Though these recordings from the mid to late 60s find Perlman at the beginning of his international career, they capture well the qualities most associated with his now mature artistry: solid technique, lyricism, and continuity of line. The Perlman approach works best with the Tchaikovsky concerto in a performance that eschews pyrotechnics until the last movement. The first movement sounds unlike any other recorded version, emphasizing the thoughtful, even melancholy elements within the score. The second and third movements are more conventional in their delivery, with the eruption of the finale's high spirits more astounding given the restraint shown earlier. The Dvorak was the original disc-mate for the Tchaikovsky, and sounds lovely here. Perlman and Leinsdorf seem less interested in the Sibelius. Everything's well-executed and beautifully rendered, but this is a reading that stays on the surface, with little acknowledgement of the raging passions underneath.
Perhaps most appealing about the High Performance release to those collectors familiar only with the previous Red Seal and Gold Seal releases of the Tchaikovsky and Dvorak is the refurbishment of the sound. The lps' sound was terrible - muffled and distorted. The first cd release on RCA's Papillion series miraculously cured the sonic ills, and High Performance doesn't improve much upon that earlier issue. But the Perlman/Leinsdorf/Dvorak piece is new to cd, and it may tempt some collectors to replace the Papillion with the fuller High Performance cd.