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Prokofiev / Stravinsky: Violin Concertos

Prokofiev , Stravinsky , Andre Previn , London Philharmonic Orchestra , Kyung-Wha Chung Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Prokofiev / Stravinsky: Violin Concertos + Prokofiev: The Piano Concertos 1-5
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Product details

  • Performer: Kyung-Wha Chung
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Composer: Prokofiev, Stravinsky
  • Audio CD (12 Mar 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041V4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,313 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 in D, Op.19 - 1. Andantino 9:400.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 in D, Op.19 - 2. Scherzo. Vivacissimo 3:500.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 in D, Op.19 - 3. Moderato 7:510.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.63 - 1. Allegro moderato10:56Album Only
Listen  5. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.63 - 2. Andante assai 9:560.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.63 - 3. Allegro, ben marcato 6:160.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Stravinsky: Violin Concerto in D - 1. Toccata 5:590.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Stravinsky: Violin Concerto in D - 2. Aria I 4:260.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Stravinsky: Violin Concerto in D - 3. Aria II 5:250.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Stravinsky: Violin Concerto in D - 4. Capriccio 6:180.79  Buy MP3 


Product Description

CD -Chung/London Symphony Orch./Andre Previn

Customer Reviews

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stupendous record 23 Sep 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a stupendous record. I have long known Chung's wonderful bittersweet recording of the Stravinsky coupled on LP with her benchmark Walton recording but I had not heard her recordings of the Prokofiev concertos . As so often the case in recordings from the 1970s she is accompanied by Andre Previn and the LSO.

These performances are magical . She is well balanced with the orchestra in thrillingly vivid late analogue sound. The LSO play for all they are worth and Previn accompanies even more tellingly than on his very good recordings with Shaham.

It is the pinpoint accurate yet deeplyprofound playing of Chung that makes these , for me, the best performances of these concertos on record . Her playing is tender, ironic, witty and exquisite by turns. In fact often all four at once !

Oistrakh is the only other violinist who gets as close to the heart of the music and he is not so well accompanied or recorded .

Magnificent.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Forty years on since this Korean phenomenon and virtuoso cut her first recordings with Andre Previn and the LSO, this coupling of Stravinsky (1973) both Prokofiev concerti (1977) still brims with the same freshness and spontaneity as it seemed to possess when first released. From the very special opening of the exquisite first concerto to the pathos and darker struggles of the second concerto it conveys a deep understanding of Prokofiev's idiom and sentiment.

The Stravinsky concerto was a great puzzle to me until I heard Kyung-Wha Chung bring it to life. For me the score always looked harsh strident and forbidding. But it is so much clearer and logical here, really very appealing and definitely under-rated, once one hears how it should sound.

The playing throughout is effortless, sublime, and absolutely ravishing, perfectly balanced, the recorded quality remains absolutely first rate, a credit to the recording engineers getting the best from the Kingsway Hall. This collaboration with Previn is extraordinary, showing just how synergistic these two musicians of very different backgrounds and musical experience could be.
It is quite fair to say that this performance captures those ingredients which characterise Kyung-Wha Chung's live performances I have attended: vibrant, exciting, unforced, beautifully phrased and flowing, with impeccable accuracy, brilliant honey and silver tone, and an intimate passionate undercurrent never far from the surface.

I strongly recommend this as a core must-have.

