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Sym Espagnole

M/Pappano;a-Phil Orch Vengerov Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 11.59
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1. I. Allegro non troppo
2. II. Scherzando (Allegro molto)
3. III. Intermezzo (Allegretto non troppo)
4. IV. Andante
5. V. Rondo
6. I. Allegro non troppo
7. II. Andantino quasi allegretto
8. III. Molto moderato e maestoso
9. Tzigane, Rhapsodie de Concert

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Maxim Vengerov's virtuosity is so spectacular, his tonal palette so varied, that even those who normally don't go for the colorful showpieces recorded here might be won over. His technique is secure enough for us not to notice it--we're never distracted from the music--and while the razzle-dazzle inherent in each of these pieces continue to amaze, it's the effect of the work itself we're left with. Even with Ravel's Tzigane, here certainly receiving one of the most forceful performances ever, it's the evocation of Gypsy abandon that remains in the forefront. The Lalo is pure electricity, with the glowing malaguena and seguidilla and vigorous Habanera almost inviting us to dance, and Pappano and the Philharmonia have just the right surge to keep the entire performance solid. The Saint-Saëns Third Violin Concerto is a wonderful work (the most substantial on the disc), with its combination of two zippy, showy movements sandwiching an andantino of sheer loveliness, and Vengerov's playing is stunning. The outer movements are so full of energy that the oasis in the center is positively heavenly. These may not be the best readings of these works available, but there's not a misplaced note, a moment to take issue with, or a dull spot. If this was Vengerov's only recording, he would forever be known as a great violinist. --Robert Levine

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Audio CD
Edouard Lalo's 'Symphonie Espagnole' and Camille Saint-Saens' Violin Concerto #3 were comissioned by violin virtuoso and composer Pablo Sarasate, known for the beauty and sweetness of his tone, the ease with which he played even the highest notes on his instrument, and his stunning technique. Since the great young Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov not only shares these qualities, but adds to them both heart and superb imagination, he is an obvious choice to record these French masterpieces. However, largely because I am well aware of just how much competition Vengerov has from just about every other great violinist who ever lived and recorded, I have balked at buying many of his CDs, especially of very standard works, because I wanted to 'shop around' to find my favorite renditions and not have the many duplicates I do of operas and operatic recitals. I'm sure many classical music lovers have the same problem. Vengerov's jaw-dropping Britten/Walton album earlier this year, however, made me decide to at least listen to, if not actually buy, every CD he records in the future, and if necessary replace them if I like another violinist's rendition better. The other major factor in my decision to buy this CD was my eagerness to hear the great Antonio Pappano conduct purely orchestral as opposed to the operatic and vocal repertory he is more famous for. The partnership of these two brilliant, passionate and charismatic artists was just too good an opportunity to pass up.
And it truly is a partnership. In this expressive, dramatic, perhaps truly 'operatic' music, Pappano proves to be just as supportive to instrumental soloists as he is to singers; he and the Philharmonia hang on Vengerov's every note. Considering just how many liberties a violinist can take in these works, that can't have been easy!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drama, virtuosity and sweetness from Vengerov and Pappano Feb. 8 2004
By Joy Fleisig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Edouard Lalo's 'Symphonie Espagnole' and Camille Saint-Saens' Violin Concerto #3 were comissioned by violin virtuoso and composer Pablo Sarasate, known for the beauty and sweetness of his tone, the ease with which he played even the highest notes on his instrument, and his stunning technique. Since the great young Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov not only shares these qualities, but adds to them both heart and superb imagination, he is an obvious choice to record these French masterpieces. However, largely because I am well aware of just how much competition Vengerov has from just about every other great violinist who ever lived and recorded, I have balked at buying many of his CDs, especially of very standard works, because I wanted to 'shop around' to find my favorite renditions and not have the many duplicates I do of operas and operatic recitals. I'm sure many classical music lovers have the same problem. Vengerov's jaw-dropping Britten/Walton album earlier this year, however, made me decide to at least listen to, if not actually buy, every CD he records in the future, and if necessary replace them if I like another violinist's rendition better. The other major factor in my decision to buy this CD was my eagerness to hear the great Antonio Pappano conduct purely orchestral as opposed to the operatic and vocal repertory he is more famous for. The partnership of these two brilliant, passionate and charismatic artists was just too good an opportunity to pass up.
And it truly is a partnership. In this expressive, dramatic, perhaps truly `operatic' music, Pappano proves to be just as supportive to instrumental soloists as he is to singers; he and the Philharmonia hang on Vengerov's every note. Considering just how many liberties a violinist can take in these works, that can't have been easy! As usual, Pappano is superb in building tension to dramatic climaxes and giving the music real punch and elan. Even more importantly, one of Pappano's specialties is coaxing gorgeous, radiant sound from orchestral strings sections (most noticeable here in the Saint-Saens) - all the more extraordinary considering he is a pianist and not a violinist! Vengerov indicated in recent interviews that he and the conductor have formed a very ardent mutual admiration society, and this is obvious listening to this album.
Throughout the program, Vengerov plays a 1727 Stradivarius that belonged to the legendary violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer (of Beethoven's `Kreutzer Sonata' fame), and he is more than worthy of this magical instrument. Best of all, it is clear that he is having a very good time! Vengerov has played these pieces from his early childhood and as he says in his booklet essay, they evoke strong feelings of nostalgia in him. They also clearly inspire his imagination, his expressivity, and his strong sense of drama.
In the 'Symphonie Espagnole', the violinist becomes a swaggering toreador in the first movement, a sprightly and good-humored seducer in the second, a strong, passionate dancer in the third and a serious, sad man (perhaps in mourning?) in the fourth. The famous final Rondo movement is a triumph of joy and energy, and note also the way Pappano handles the crescendo and decrescendo at its start.

