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Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1 & 2


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Product details

  • Performer: Isaac Stern
  • Conductor: Eugene Ormandy
  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (25 Oct 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CBS
  • ASIN: B0000025U7
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,132 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. I. Andantino; Andante assaiIsaac Stern;The Philadelphia Orchestra;Eugene Ormandy 9:21£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. II. Scherzo: VivacissimoIsaac Stern;The Philadelphia Orchestra;Eugene Ormandy 3:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 19: III. ModeratoIsaac Stern;The Philadelphia Orchestra;Eugene Ormandy 7:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 63: I. Allegro moderatoIsaac Stern;The Philadelphia Orchestra;Eugene Ormandy10:26Album Only
Listen  5. Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 63: II. Andante assaiIsaac Stern;The Philadelphia Orchestra;Eugene Ormandy 9:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 63: III. Allegro ben marcatoIsaac Stern;The Philadelphia Orchestra;Eugene Ormandy 6:01£0.99  Buy MP3 

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Ludbrook on 10 Nov 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I remember reading the Gramophone review of this recording when it came out on an LP and buying it shortly afterwards. I never regretted it. The combination of Stern's artistry and virtuosity coupled with Ormandy's superb accompaniment made for a very satisfying disc. However the years passed and the LP wore out. I tried other versions by David Oistrakh and Kyung Wha Chung both of which had considerable merit. But I was still sure that Stern/Ormandy provided the complete picture and so it proved when I played this splendidly remastered CD. Highly recommended
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Stern vs Stern - close match 17 Sep 2008
By Discophage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Isaac Stern must be the violinist who made the most studio recordings of Prokofiev's two Violin Concertos: three in all. Ruggiero Ricci made two (with Ansermet in 1958, Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5; Romeo and Juliet, Suite No. 1, and later, on the budget label Vox, with the lesser Luxembourg Orchestra under Louis de Froment, Sergei Prokofiev: The Concertos), Perlman three (the first one was his premiere recording, Sergei Prokofiev:Sonatas for Violin/Concerto No. 2, and the last one is in fact a live recording, Stravinsky: Violin Concerto; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2) but only of the 2nd Concerto (with only one of the first, Prokofiev: Violin Concertos). All the others - Szigeti, Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein, Kogan, Szeryng, to limit myself to the historical ones, have done maximum two, and usually of only one of the two Concertos. So obviously Stern had a special affinity with these two compositions.

I haven't heard Stern's last recording, with Mehta (Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2). This one, made with Ormandy in 1963, is considered the "classic" account, and justifiably so. It is superb. The Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy is lush but precise and many details come through (although some tend to get drowned under the slightly too resonant bass). Stern plays with magnificent tone and a perfect mixture of bite and lyricism. He can make his tone sound raucous when the character of the music calls for it (as in the passage between 4:39 and circa 6:20 in the first movement of the 1st Concerto), but it is never ugly. The finale of Concerto #2 has great sweep and drive. In the first movement of the same Concerto Stern takes the approach that has become standard, and I've expressed in other reviews my misgivings about it: by exaggerating the contrasts of tempo indicated by the composer, it gives the impression of a sectional composition, and also leads to applying tempo changes that are simply not indicated in the score. Although he is not entirely observant of Prokofiev's metronome marks either (it'll come as no surprise that he plays faster), I believe that Heifetz is closer to the composer's intentions, here, and so is Ricci with Ansermet, but his insecure intonation and plodding finale put HIM out of the running. But still, taken on its own terms, independent of the score, this "standard" approach exemplified by Stern works perfectly well and is entirely legitimate. Nobody would object if Prokofiev HAD written it that way.

