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Berg / Beethoven: Violin Concertos [CD]

Isabelle Faust Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: £13.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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ISABELLE FAUST

"Her sound has passion, grit and electricity but also a disarming warmth and sweetness that can unveil the musics hidden strains of lyricism ..." - New York Times

Isabelle Faust adopts a perspective on music in which ever-new experiences and discoveries are the principal focus. Having founded a string quartet when just eleven, her early chamber music ... Read more in Amazon's Isabelle Faust Store

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Berg / Beethoven: Violin Concertos + J.S. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Isabelle Faust + Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 2 (Isabelle Faust)
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Product details

  • Performer: Isabelle Faust
  • Orchestra: Orchestra Mozart
  • Conductor: Claudio Abbado
  • Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Alban Berg
  • Audio CD (6 Feb 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B0062QFZ10
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,808 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Violin Concerto "To the Memory of an Angel": I. Andante - Allegretto
2. Violin Concerto "To the Memory of an Angel":II. Allegro - Adagio
3. Violin Concerto in D major: I. Allegro ma non trop
4. Violin Concerto in D major: II. Larghetto
5. Violin Concerto in D major: III. Rondo allegro

Product Description

BBC Review

Written more than a century apart, the Berg and Beethoven violin concertos are not often considered a natural pairing – but that is exactly how they come across on this new album. These fresh-sounding performances by violinist Isabelle Faust, under the peerless guidance of Claudio Abbado and his specially assembled Orchestra Mozart, make a compelling case for matching the 1930s angst-ridden, serial-inflected Berg with Beethoven's optimistic first flush of early 18th century romanticism.

The album begins with Berg, the dark intensity of its opening enhanced by the atmospherically reverberant acoustic of the Manzoni Auditorium in Bologna where the recordings were made. The shadowy soundworld is deeply evocative, yet the transitory wind and brass solos flit into the light with absolute clarity. Faust enters with sinewy silkiness, caressing the solo line with a tangible sense of longing. She combines a supremely beautiful tone with a sense of purpose throughout, and blends homogeneously with the vast – though sparingly employed – orchestral forces.

Berg wrote the concerto in an ultimately futile attempt to overcome his trauma at the death of 18-year-old Manon Gropius. Though tragic, Abbado and Faust offer an agile view of the work painted in subtle light and shade. The macabre waltz has a mesmeric buoyancy; with Abbado's expert woodwind balancing, the cathartic Bach chorale sounds as if it really is being played on an organ. The whole experience is extraordinarily moving.

If you play the album continuously, the warmth of Beethoven's opening bars emerges miraculously from Berg's valedictory bleakness. Abbado's Beethovenian credentials are second to none. He captures the first movement's epic grandeur, while ensuring a sense of flow with a relatively brisk tempo and nimble articulation. But whereas the generous acoustic bloom is an asset to the Berg, here it often blurs Abbado's carefully planned detail. Some of the orchestral tuttis lack the last ounce of urgency and excitement, but that is not a problem in the joyously gambolling finale, which has an especially thrilling coda.

Faust's sweet tone is consistently delightful, and she imparts due weight to the music with a light touch and comparatively sparing vibrato. Her invigorating performance offers an abundance of cogent new insights into one of the most well-loved concertos in the repertoire.

--Graham Rogers

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Review

Coupling arguably the two greatest violin concertos of the 19th and 20th centuries might seem too much of a good thing, but in these outstandingly played and conducted versions, the pairing seems quite logical, even illuminating...[Faust's] collaboration with Abbado is inspired. Indeed, both find more beauty in this challenging score than most interpreters on disc...A glorious disc. --Hugh Canning, CD OF THE WEEK, Sunday Times, 26 February 2012

