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Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto / Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto [Original recording remastered]

Felix Mendelssohn , Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky , George Szell , Thomas Schippers , Cleveland Orchestra , et al. Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic
  • Conductor: George Szell, Thomas Schippers
  • Composer: Felix Mendelssohn, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (19 Jun 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000F6YW58
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,747 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Allegro Molto Appassionato
2. Andante - Allegretto Tranquillo - Andante
3. Allegretto Non Troppo - Allegro Molto Vivace
4. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35
5. Canzonetta. Andante
6. Finale. Allegro Vivacissimo

Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars robust, sonorous, absolutely secure performances 17 Sep 2011
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Rene-Charles (Zino) Francescatti, a modest and quiet man, was a charismatic violinist who commanded the concert stage with ease. His father was taught by Bazzini and Sivori (Paganini's only pupil), so he stood in a tradition of great players. The sound he made on his Stradivari (which he sold in old age to fund a foundation to assist young violinists) was big and penetrating with a sturdy beauty unlike anyone else's. He recorded these concerti commercially twice, and these are the second recordings of each. The quality of the recordings (full, well-balanced, immediate) and the orchestral contributions under two excellent conductors, Szell and Schippers, are very good and Francescatti's playing is predictably distinguished. If you think of the Mendelssohn as a 'fragile' concerto, this performance is not for you. Francescatti supplies plenty of lyricism in the quieter moments - the second movement is really lovely - but generally his approach is forward-looking and he keeps the music moving very purposefully ; the Finale fizzes. It is the same with the Tchaikovsky. His absolute technical assurance is evident in both concerti. I don't detect any difference of approach from the earlier versions (available on a 2-CD set) but the sound is better. Whichever you have, you can be assured of very satisfying and truthful performances from a master violinist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mendelssohn's concerto sounds great. 27 May 2013
By egilsp
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mendelssohn's concerto sounds great.
Francescatti is one of my favourite violinists. I was looking for this recording as I was informed that this one is among the best performances of Mendelssohn concerto. I had already another his recording of the concerto - with Mitropoulos.
Also Tchaikovsky concerto is well performed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars welcome back 31 Dec 2013
By Stanley Crowe TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I owned this pairing on vinyl long ago and was surprised and delighted to see it reissued by CBS/Sony in their "Great Performances" series. And they are great! The name Francescatti didn't have the cachet of Heifetz or the young Perlman, but the man could play. His recording of the Mozart Third and Fourth Concertos is my favorite, even though I know that stylistically something less romantic is probably called for, and here he plays down the romanticism (or rather, lets it speak for itself in the nature of the thematic material) and gives a classically energetic and even athletic account of these works. He has a very focused tone -- not a big "full" Perlman-like one -- and he uses it here to play with a combination of precision, pace, and elegance that is very winning. Szell and a scaled-down Cleveland Orchestra back him to the hilt in the Mendelssohn (recorded 1961), and the sound and balance are very good. Mendelssohn composed the piece for the virtuoso Ferdinand David and the combination of elegance (in the first and second movements especially) and sheer energy (in the last) is irresistible. Grumiaux might bring even more elegance and poignancy, but this works its own magic.