Nonetheless, I do retain a soft tooth for Stern's first recording - the first Concerto was made with Mitropoulos in 1958 and the 2nd with Bernstein a year before. They've been reissued in the superb 3-CD set of Early Concerto Recordings vol. 2, one of the first installments of the great Isaac Stern Collection (Early Concerto Recordings, Vol. 2). All the characteristics of Stern's interpretation in 1963 are already present. True, in the first movement of the 1st Concerto there is an added and welcome spaciousness in the later recording - it is more pressed and urgent in 1958, because of Mitropoulos maybe, a conductor certainly more tight-fisted than the mellow Ormandy. On the other hand Stern and Ormandy in 1963 don't quite emulate the hair-raising forward dash of Stern and Mitropoulos' middle scherzo - the only version I heard that had similar intensity was Oistrakh with Kubelik, live in Prag in 1947, but in dismal sound (Concertos - Liszt/Prokofiev/Khachaturian). But the plus from the earlier versions is the 2nd Concerto's slow movement: in 1957 Stern took it significantly slower (overall 10:19 to his 9:30 in 1963) and, as fine as the later reading is, the effect of that "longer breath" in 1957 is, I find, ineffably beautiful.

When it was published in 1963 Stern's new version was obviously going to be favored if only for sonic reasons (although, inexplicably, on this reissue there is a short passage at the end of the 2nd Concerto's finale, between 5:23 and 5:32, where the recording jarringly jumps to mono). But, as the CD transfers amply prove, the later version's sonic superiority had more to do with the earlier pressings and LP surfaces than with the recording itself: as remastered on the "Early Concerto Recordings" they sound stupendously good, with spacious sound and almost as many orchestral details coming out (not the important tuba theme in the 1st Concerto's scherzo, unfortunately, and I might have wished for more clarity in the tuba-trumpet dialogues after 4:26 in the finale).

The Great Performances reissue also has a rather stingy TT of 47:13, while the discs from the 3CD set average 65 minute each. I am happy to have both recordings in my collection, but if - God forbids! - I had to keep only one it would be the earlier recordings, for this unique "Andante assai" of the 2nd Concerto. And as I hope my review has made clear, this doesn't diminish the musical value of these versions with Ormandy.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Simply beautiful! 20 May 2003
By Charles Emmett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What I love about Prokofieff's concerti are their connection to the musicality of each one. What I mean by that is that the solo instrument is woven into the melodic event of the piece itself instead of the orchestra being an accompaniment. Stern and Ormandy have colaborated for many redordings and this one rates among their mesmerizing best.
What is it about the Russian composers that have this brooding and melancholy feel to their works? Prokofieff's towering symhonies and concerti are so emotionally strong and vibrant and telling but still the underlying melancholy and no more beautifully expressed than in these two concertos. The way Maestroes Stern and Ormandy weave their parts together is so wonderful. So soft and then so powerful.
If you want to hear Prolofieff at his most somber and telling buy this recording. As the other reviewer said,'lay back and let it sink' into your soul(that's my addition) because that is where Prokofieff leads you.
Wonderful recording
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite! 15 Oct 2002
By jim freeberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Prokofiev Violin Concertos No. 1 and No. 2 are two of the most ethereal and spiritual pieces I have ever heard. Issac Stern seems to understand the exquisitwe beauty of the pieces and does everything he can to convey this beauty without getting in the way. Stern and Ormandy do it the best possible way. Very respectfully. And exquisitely! Lay down, listen, and allow youself to be transported and swept away...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Old Friends are the Best Friends..." 9 Jan 2007
By Don M. Hulbert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't know if it's because this is the recording of the Prokofiev violin concerti that I "grew up" with, or that I heard Isaac Stern perform the First Concerto live, but I haven't heard a recording that captures this piece as well. Mr. Stern's playing is sweet when needed, acidic when called for and with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Ormandy brings both pieces to life gloriously.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stern at his best` 22 Mar 2007
By Gordon E. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Stern's playing of the second movement of no. 2 is so wonderful that he even outshines Heifetz's version. I never thought I'd ever say that because I'm a Heifetz "worshiper."

G. Miller
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