Not to be too controversial I hope, but to compare Oistrakh's rather square ponderous note-perfect Prokofiev 1 with Kyung-Wha Chung's version is IMO a bit like comparing a Honda Accord with a Jag XK.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique style and soul leaping out of the notes 20 Mar 2003
By Scott68 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Kyung Wha Chung is my favorite living violinist, she studied at Juiliard with Galamian and then later with the incredible Szigetti. Ever since I heard her play Beethoven and Bruch I became completely spellbound by her great sence of timing and tempo, sence of phrasing, and wonderful bow technique. Her staccato is incredibly articulate and her technique overall is completely effortless, it is clear to me that there is no sence of resistance between what she wants to do with the music and what she plays. In addition, she plays with incredible warmth and intensity and her recordings are of the highest quality available. I simply get every CD I can find by her.
If you are a serious musician, you already know how phenominal a talent Prokofiev is. When you read his music, the style and soul just comes leaping out of the notes. The man had his own style and sound, while making so many incredible works with melodies so pure you can not help but to love them. The other thing about him that sticks out in my mind was the mention in the Richter book about how Prokofiev disgusted some teachers and won over others when he was at the conservatory and that gave him great pleasure to divide the opinions of his superiors. The repression of his music and talent by the Soviet government was brought on by his ability to create new sounds incorporating dissonances that work. This new sound must have been a musical revolution at the time because the government banned his music to be played until Richter came along and made it popular. You really have to respect someone who has their own sound and is able to capture you with a strong melody as well as have the confidence to stand out and do something differently. I can honestly say I have never heard anything like Prokofiev before or since, his talent is completely genius and after listening to his piano works I decided that he is no less brilliant than even the other Russian titan, Rachmaninoff.
Of course I am terribly fond of both concertos here written by Prokofiev. I have many recordings of these concertos including Heifetz, Milstein, Mintz to name a few but this is the CD I play when I want to hear these great concertos. I also like to I pull out the old Oistrakh recordings to compare these performances to but this CD has better recording quality. For the Stravinsky I would suggest this and Hilary Hahn's recording to contrast each other.
If you like the Prokofiev Concerto 1 then you might consider getting the DVD with Repin.
I enjoy this CD immensely and my collection simply would not be complete without it.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stravinsky's Violin Concerto the prize of this CD, among the very best versions ever recorded 9 Aug 2008
By Discophage - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
These versions of Prokofiev's Violin Concertos, recorded in 1975, were important ones in the late LP era, when there wasn't so much competition: Oistrakh, Milstein, Stern and a few lesser names. I enjoyed Chung's back then. Many more have been recorded since.

Unfortunately, I came back to Chung's immediately after hearing the one André Previn recorded twenty years later, with the same orchestra and Gil Shaham this time (Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1 & 2; Sonata for Solo Violin). Chung's flaws jump immediately to the ear: right at her entry in the first Concerto (a simple, upward A-D interval), she adds a kind of sob, presumably for "expressive" reasons. And it is incredibly vulgar. Shaham plays it straight, very simply - and that's what Prokofiev needs. In his two Concertos he has these long, simple and radiantly lyrical melodies; the temptation must be to fuss over them, to charge them with meaning and feeling, in order to wring out every drop of lyricism they contain - rather than to play them as they are written: simply, and with a radiant lyricism. And that's the trap into which Chung eagerly falls in the first movement of the first Concerto. Her phrasings are full of these little "expressive" sobs, portamentos and what not. She sounds like a wailing singer. She also invests the more scherzando passages of this first movement (3:05) with a sense of whimsicality and a braggadocio swagger: if you are well-disposed, you may say that it is an original and imaginative approach, and if you are not, that again she is fussing with the phrases (in fact I think both are true). Add to that that her violin tone is husky rather than luminous (which is fine in the second movement Scherzo but somewhat detrimental in these long and radiantly lyrical melodies), and her intonation (partly because of these expressive gimmicks) at times a hair approximate. Fortunately, in the first Concerto, her Scherzo and Finale are beyond reproach, and especially in the latter, the much-desirable simplicity of delivery is there.

The second Concerto starts again with another one of these long, lyrical melodies, played this time by the violin alone, and the temptation must be big to milk it and brood over it, which is what about every fiddler after Heifetz has done (Heifetz Plays Strauss (Violin Sonata op. 18), Sibelius (Violin Concerto), Prokofiev (Violin Concerto 2)). But then start the problems: the transitions to the more dynamic and scherzando passages (the first one is at 1:10 with Chung) become more abrupt, less organic than when the opening motive is taken at a faster tempo (as Heifetz does). Furthermore, the movement sounds as if made up of small sections pasted one after the other, slow, fast, slow, fast. Finally, slowing down too much with the return of the lyrical theme, the violinist has to apply unprescribed accelerations to retain the character of the music when Prokofiev's goes from quarter- or eighth-notes to sixteenth notes, such as (in Chung's reading) at 2:58 or 4:20; in my experience this is a sure sign that there is something the musician didn't get in the movement's architecture and tempo relationship.

Truth is, this has become, after Heifetz, the standard reading of that movement, although, by magnifying the contrasts of tempo, Chung sounds less organic than Oistrakh (Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Violin Sonata No. 2) despite similar timings. But within that approach, she plays with the required blend of lyricism and dash. She also offers a superb slow movement of great emotional intensity, and a fine finale, though without quite the technical fluency of Shaham twenty years later and with a tone more raucous than his - which is not out of situation here. I'm not particularly favorably biased toward André Previn, but he offers here great support, with all the subtle filigree of Prokofiev's orchestration clearly highlighted. The sonics have aged well, though they are not as present as with Shaham.

