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Elgar: Violin Concerto Import

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Elgar: Violin Concerto + Violin Concertos Beethoven/Mendelssohn + Brahms and Korngold Violin Concertos
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Product details

  • Performer: Nikolaj Znaider
  • Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
  • Composer: Sir Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (1 Feb 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • ASIN: B002W1HBGQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,768 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. "Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61"
2. I. Allegro
3. II. Andante
4. III. Allegro molto

Product Description

Product Description

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the world premiere of Elgar's Violin Concerto, celebrated Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider has recorded the concerto using the same instrument that Kreisler used at that premiere.

BBC Review

Do you have a list of dream recordings you wish you could hear? This one’s in my top three: The Queen’s Hall, London, on 10th November 1910; the world premiere of the Elgar Violin Concerto, with the composer conducting, and Fritz Kreisler playing the solo part on his 1741 Guarneri del Gesu violin.

The performance may not survive – indeed, neither does the Queen’s Hall – but Kreisler’s Guarneri does, and it’s now in the hands of Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider. Predictably the instrument’s return to the Elgar a century on has generated copious column inches, but Znaider is a deeply serious musician, and the Elgar is a concerto he’s loved since he first heard it as a student, played by Pinchas Zukerman. He knows the important early recordings: Albert Sammons, and the young Yehudi Menuhin with Elgar conducting, and he couldn’t resist going back to Kreisler’s acoustic sessions earlier that year on the instrument he now plays.

But that’s all background; what we hear is Znaider’s own heartfelt response to the Elgar, and in this most symphonic concerto it’s as much Davis and the Dresden orchestra’s performance. Znaider has said it was the first time many members of the orchestra had played the piece, and perhaps the freshness of their response allied with Davis’s Elgarian maturity is what gives this a special immediacy. Znaider shifts effortlessly between heroic grandeur and heartfelt passion, introspection and intimacy; he whispers and caresses, then soars and declaims with both sweet regret and steely determination. There’s always time to reflect on a phrase in one of the most conversational accounts of the work you could wish to hear, yet without any sense of over-indulgence or artifice, and the accompanied cadenza in the finale has an otherworldly breadth and beauty that mesmerises. The recording adds an entirely appropriate autumnal glow to the Staatskapelle sound, and while there’s no coupling for the concerto, you couldn’t possibly feel short-changed.

Even alongside superb recent accounts of the Elgar from international violinists James Ehnes and Gil Shaham, this has something special, and it’s not simply because of the ‘ex-Kreisler’ Guarneri. Oh, and should you ever come across a recording marked ‘Queen’s Hall, 10/11/1910’, do get in touch… --Andrew McGregor

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Roy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Feb 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the most heartening advances in modern music making is the internationalisation of Elgar's work. His music is (almost!) internationally played and appreciated. True, there have been some misguided attempts (Sinopoli's recording of the second symphony or Lenny's 'Enigma Variations' being classic examples - although there was no doubting the sincerity).

International artists have more than proved themselves capable of delving into Elgar's elusive sound world. Perlman and Zuckerman in the violin concerto or Fournier and Maisky in the 'cello concerto. (I also heard a Polish version of 'Gerontius' on Radio 3 recently that was superb!)

To this firmament must be added Nikolaj Znaider. This is a lovely performance of this work. Yes, it IS very different to, say, Kennedy, Sammons or Hugh Bean but is no less idiomatic. This is stunning - both musically and technically. (This is NOT an easy concerto to play, even for the most seasoned of virtuoso's!)

Sir Colin Davis provides superb support and the Dresden Orchestra plays with total commitment.

Buy this from the American site for not many £'s (and GREAT service!) and wallow in the greatest summation of Romanticism.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By PT on 24 Feb 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Colin Davis and the Dresden orchestra together show complete mastery of the complex textures and mood changes of Elgar's music. Nikolai Znaider complements them perfectly by the astonishing sound he extracts from the Guanari Gesu violin (incidentally the same violin that Fritz Kreisler played at the work's premiere 100 years ago). His playing is exhilerating, yet totally bling-free, just like a first growth claret or grand cru burgundy wine.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Mar 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am an unalloyed and unashamed lover of this concerto, probably above all others. For a few years there was little new &exciting to arrive in recordings, then just like buses, a whole fleet of them arrive.
First was James Ehnes wonderful reading, hotly followed by the amazing Shaham-and now Znaider and Zehetmair in the same month!
I was fairly drooling at the prospect of the Znaider/Davis@Dresden combination-Davis's unsurpassed recording of Elgar One with the Dresden Staatskapelle is absolutely stunning-the live Profil recording is the nonpareil recording for this symphony in a catalogue of superb recordings-so I was really looking forward to this performance, with dare I say it at my age?-excitement!
Disappointment one-it's not a live recording, unusual today.
Disappointment two-it's a bit bland as reading overall! It's certainly beautiful, it's well recorded with the glowing sound of the orchestra well caught and of course the playing is brilliant as one would expect-BUT-for me it does not "catch fire".
Davis makes a few, but not enough telling interpretative points, and the violin tone is rich and dark and has the added frisson of authenticity about it-BUT-it still has the feeling of a beautifully and carefully crafted performance lacking-something-fire? passion? danger? real emotion?
Probably a little of all of these! Anyone who buys this will get a beautiful performance beautifully recorded, but in my view, one which falls short of being great.
For me the top recommendation is Shaham, followed by Ehnes and Takezawa (also with Davis)-and the new Zehetmair/Elder offers a richer musical experience.
I really wanted to be "blown away" by this recording, and I'm not-hence the disappointment!
Others will feel differently no doubt. Stewart Crowe
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. W. Herron on 2 Nov 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This performance is stunning and is absolutely riveting from start to finish. Not only is it glittering with technical aplomb, but it radiates a musicality which transcends technical excellence. I have about 8 cds of this concerto, and while I am unable to pick one favourite, this recording is fast becoming more than just a good addition to my collection! I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
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