastes and probably didn't like it, although with the beauty of his tone, I can imagine what it would sound like. I don't know of one by Kogan either. If one didn't turn up in the Brilliant box, than there probably isn't, although I'm not as certain as I am with Milstein.

You have to make room for one more in your collection--Hilary Hahn's on DG.

John


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:18 pm 
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Chalkperson wrote:
I just picked up the Oistrakh Ondine recording, it is from Sibelius week 1954 and also contains Sir Thomas Beecham's readings of the 7th Symphony and Tapiola...definitely worth a listen...


I have Oistrakh and Ehrling on EMI LP that I'll have to give a listen to.

John


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:57 am 
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keninottawa wrote:
Good point, John; and I tend to agree with your overall indifference to Sibelius's music. His Third Symphony and orchestral suites I tend to enjoy, but much of the rest I find a bit hazy.

Wow! It would be a funny world, of course, if we all thought the same . . . but I am so enraptured by such a great deal of Sibelius's music, that I can never quite wrap my mind around the idea that some folks find him "uneven" or even "hazy"!

To the query, though: Hilary Hahn's recent release I find more significant (and, to be sure, enjoyable) for an outstanding account of the Schoenberg concerto; her performance of the Sibelius does not IMO quite match the excellence of the Schoenberg.

Once on a time, I had a disc of Nigel Kennedy playing the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius concerti; haven't heard it in a long while, but I remember enjoying it much.

Two recordings currently in our library, and which I find each in its own way excellent, are:

Heifetz / CSO / Hendl

Kremer / Berliner Philharmoniker / Muti


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~Karl

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:48 am 
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Lance wrote:
[color=#000080]The Sibelius Violin Concerto is one of my personal favourites. Fortunately, we have many recordings of the work. My own favs include
  • Biddulph 80218 - Camilla Wicks/Sixten Ehrling
  • Dutton 9733 - Ginette Neveu/Walter Susskind
  • Ondine 809 - David Oistrakh/Nils-Eric Fougstedt
  • Unesco/EMI 707242 - Ida Haendel/Paavo Berglund
  • Sony 47659 - David Oistrakh/Eugene Ormandy
  • EMI 64030 - Jascha Heifetz/Thomas Beecham
  • Testament 1032 - David Oistrakh/Sixten Ehrling
  • RCA 7019 - Jascha Heifetz/Walter Hendll (Chicago SO)
There are others, but this is already too many for one man! The Heifetz/Hendl, I guess, would be my dessert island disc if I could have only one recording. But David Oistrakh fares marvelously in any of his performances from the sheer beauty of his tone and the unusual eerie but sensual quality he gives in the opening movement.


Wow. What a nice list, Lance. I have most of these myself (all but theHaendel and the Oistrakh/Fougstedt, actually) and concur heartily. Oistrakh's collaboration with Ehrling has always seemed special to me (ditto their LvB), so it's good to know that someone else finds them notable as well. Aside from the Ignatius that Cheniston mentioned--and yes, I'm ordering it--I completely spaced out on his reference to Bustabo. I thought I had it, so glossed over the name until this morning, when I checked my CD collection list. It appears that I have Bustabo doing LvB and Bruch...but NO Sibelius! Geez...another one to look for.
:roll:
:D

Dirk


Last edited by dirkronk on Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:56 am 
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John, you have confirmed my thoughts on Milstein and Kogan and recording availability of the Sibelius. I'm still not quite sure with Kogan, however. I'm still doing some checking. Totally agree about the Milstein's extraordinary violin tone and what he would have brought to the Sibelius.

CharmNewton wrote:
Lance wrote:


Did Nathan Milstein or Leonid Kogan ever record the Sibelius VC? If so, I don't have them showing up anywhere. If anyone knows label/catalogue numbers, please advise.


I'm pretty familiar with the discography of Milstein and I've never seen a recording of the Sibelius. He seems to have been a violinist of sharply defined tastes and probably didn't like it, although with the beauty of his tone, I can imagine what it would sound like. I don't know of one by Kogan either. If one didn't turn up in the Brilliant box, than there probably isn't, although I'm not as certain as I am with Milstein.

You have to make room for one more in your collection--Hilary Hahn's on DG.

John

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:41 pm 
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Hello, this is my first post, but I've been reading for a while and am now dipping a toe in the water...

