This is a beautifully played, selected, remastered, and priced recording of essential pieces of music.
I was wary of picking this up, because my experiences with budget classical releases have generally been bad: although the music is always wonderful, companies either get competent but uninspired performers, or transfer a legendary performer's recording (usually pretty old) to CD without taking any time to remaster it well.
Labels realize, I suppose, that there are two types of people who buy classical music: casual listeners that don't care about (or can't notice) such things, and a coterie of discerning obsessives who are willing to get fleeced for a good recording.
But EMI has actually done everyone a favor. This CD is a gift to a person starting a classical music collection, or anyone who just wants a beautiful recording of these pieces. Mozart's two greatest violin concertos are here, along with the alternate movements that he wrote for the same concertos - the disc actually fills its running time of 80 minutes, and it sounds glorious even on headphones. I'm not sure if it was a great remastering job or just an unusually sharp recording in the first place, but everything sounds bright and alive.
My knowledge of performers isn't that good, and I had never heard of David Oistrakh when I picked this up, but after a few listens I was convinced that he had to be a legend - which, unsurprisngly, he was (and is, I suppose). His tone is incredibly pure and smooth, and his playing retains the improvisatory feel of some of Mozart's continuously unspooling melodies while remaining disciplined and clear.
The 4th and 5th violin concertos mark the point when Mozart stopped performing these compositions himself, and handed over the reins to a more skilled violinist - and my god, they seem to have gotten very complicated. The development of the melodies occasionally moves into harmonic areas where it sounds like Mozart must have been writing in 20th century: and parts of the Turkish concerto, I swear, sound like they were picked up by Sibelius to use in Tapiola. But a genius, I suppose, is always writing modern music.
This is great recording and a wonderful value - you'll listen to it forever, I assure you.