VIOLINIST Isabelle Faust has matured to the point where we should now regard her as one of the great artists of our time. You can chart her progress through her recordings of Bartok, Bach and Beethoven. Then last year, with Daniel Harding and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, she reached new heights of sophistication and refinement with one of the most beautiful recordings of Brahms's Violin Concerto I have heard. And now, with her new recording of the Violin Concertos by Berg and Beethoven, she advances again, this time with Claudio Abbado and his creamy Orchestra Mozart. The emotional depths Faust uncovers in the Berg are utterly moving and profound, with a strange kind of serenity in the "Bach Chorale" section, in parallel with the poignancy. The Beethoven, an astounding performance from all the forces, is quite simply life-affirming, with a breathtaking cadenza, freely adapted from Beethoven's own cadenza written for a reduced transcription of the concerto. Amazing. --Michael Tumelty, Sunday Herald, 26 February 2012

There s something extra- special about the way Isabelle Faust and Claudio Abbado bring a sense of tentative wonder and discovery to the opening of the Berg Violin Concerto. [An] illuminating performance. --MICHAEL DERVAN, Irish Times, 24 February 2012

VIOLINIST Isabelle Faust has matured to the point where we should now regard her as one of the great artists of our time. You can chart her progress through her recordings of Bartok, Bach and Beethoven. Then last year, with Daniel Harding and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, she reached new heights of sophistication and refinement with one of the most beautiful recordings of Brahms's Violin Concerto I have heard. And now, with her new recording of the Violin Concertos by Berg and Beethoven, she advances again, this time with Claudio Abbado and his creamy Orchestra Mozart. The emotional depths Faust uncovers in the Berg are utterly moving and profound, with a strange kind of serenity in the "Bach Chorale" section, in parallel with the poignancy. The Beethoven, an astounding performance from all the forces, is quite simply life-affirming, with a breathtaking cadenza, freely adapted from Beethoven's own cadenza written for a reduced transcription of the concerto. Amazing. --Michael Tumelty, Sunday Herald, 26 February 2012

There s something extra- special about the way Isabelle Faust and Claudio Abbado bring a sense of tentative wonder and discovery to the opening of the Berg Violin Concerto. [An] illuminating performance. --MICHAEL DERVAN, Irish Times, 24 February 2012

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angelic Memories Indeed 14 Feb 2012
By Entartete Musik TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Pairing concertos can be a great challenge. But Isabelle Faust has really thrown down the gauntlet by attempting both the Berg and Beethoven Violin Concertos within one recording. These are two supreme masterpieces: the former an aching confession; the latter a spry riot of style and symphonism. With Claudio Abbado as an idiomatic though never dogmatic presence on the disc, Faust does the impossible. She plunges the depths of the Berg, while totally commanding the heights of the Beethoven.

The Beethoven has, thankfully, been placed second on this recording (though is reviewed first). There is little ultimately to link these two works, though their sheer emotional variance gives rich yin and yang. In the Beethoven, Faust is elegant, punchy and vital. Her bow flies off the strings in the Rondo. Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart oblige with equally animated responses in this Classical cat and mouse. Although touched by a historically informed hand, this is nonetheless a romantic interpretation and the first movement delivers bold symphonic grandeur. Playing with heft and delicacy in equal measure, Faust is a prime contendor for this work.

Before such thrilling rhetoric, however, Berg offers the shock of emotional honesty. Hallucinatory, introverted, calm, Abbado unfolds its painful narrative through a slow but certain bloom. He avoids Beethovenian analysis while drawing individual lines with Mahlerian clarity. Faust is placed within the orchestra, another voice in the aching threnody. Where in the Beethoven, Faust's velvet-clad iron fist gave bounce, here it speaks of unedited emotion. The appearance of the Bach chorale at the end of the concerto slow pulls us out of our grief-stricken reverie, preparing us for the untrammelled joy of the Beethoven.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Performance by Isabelle Faust. 26 Mar 2013
By H. A. Weedon VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For me, whereas the music of Beethoven expresses the triumph of joy over adversity, that of Berg expresses wallowed-in-misery, a viewpoint stunningly enhanced by the juxtapositioning of these two great works on one CD. Beethoven's childhood wasn't a happy one, he wasn't good at making relationships, his love life was in turmoil and he went deaf at a relatively early age. He could have reflected all this in his music, but he didn't: he gives us only JOY coupled with the inspiration to overcome and win through in the face of every adversity. Berg, on the other hand, seems to be telling us: this is what suffering and misery is like: come and enter into my music and share the pain with me.