I'm fascinated that so many loved the Heifetz/Haendl. It's the version I grew up with, and for sheer excitement I haven't heard anything better. I have seven versions - that one (on LP),Oistrakh/Ehrling; Stern/Beecham; Chung/Previn; Heifetz/Beecham; Belkin/Ashkenazy; and the new Hahn which arrived yesterday and is still in its wrapping. I might have to have a Sibelius weekend and listen to a few of them. My question is this: how hard is it to get past an early version you love, how much that does condition the way you hear other accounts?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:25 pm 
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Maybe it would be an idea to hear the new versions a couple of times, until they are as familiar - or nearly so - as the version you've come to love over time, to give you a chance to compare them fairly.

Welcome aboard, David. I hope you'll be arond steadily to contribute your thoughts, and perhaps get the drift of several of our CMG members. So pull up a chair - or a mouse - and make yourself comfortable!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:56 pm 
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david black wrote:
Hello, this is my first post, but I've been reading for a while and am now dipping a toe in the water...

I'm fascinated that so many loved the Heifetz/Haendl. It's the version I grew up with, and for sheer excitement I haven't heard anything better. I have seven versions - that one (on LP),Oistrakh/Ehrling; Stern/Beecham; Chung/Previn; Heifetz/Beecham; Belkin/Ashkenazy; and the new Hahn which arrived yesterday and is still in its wrapping. I might have to have a Sibelius weekend and listen to a few of them. My question is this: how hard is it to get past an early version you love, how much that does condition the way you hear other accounts?


Hello David, welcome!

Interesting question. From my experience, I can say that, while I am dedicated to my "first" recordings of certain pieces, if there's something more insightful or musical, I will certainly take it in...anything that really gets the heart of the music across is good enough for me.

I look forward to reading your posts!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:33 am 
Lance wrote:
John, you have confirmed my thoughts on Milstein ...

I donnt believe Milstein...Image

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/res ... fm?ID=6180


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:39 am 
But,yes,he left JanDamen -1 Nov 50- play it for Monteux... :)
Whaat dayy... :)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:51 am 
And the Damen-remake...
Rob Barnett wrote:
For me there were two discoveries here and one nostalgic re-discovery. First the discoveries – and apologies to those who already know these things. Van Beinum is, on this evidence, a towering giant among Sibelian conductors joining Ormandy, Beecham, Stokowski and Mravinsky. David Oistrakh’s Moscow recording of the Violin Concerto (BMG-Melodiya) is a ripe classic of the genre and Jan Damen, at least in this recording, shows that he is of the same illustrious school. As for Jensen’s Lemminkainen sequence listener-collectors who were active in the 1950s will recall its first issue. Those who witnessed the dying decade or so of vinyl will remember this interpretation in its Decca Eclipse format complete with – horror of horrors – “electronically processed stereo”. Jensen’s was for many years the only easy way to get hold of the complete Legends – at least in the UK although in the USA CBS had the rather wonderful 1950s Ormandy which is still worth hearing if you can find it. Later in the 1970s it was joined on LP by Foss on Nonesuch, Gibson on RCA, Kamu on DG (a luxury item), Hanninkainen (in the USSR) on Melodiya and Jalas with the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra on Decca. None matched Ormandy though Foss and Hannikainen came very close. Ormandy’s mastery was reaffirmed with only the slightest of dilution by his second recording with the Philadelphia for EMI.

The last time I heard these Sibelius tone poems done with as much care, vivid fantasy and allure as this it was either Ormandy or Horst Stein. Ormandy’s 1950s mono recordings with the Philadelphia are priceless and should have been reissued on CD long ago. After that comes Horst Stein and the Suisse Romande orchestra, recorded in Geneva by Decca in FFRR in the early 1970s. His two LPs reissued on CD in whole on a Decca Double and in part on a Decca Weekend disc were a shock in the early-mid 1970s. Who could have predicted that such a combination of Swiss orchestra and German conductor would have produced golden Sibelius. True the Decca team were working their magic but the results exceeded all expectations. The first SXL 6452 was of Nightride and Sunrise, Pohjola’s Daughter, En Saga and an intensely black-hearted Finlandia. The second, SXL 6973, and just as good as its predecessor included the Four Legends. Stein’s indomitable tempi and attention to fantastic detail went straight into the Hall of Fame in the annals of Sibelian recordings. The competition in the shape of Gibson on RCA then Chandos and Dorati on EMI were eclipsed. Van Beinum was recorded in mono for the two substantial tone poems and the engineering is of the same Decca school. It’s such a pity, on this showing, that he did not also record Pohjola, The Bard and Luonnotar. His En Saga and Tapiola is full of fairy tale spirit, creepy, seductive and enchanting. Phrasing is chiselled without being mannered and the stunning effect is enhanced by the fact that he has at his disposal an orchestra that is fully the equal of the music. The sound team ensures that every phrase tells. Instrumental solos and ensembles are stunning, clearly felt and radiate character. Tapiola is quite difficult to bring off; there are a host of recordings where it fails to engage. Van Beinum limns every phrase as if each matters. This pays massive dividends while at the same time pointing up links with the gale in En Saga and the stormy episodes in the Seventh Symphony. Very special music-making.