The highlight of the disc, however, is the second movement of the Saint-Saens. This is Vengerov's favorite part of the concerto and he is absolutely sublime, making his violin sing with such purity and sweetness that one may cry. I am reminded of the Largo from the Bach Double Violin Concerto; as Vengerov gets higher and higher and softer and softer, it is as if one is ascending to some higher, ecstatic dimension (as he puts it, 'the music melts little by little, taking us to other planets, stars, spheres'). The contrastingly zingy outer movements of the concerto are played with equal aplomb.

Maurice Ravel wrote 'Tzigane' for the Hungarian violinist Jelly D'Aranyi, who inspired him by her spectacular playing of Gypsy melodies at a party. It is intended as a showpiece and Vengerov more than delivers. From the long, spare, and incredibly difficult solo cadenza (the orchestra doesn't come in for almost four minutes) to the bewildering pyrotechnics that conclude the piece, this Russian violinist obviously feels a strong kinship with the Gypsies this piece evokes, and so does his Italian-British-American conductor.
EMI's sound engineering is at its usual high standard, although some may complain that the violinist is placed too far forward. In addition to Vengerov's comments, the documentation also consists of a fine essay on the three works by Robert Orledge (both in English, French, and German), and portraits of all the composers. It is a pity that EMI provides no biographies of either Vengerov or Pappano.

I am not the expert on violinists and violin repertory that I am the human voice, so unlike some who may review this disc, I cannot say with any degree of authority whether or not it is 'the best'. Nevertheless, Vengerov's (and Pappano's!) renditions of the works recorded here are so superb that they are a perfect introduction for listeners new to the works or those who want them in modern sound, and I imagine that even many who collect violin recordings will find little to fault about them.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Lalo et al. from Vengerov and Pappano Nov. 30 2004
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have hesitated acquiring this CD since I own already a spellbinding account of Lalo's "Symphonie Espagnole" performed by Vadim Repin with Kent Nagano conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. But frankly, once again, Vengerov's performance of this piece and of the others, is the one to acquire. All three have very demanding solo passages, which Vengerov handles adroitly, with ample warmth and polish. I was stunned with how well he plays all three works, which are among the most difficult I have heard for a solo violin accompanied by an orchestra. Somehow this young Siberian manages to play all with more than a hint of Gypsy soul, as though he was familiar with the traditional Gypsy melodies which inspired undoubtedly Lalo, Saint-Saens, and especially, Ravel, in composing these works. Vengerov's riveting performances of all three works is accompanied by superb playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Italian-American conductor Antonio Pappano. Without question, this is yet another exceptional CD from Vengerov which should please his fans and other admirers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fine performances of French favorites July 20 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm not a great fan of Ravel's "Tzigane." It's like a cake crammed with all the goodies that the cook can put his or her hands on and just sounds a bit too forced to me. If you have a higher tolerance than I have for the piece, this recording won't disappoint you -- great fiddling, with all the tricks of the trade shown off in their proper places, and (as with everything else on the disc) an excellent balance between violin and orchestra, with plenty of presence for both without anything being too close up. The Saint-Saens Concerto No.3 is given a lovely performance, with the great middle movement, which has the feel of a barcarolle, particularly affecting. The whole concerto has plenty of variety, and it's very well orchestrated, and Pappano and Vengerov handle the transitions beautifully. I find the final movement a bit anti-climactic after the first two, but it doesn't lack thematic variety (almost being a little mini-concerto in itself) and Vengerov plays it with total commitment. The unqualifiedly great piece on the disc, to my ears, is the Lalo "Symphonie Espagnole." The sheer inventiveness of the "Spanish" material is amazing, and yet it's put together in the individual movements to give each its distinct character. The writing for the orchestra, in color as well as rhythm, is equally enchanting, and we are never far from the spirit of the dance. The slow movement doesn't have the emotional pull of the Saint-Saens -- it's a bit cooler -- but the richness and weight of the orchestral lead-in is almost alone worth the price of the set. Throughout the program, Vengerov doesn't put a foot wrong, and Pappano and the Philharmonia don't either.

These are all popular pieces, and there are other excellent recordings -- I'm partial to Lin's Saint-Saens with Tilson Thomas -- but really, this is as good as anything out there.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maximum Vengerov Here! Oct. 18 2008
By pgm1961us - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Maxim Vengerov is one of my favorite musicians on the planet. His interpretation here of Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole is marvelous. For me, the way Maxim offers Lalo's work suggests his passion for the piece. No mistake owning this CD at all...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music May 31 2013
By Jeanne Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This music suggested to me by a friend,,,beautiful album...excellent and a pleasure to listen to. Has become a favorite of mine.
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