But the real prize of this CD is Stravinsky's Violin Concerto, recorded by the same team in 1972 (and originally issued with Walton's violin concerto, now on Concerto Violin (2)). Back then and today still it is not a piece that was and is so often recorded, and outstanding versions are rarer still. Other than the qualities of the soloist, it is essential in this work that the orchestra be treaded not as mere accompaniment but as an equal partner, and that the concerto's chamber-like textures, its constant interplay between soloist and various instrumental families in the character of a baroque concerto grosso, its often subtle and often saucy instrumental colors, its facetiously square neo-baroque rhythmic writing peppered with occasional limps, come out vividly and with great instrumental pungency.

Chung and Previn have all these qualities, placing their version among the very best of the dozen or more I have heard. Previn has got a keen sense of Stravinsky's orchestra, a great ear for color, and the necessary touch of irony. Every orchestral detail you wait for is there, vivid and clear. In the opening Toccata, the tuba is marvelously witty and the woodwinds chirp, in the middle section of the Aria II the basses have body, in the final Capriccio the 3 bassoons that open the movement dance as the hippos in Fantasia, and the woodwinds have a jazzy snap. Wonderful dialogues occur between Chung and the various soloists from the orchestra (bassoon, solo violin and cello). And these are only a few of the numerous orchestral felicities that abound under Previn's baton. Chung's tone is ardent and pure as Grumiaux's or Perlman's (Berg, Stravinsky: Violin Concertos), and she never feels the need to coax the lines and exaggerate the raucousness of her tone (a pitfall that Mutter, Witold Lutoslawski: Chain 2 / Partita / Igor Stravinsky: Violin Concerto - Anne-Sophie Mutter / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Witold Lutoslawski / Philharmonia Orchestra / Paul Sacher doesn't always avoid). In each movement the tempos are balanced, neither particularly fast (though the finale certainly does not linger) nor particularly slow. This is a classic, on a par with the composer's own recording with Isaac Stern from 1960 (Stravinsky: Concertos), Arthur Grumiaux and Ernest Bour's from 1966 (Berg / Stravinsky: Violin Concerto - Grumiaux, Markevitch, Bour), more unexpectedly, David Oistrakh and Bernard Haitink's from 1963 (Mozart Violin Concerto 1 / Stravinsky Violin Concerto - Oistrakh, Haitink).
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime performance 25 Oct 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This CD is worth getting just for the second movement of Prokofiev's 2nd violin concerto, which is one of the most beautiful pieces ever written for violin and orchestra in my opinion. Chung's playing is passionate and exquisite.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The young Chung is fascinating in both Prokofiev concertos 24 April 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Kung-Wha Chung was the first famous violin phenomenon from Asia, and as often happens, she turned out to be the best (so far). Her abilities transcend the copy cat; she has a distinctive tone that uses grit and raspiness when called for, and her musicmaking is full of individuality. Chng's take on the two Prokofiev concertos isn't Russian in lushness and big tone but all her own, full of details you won't hear from anyone else. That's one of the musical traits I most admire; therefore, I rate her version of both works high. Decca provides spectacular, very close

sound, allowing us to put our ears an inch away from the violin. Previn's conducting is also highly detailed, though it could use a good deal more bite, and soul, too, for that matter. His caution is the only drawback I can find in this estimable recording.

I tend to think of Chung as reather serious, on the verge of heavy-handed in her earnestness. Her approach to Prokofiev makes him sound serious, too. As applied to Stravinsky, however, it misses all the intellectual fizz; there's no neo-clasical lightness as Chung and Previn combine for some heavy stomping where jitterbugging would be more appropriate. Still, this CD deserves a listen just for the two Prokofiev works.
0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a correction: she is a woman 23 Sep 2007
By S. J. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
that is if you have not noticed. She may not be the most feminine looking, i do not know, but someone here is thinking she is a man?
About her playing prokopievs may not be my first choice of the recorded repertoires. Isaac stern or even Heifetz gave more heartfelt or stylish playing imho, even though this is not to say Chung could ever give anything less than one of the best enjoyable music there is.
FYI Stravinsky himself is said to have thought of her as playing his concerto best of all violinists.
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