Jan Damen’s Sibelius Violin Concerto is a real sleeper in the catalogue. There is something of a track record of leaders of the Concertgebouw making a fitful solo career. Herman Krebbers during Haitink’s reign made fine recordings of the Brahms and Beethoven concertos. Jan Damen is said to have been a strong presence in May 1956 in Van Beinum’s Sheherazade (EMI Great Conductors of the 20th Century, 5759412) no doubt contributing as much allure as the young David Oistrakh in the USSRSO/Golovanov recording (Boheme International CDBMR GOLO6) . Damen’s performance with Van Beinum is pretty much perfect in the first two movements. Such concentration and such peach-deep full-lipped tone. It’s a complete joy to hear. Of course you must put up with a hint of graininess in the extremely upfront sound but the dividends are enormous. In the finale the concentration at first slipped from the exalted level sustained in the predecessor movements but soon reasserted itself. These days a silvery fine threads of solo sound are the order of the day. Jan Damen is of the Oistrakh school. In fact left to guess I would have identified Oistrakh as the player. This was not Damen’s only recording of the Sibelius. There is another with Monteux which I have not heard.
The Lemminkainen Legends are a particular favourite of mine. Both Ormandys rank high. The second, from 1978 is easily accesible.As for Jensen and his usual Danish orchestra this is a very good performance and probably has never sounded as good as it sounds now. It’s virile and intense but the recording is not quite as vigorous and immediate as the one enjoyed by Van Beinum. I notice two thumps at 4:15 in the first Legend which sounded like an LP artefact rather than tape; surely not. Also in the same episode at 7:52 I was disappointed that the woodwind ‘chirrups’ go for nothing – or hardly anything. On the other hand the power of this reading can be felt in the energetic battering meted out by the brass at 9:55, in the intensity of the Swan with its very forward cor anglais, in the nicely calculated sense of nocturnal threat in the third Legend and in the stunning tutti in the Homecoming. The latter is quick but not as hell-for-leather as Beecham in his classic EMI recording.

Altogether a box of delights and discoveries for Sibelians.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:30 pm 
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There has never been a recording to surpass the Jascha Heifitz, London Philharmonic/Sir Thomas Beecham (EMI) master recording. :D :D :D :D ****++

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:08 pm 
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david black wrote:
Hello, this is my first post, but I've been reading for a while and am now dipping a toe in the water...

I'm fascinated that so many loved the Heifetz/Haendl. It's the version I grew up with, and for sheer excitement I haven't heard anything better. I have seven versions - that one (on LP),Oistrakh/Ehrling; Stern/Beecham; Chung/Previn; Heifetz/Beecham; Belkin/Ashkenazy; and the new Hahn which arrived yesterday and is still in its wrapping. I might have to have a Sibelius weekend and listen to a few of them. My question is this: how hard is it to get past an early version you love, how much that does condition the way you hear other accounts?

Hey David, welcome to our little Virtual Village, please keep posting...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:25 pm 
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Although this is my favorite Violin Concerto, I'm still searching for the definitive recording. Not that I haven't enjoyed the Heifetz or the others. I really began my love of this piece with a Christian Ferras on a DGG LP. It seems a bit tame to me now though.

Not that I don't love most of the recordings I have heard, I do, but something makes me want to hear the next. The one that I really want to hear is unfortunately out-of-print, this despite that the conductor (Ormandy) was an excellent Sibelian. Someone else has already mentioned this recording in the thread (the soloist was Dylana Jensen). I would love to have a chance to listen to that recording some day.

The music is so nicely balanced between the soloist and orchestra and for me a feeling that it is telling a story, through the voice of the violin, that keeps me wanting to listen to it every chance I have. I really think of it as Sibelius' finest work.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:54 pm 
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anasazi wrote:
Not that I don't love most of the recordings I have heard, I do, but something makes me want to hear the next. The one that I really want to hear is unfortunately out-of-print, this despite that the conductor (Ormandy) was an excellent Sibelian. Someone else has already mentioned this recording in the thread (the soloist was Dylana Jensen). I would love to have a chance to listen to that recording some day.



I'm surprised at the price of used CDs of this recording, given that it is pretty widely available via the Amazon.com marketplace. If you have a local source for second-hand discs, keep your eyes open as a copy may turn up.