Maybe it all depends on whether or not we want someone to wallow in our own miseries with us or someone who lifts us right out of them into that joyous realm that's always there if only we would take the time to appreciate it. Is it possible for anyone to improve upon the recorded performance of all this by Isabelle Faust with the Orchestra Mozart conducted by Claudio Abbado? I don't think so. I'm so happy that I decided to buy this recording. For me, Isabelle Faust is obviously one of the greatest violinists of all time and, as I listen to her playing, I say to myself: 'This is the way to do it!'

I'm not a music expert; I just know what I like and can tell when something is well or poorly done. Some people are enamoured of pop stars. I prefer to confine that kind of admiration to the likes of Isabel Faust. I don't think I'm making a very good job of writing this review. All I can say is: this recording is great stuff. So just buy it and enjoy it just like I do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Isabelle Faust is wonderful in both these works! 26 Feb 2013
Format:Audio CD
Many might see the coupling of the finest violin concerto of the classical period with that of the modern period as somewhat strange, but as the notes say, this coupling is a "dialogue", and for me it is a dialogue that works! On the one hand we have Beethoven, who in his concerto finally realises the potential of the violin as a solo instrument. Whilst on the other hand, Berg takes the use of the violin further as he gives it a voice as he has it portray the soul of "an Angel", the memory of the 18 year old daughter of Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius who had died a few months earlier.
Isabelle Faust has long been a favourite of mine; ever since she burst onto the scene with her recordings of the music of Bartók she has shown a wonderful technique along with a beautiful ability to phrase the music in order to show every emotion, and this recording is no different! Her ability to portray the anguish of loss that Berg felt about the death of Manon, and which he poured into the concerto, is tangible. While the joy of life which jumps off the page of Beethoven's concerto is there for all to hear. Faust's credentials as a Beethoven performer are not in question, her recordings of the complete sonatas with Alexander Melnikov are truly beautiful, while many held her earlier recording of the violin concerto (2007) to be the finest modern recording, it even became Radio 3's `Building a Library' choice. For me this earlier recording, with the Prague Philharmonia and Jiųí Bĕlohlávek, has been surpassed by this new recording, and not just in Faust's playing, but also in the orchestral playing which is tighter and more expressive under Abbado.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A sophisticated performance
This coupling is unusual but complimentary. Both works are performed with insight and restrained sensitivity. A deliberate choice for me.
Published 1 month ago by Pauline Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
I'm not a great fan of Berg - I much prefer Webern - but this is obviously a great performance. Fortunately the same applies to the Beethoven, beautifully played, accompanied and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lance Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Isabel Faust Beethoven violin concerto
This is an exceptionally warm virtuoso performance, strongly recommended. Apart from the playing the accompaniement and recording are top class.
Published 18 months ago by James Buck
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant playing
I'm not a great fan of the Berg but if there were a version to convert me this would be it. the Betthoven is very desirable indeed and is surely up there with the great historic... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mr. Christopher Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb disc.
Beethoven and Berg may seem an odd coupling, but with these interpretations they seem somehow to be natural partners. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr. G. Saxby
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb music, beautifully played
This is a really excellent recording and well worth adding to the music library. Just a word of warning; if you are planning to play this CD on equipment which displays track... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Rhu
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation
At the risk of being thought an ignoramus and a philistine, I must confess that I had found the Beethoven concerto tedious, and the Berg incomprehensible. Not any more. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mr. K. H. Cobb
5.0 out of 5 stars Majectic maestro
In these two contrasting syles of music a broad expertise of interpretation is required. Isabelle Faust performs majestically and shows a genius command of the extent of her... Read more
Published on 22 April 2012 by Bill G
5.0 out of 5 stars This one counts
Lots of new performances of the Beethoven Violin Concerto are issued each year. The recent crop has included many that are worthwhile. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2012 by enthusiast
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Beethoven
This is a very fine recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto in my view. Isabelle Faust has some phenomenal competition from recordings by the very greatest violinists (my... Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by Sid Nuncius
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