Perlman's 1983 recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Cto. can be had a dozen ways from Sunday on various EMI reissues. It's a famous reading that finds the violinist in ultimate, polished form. We're glutted with choices in this work, of course, but the partnership with Hiatink is very stylish and assured, and EMI's sound is fine. On the temperature scale, I'd rate this a fairly cool reading, and as always with Perlman, professionalism makes a bigger impression than personality.
I was more interested in the pairing, a much less well known Brahms Double Cto. from 1989. It's played so virtuosically as to be almsot suffocating, primarily because of Rostropovich's blockbuster style, but the engineers are to blame, too, since they have shoved the microphone an inch away from both soloists. Perlman has no choice but to try and sound as overwhelming as Rostropovich, and he almost manages it, although their temperaments couldn't be fartehr apart. I got the greatest enjoymnent from the quiet second movement, where the blending of voices is astonishingly accurate and sweet-toned. Haitink condcuts vigorously, almost cheerfully -- this is an outgoing, upbeat reading of a work that is more than a little melancholy.
I'm giving four stars as a compromise between virtuosic showmanship and variable musical satisfaction.