John


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:44 am 
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CharmNewton wrote:
anasazi wrote:
Not that I don't love most of the recordings I have heard, I do, but something makes me want to hear the next. The one that I really want to hear is unfortunately out-of-print, this despite that the conductor (Ormandy) was an excellent Sibelian. Someone else has already mentioned this recording in the thread (the soloist was Dylana Jensen). I would love to have a chance to listen to that recording some day.



I'm surprised at the price of used CDs of this recording, given that it is pretty widely available via the Amazon.com marketplace. If you have a local source for second-hand discs, keep your eyes open as a copy may turn up.

John



This is available on demand from Archiv Music along with some excellent late Ormandy recordings of Sibelius in their Japanese incarnations.
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Dri ... ame_role=2


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:13 am 
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O Wow! Many thanks for this link, I will look into this.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Recently listened to the Kavakos/Vanska recording of the Sibelius Concerto. A very fine performance. My previous listen was to the Mutter recording with Previn. The difference was very dramatic, most obviously from an engineering point of view.

After listening to the Mutter it was immediately obvious how it was recorded. There was a set of microphones on the orchestra and Mutter was standing just behind a separate stereo pair recording just her. The result can be quite arresting, but artificial. You have a very vivid image of Mutter standing there playing, and at times I felt I could sense her swaying from left to right, but her image was to "big" with respect to the orchestra. In the Kavakos recording it seems as though the soloist was being picked up by the same microphones that were recording the orchestra. There was a sense that he was part of the same acoustic image. He really sounded like a member of the violin section that was playing more loudly and in an exposed solo line.

Each has its advantages, I guess. There are certainly details that leap out at you in Mutter's recording that are obscured in Kavakos's. But in Mutter's recording the violin's line never merges with the orchestra, it is always separate and disjointed, sonically.

I like but, but I think I prefer Kavakos, both because of the natural recording perspective, and because of the solist-orchestra interactions it allows him to create.

The orchestras also are an interesting contrast. Under Previn Dresden sounds rather lacking in character. Vanska makes a more interesting accompaniment, but sometimes I am bothered because dynamics are more exaggerated than would be optimal (i.e., extremely loud brass playing seems out of proportion).


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:22 pm 
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Heifetz and Oistrakh (all their versions) remain exemplary and are musically touching and satisfying. I note that I gave a list on this thread a while back of my favs. I never did get the Hilary Hahn recording on DGG that CharmNewton highly recommended. I have so many aside from those you saw on the list I gave before ... I'm extremely satisfied with those.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:56 pm 
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I recently purchased the Lin/ Salonen/ Philharmonia version on Sony, as a result of recommendations from CMG... and it really is stunning. I would also reiterate what nut-job says, as I also have the Mutter/ Previn version, and whilst I also happen to like it very much, from the recording perspective, it almost sounds like its a different piece!.. :shock:

personally, I think the starkness of the Finnish landscape comes across with Lin, very clearly indeed... you can almost picture Sibelius' hand on the piece... and the fabulous Nielsen VC coupling has been quite a revelation for me, too.. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:24 pm 
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Jared wrote:
I would also reiterate what nut-job says, as I also have the Mutter/ Previn version, and whilst I also happen to like it very much, from the recording perspective, it almost sounds like its a different piece!..

If the Previn/Mutter disc was played by two other Violin/Keyboard players I think I would probably like it too.. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Well, André Previn is a remarkable musician and muti-faceted. I don't think I would have put him the Philips collection of "Great Pianists of the 20th Century," however, he is a fine pianist, and at times, a great conductor. He's not much of a spring chicken these days. He celebrated his 80th birthday this past April.
Chalkperson wrote:
Jared wrote:
I would also reiterate what nut-job says, as I also have the Mutter/ Previn version, and whilst I also happen to like it very much, from the recording perspective, it almost sounds like its a different piece!..

If the Previn/Mutter disc was played by two other Violin/Keyboard players I think I would probably like it too.. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:26 am 
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Jared wrote:
I recently purchased the Lin/ Salonen/ Philharmonia version on Sony, as a result of recommendations from CMG... and it really is stunning. I would also reiterate what nut-job says, as I also have the Mutter/ Previn version, and whilst I also happen to like it very much, from the recording perspective, it almost sounds like its a different piece!.. :shock:

personally, I think the starkness of the Finnish landscape comes across with Lin, very clearly indeed... you can almost picture Sibelius' hand on the piece... and the fabulous Nielsen VC coupling has been quite a revelation for me, too.. :D


Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Jared. I don't think it is a disc that gets as much attention as the Heifetz, Oistrakh, or recent Hahn recordings, but is indeed a very clear and breathtaking presentation of that characteristic Sibelian 'Finnishness'. Painterly.

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