Violin Concerto:Double Co
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|1. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, op.77 - ShahamBerlin P.OAbbado|
|2. Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor, op.102 ("Double Concerto") - ShahamBerlin P.OAbbado|
The final flurry of recordings by Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic before formally parting company in summer 2002, includes this impressive tribute to Brahms and the violinist Joseph Joachim made at the Philharmonie Berlin in May 2000. The Violin Concerto in D and the Double Concerto in A minor were both composed for Joachim who is incarnate here in the steely, finely economical tone of fiddler Gil Shaham. His powerful first-movement certainties are tinged with timid introspection in the beautiful adagio, but burst into urgent exuberance in the finale. Naturally he plays Joachim's first-movement cadenza and does so with polished ease, clearly demonstrating the fruitfulness of the composer's and dedicatee's relationship.
Shaham is joined by cellist Jian Wang for the Double Concerto. Their intercourse veers between loving reciprocity and sparring antagonism, as did Joachim's with his wife who divorced him and with Brahms who censured him. Dramatic, volatile tension drives the first movement like a threatening family row. Abbado steers the wrestling like a manipulative referee, cajoling the orchestra into a ringside crowd. The thoughtful slow movement moves like an agile heavyweight while the thrilling four-round rondo finale begins with tentative jabs before a tutti onslaught of syncopated blows and grinding interspersed themes makes of it a canvas-pounding knockout that calls for an immediate replay.--Rick Jones
Top Customer Reviews
Thank God for the Internet! If not for it, Americans like me would hardly be able to lay hands on this extraordinary disc. And extraordinary it is, boasting superlative performances of two of Brahms' most important works in rich, velvety, and ideally balanced sound.
The Double Concerto, long my favorite of Brahms' four concerti, here gets the performance of its life. Praise, first, to the two solists, who play as one; more than once during the first movement, where the violin begins a downward passage only to be taken up by the 'cello, or the 'cello begins an upward passage to be continued by the violin, I couldn't tell where one soloist left off and the other began. Such synergy is woefully rare in performances of this piece and here bespeaks (finally!) the matching of two musicians of caliber. Too often, we are forced to listen to a great violinist and a so-so 'cellist make this work into a violin concerto with 'cello obligato (I'm thinking of the unfortunate Mutter/Meneses/Karajan recording) or a great violinist and great 'cellist contort the piece out of all recognizable shape at the service of virtuosity (I won't even mention which recording I'm talking about here, because I know it has its legions of admirers).Read more ›
It's regrettable that Shaham's performance wasn't recorded in the classic Jesus Christus Kirche studio used often by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, taking advantage of the studio's warm, lush sound. However, the Double Concerto was recorded there. Unfortunately, that may be the only excellent point about its recording since neither Shaham nor Wang seem to meld well as soloists. I've heard other, more vibrant performances of the Double Concerto; one recently heard version is one with Szeryng and Starker with Bernard Haitink conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Fans of Shaham's playing won't be disappointed with either performance. However, if one wants more dramatic performances of the Brahms Violin Concerto, there are better recent recordings available, most notably those with Mutter and especially, Vengerov.
Most recent customer reviews
Ashtonishing virtuosity is once again on show here from Gil Shaham, and the end result is very impressive. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2002 by C Drummond
This is the latest big name Brahms violin concerto recording- Hahn and Chung have both released recordings recently as well. I have reviewed the Hahn on amazon. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2002 by Musicy