The Tchaikovsky is even more remarkable. It's a piece I've been averse to until I heard Midori and Abbado give their very refined and superbly recorded account of it. Here, with Schippers and the NY Philharmonic, there isn't as much refinement in the sound, but Francescatti catches a Mendelssohnian lightness in the first movement, and understated eloquence in the second, and then gives an account of the third that is genuinely witty and charming as well as superbly played. In the hesitant opening of that final movement, he seems to be saying, "I don't really want to get into this!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fabulous Francescatti 27 Aug 2006
By Michael B. Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This Sony "Great Performances" title marks the reissue of two of violinist Zino Francescatti's best stereo Concerto recordings -- the Mendelssohn with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra and the Tchaikovsky with Thomas Schippers and the New York Philharmonic. These performances were previously available on separate CDs in the "Take 2 - Sony Essential Classics" series (see my review of the Mendelssohn title), but both are now out-of-print. The highlight here is the 1961 Mendelssohn, one of my favorite recordings of the work along with accounts by Menuhin and Heifetz. On the other hand, the 1965 Tchaikovsky features good playing from Francescatti (though I prefer his mono account with Mitropoulos on the now OOP Sony "Masterworks Heritage" two-disc set), but with only adequate support from Schippers, who has never wowed me other than with his Barber (see my review of his recently reissued "Alexander Nevsky/Pictures at an Exhibition" GP title). Overall, these golden age recordings are a delight to have available again with improved sound, but I'm still disappointed that Sony has deleted its entire budget line just to reissue a few remastered gems at mid-price.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best version of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 23 Feb 2008
By Brian C. Holly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The other reviewers fail to give this recording the credit it deserves. It was one of my favorites 35 years ago, and when I saw it available here I was delighted, but upon reading the other reviewers, I wondered if perhaps I had been mistaken all those years ago. I was not. Francescatti was one of the four or five best violinists of the 20th century, and he simply plays the first movement of the Tchaikovsky better than anyone else. It is simply breathtaking -- an astouding adventure. Francescatti's playing both precise and passionate. Definitely superior to Heifitz, who often slurs passages. That's not passion; it's sloppiness. The sound quality of this recording is surprisingly excellent -- very vivid and alive.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably excellent 8 Dec 2009
By Barry J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I got addicted to this recording in the Army when my roommate began playing his LP copy. It, like a number of other recordings, stuck with me and I bought the same pieces recorded by others several times over the years until this re-release became available. I'm not saying that I really know anything about serious musicians, but Zino Francescatti plays his heart out on this, while everyone else in the other recordings seems to be lost somewhere else. Even to a non-expert, it becomes clear that there are just times, places, and people that, when combined properly, yield music that gets the hairs up on your arms, again and again. This is one of those.
5.0 out of 5 stars welcome back 31 Dec 2013
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I owned this pairing on vinyl long ago and was surprised and delighted to see it reissued by CBS/Sony in their "Great Performances" series. And they are great! The name Francescatti didn't have the cachet of Heifetz or the young Perlman, but the man could play. His recording of the Mozart Third and Fourth Concertos is my favorite, even though I know that stylistically something less romantic is probably called for, and here he plays down the romanticism (or rather, lets it speak for itself in the nature of the thematic material) and gives a classically energetic and even athletic account of these works. He has a very focused tone -- not a big "full" Perlman-like one -- and he uses it here to play with a combination of precision, pace, and elegance that is very winning. Szell and a scaled-down Cleveland Orchestra back him to the hilt in the Mendelssohn (recorded 1961), and the sound and balance are very good. Mendelssohn composed the piece for the virtuoso Ferdinand David and the combination of elegance (in the first and second movements especially) and sheer energy (in the last) is irresistible. Grumiaux might bring even more elegance and poignancy, but this works its own magic.

The Tchaikovsky is even more remarkable. It's a piece I've been averse to until I heard Midori and Abbado give their very refined and superbly recorded account of it. Here, with Schippers and the NY Philharmonic, there isn't as much refinement in the sound, but Francescatti catches a Mendelssohnian lightness in the first movement, and understated eloquence in the second, and then gives an account of the third that is genuinely witty and charming as well as superbly played. In the hesitant opening of that third movement, he seems to be saying, "I don't really want to get into this!" but, of course, he has to, and off he goes with great spirit. In the section of "conversation" with solo instruments from the orchestra, there seems a touch of self-mockery, a pseudo-virtuostic "souping up" that is just funny, and then off hell-for-leather into the ending. Schippers is on board with it all, and the effect is exhilarating. This is a great re-issue and I'm very happy to have re-acquired it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gentleman of violin per excellence! 4 April 2009
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Zino Francescatti meant for violin what Casadesus for the piano, and that's why their successful musical joining would not be regarded such as mere coincidence. A meaningful colorist, gifted of a very distinguished phrasing and eloquent expressiveness.

This violin's gentleman gave for the posterity genuine musical gems hovered of warm lyricism, refined musicality without losing tonal opulence.

His performance of Saint Saens' Third violin concerto has no paragon. His Mendelssohn version still remains among the top five through the history of the musical interpretation. I would cite the another four. Szigetti- Beecham , Stern-Ormandy, Heifetz and Menuhin.

The Tchaikovsky violin concerto, to be honest has three unsurmountable high peaks: Kogan, Heifetz and Gitlis.
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