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Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Solo Sonata Hybrid SACD, SACD

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Arabella Steinbacher made her international breakthrough in Paris in March 2004 with the Orchestre Philharmonique of Radio France, under conductor Sir Neville Marriner. She was given a tumultuous reception from the audience and the press wrote as follows: “A superior and fully mature performing artist, whose beauty of tone is overwhelming. ” Her career then took off rapidly, with ... Read more in Amazon's Arabella Steinbacher Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Solo Sonata + Bela Bartok: The Two Violin Concertos + Violin Concertos
Price For All Three: £43.18

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Product details

  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Composer: Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (15 Oct 2012)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: PentaTone
  • ASIN: B0085BFVUK
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,720 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19: I. Andantino: Andante assai10:28Album Only
Listen  2. Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19: II. Scherzo: Vivacissimo 4:02£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19: III. Moderato - Allegro moderato - Moderato - Piu tranquillo 9:18Album Only
Listen  4. Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63: I. Allegro moderato11:26Album Only
Listen  5. Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63: II. Andante assai10:10Album Only
Listen  6. Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63: III. Allegro, ben marcato 6:23£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: I. Moderato 5:15£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: II. Theme0:28£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: II. Variation 10:28£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: II. Variation 20:26£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: II. Variation 30:32£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: II. Variation 40:37£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: II. Variation 50:40£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Violin Sonata in D Major, Op. 115: III. Con brio - Allegro precipitato - Tempo I - Allegro precipitato 4:11£0.59  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description



If I were able to nominate my Artists of the Year Arabella Steinbacher and Vasily Petrenko would undoubtedly be my choices. Here they collaborate with the Russian National Orchestra... The Violin Concerto No. 1 is a relatively early work composed in 1916/17 and one of the last to be written before Prokofiev left Russia. Prokofiev chooses not to exploit the virtuosic qualities of the violin. Instead soloist and orchestra are more like equal partners. Nevertheless it is an excellent score and I would like to see it programmed far more often. At times it reminds me of the Walton concerto, a work the English composer wrote over twenty years later in 1938. I feel sure he must have known the Prokofiev. In the fascinating Andantino Steinbacher evokes an shiveringly icy Russian chill. I love the way that Munich-born Steinbacher accelerates through the movement s propulsive climax. The music of the sardonic Scherzo just flashes along. The Finale s mystery and introspection rises to an explosion of passionate lyricism. The shimmering violin line feels as if Steinbacher has dipped her Booth Stradivari (1716) in glistening liquid gold. She imparts proficiency, concentration and assurance of an intensity rarely encountered in this work. From 1935 the Violin Concerto No. 2 tends to be overshadowed by its predecessor. The writing is highly melodic and more overtly romantic than the earlier work. In the opening Allegro moderato one immediately notices the relatively lighter scoring. Steinbacher continues her marvellous form with some vivid and deliciously warm colours. The central Andante with its contrasting textures is gloriously lyrical. Rhythmic and somewhat satirical in character the violin is prominent against the spare instrumental scoring. Steinbacher, engaging and stylish as ever, is complemented by sensitive support from Petrenko. I found little difference in quality between these rewarding Steinbacher/Petrenko accounts of the Prokofiev concertos and the classic recording from soloist Kyung-Wha Chung and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under André Previn. Recorded in 1975 at the Kingsway Hall, London, Chung plays passionately displaying wonderful tone and control. The generous coupling is Chung s striking Stravinsky Violin Concerto. All on Decca 476 7226. The filler on this PentaTone release is the Sonata for Solo Violi. Originally the three movement Sonata from 1947 was intended for a group of student violinists playing in unison. Co-incidentally only last week I heard a rare performance of the Prokofiev score in its version for unison violins played by the violins of the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. The Sonata was written at an extremely difficult time and was the target for much damaging criticism by the Soviet authorities. I certainly prefer the solo violin version of the sonata compared to the original scoring for unison violins especially with playing as enjoyable as that accomplished by Steinbacher. Yearning melody and brash virtuosity interlace the opening Moderato. Used as the basis for the five variations the theme is simple and rustic in character. Steinbacher makes light work of it. There's excellent sound quality throughout this hybrid multichannel SACD. PentaTone engineers lay on vividly clear and well balanced sonics. The booklet notes are informative and readable. --Michael Cookson - MusicWeb International

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Hodgson on 7 Feb 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sieinbacker's Prrokovief concertos is quite wonderful and the sonata is a delight. I particualrly like the sound she makes and the orchestral playing is of a high order.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Bravo and Bravissimo! 21 Oct 2012
By Arnaldo - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This could be a one word review, with a simple "Bravo!" Or maybe a little longer, with a "Bravissimo!" as reinforcement. But site guidelines prevent me from being so brief, so the expand on my point, I'll start by saying that Arabella Steinbacher's is the most idiomatic performance I have ever heard of Prokofiev's violin concertos, possibly two of his most brilliant compositions. Now, trying to dissect what makes the performance so memorable, the first thing that comes to mind is the full-bodied tone she extracts from her Stradivarius. Beyond that, there's a unique Russian character at play, achieved in part by attention to subtle accents and phrase shaping, both in the violin line as well as in the orchestral accompaniment by Vasily Petrenko conducting the Russian National Orchestra. Frankly, of all the versions I've heard, none has in my opinion been able to convey so much expression in every bar, or rather, in every note.

Comparisons are inevitable, but no matter how virtuosic others may be, they now feel too linear, prisoners of a stodgy school of pseudo Russian playing, and as such, lacking Prokofiev's inert explosive temperament. Perfect examples of this trend can be spotted in our niche SACD universe, with Julia Fisher in Russian Violin Concertos [Hybrid SACD] and Joseph Swensen in Prokofiev Violin Concerto. At first, Julia Fischer may sound more fluid in the first concerto, although that is more a result of faster tempos, as confirmed by her timings, specially in the second and third movements. Still, nimble fingers et al, she also sounds less intense, borderline superficial, as if just zapping through all those difficult patterns. Steinbacher opts instead to take her time, but just enough to bring out the unique mix of power and lyricism sometimes hidden in Prokofiev's dense writing. As for Joseph Swensen, his second concerto is indeed a pleasant outing, like a placid walk in the woods, while Steinbacher's is more like jumping into an erupting volcano. As a disclaimer though, I'll openly admit that both versions used to feel very satisfying to me, that is, until Steinbacher came along to spoil their party.

Being so impressed with the musicianship, one tends to neglect the supporting cast. In this case, suffice to say that the recording by the Polyhymia team for the PentaTone label is on par with the performance. There's a vibrancy to the stereo picture, with perfect integration between soloist and orchestra. And even in the loud tutti passages, one can still clearly discern all parts in Prokofiev's rich orchestration. I guess I should mention as well the third piece in the disc, the Sonata for Violin Solo, which compelling as it may be as a display of technical prowess, sounds too raw in contrast to the rich orchestral environment of the concertos. Regardless, this disc manages to surpass even her previous efforts in Bartok: Violin Concerto No. 2; Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. Posth., and on the same vein, I'd love to hear what Steinbacher could do with the Stravinsky and Shostakovich violin concertos.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Stunning is over used - but this really is STUNNING ! It is unique! 7 Nov 2012
By Bruce Zeisel - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Totally free of congestion, extremely detailed, the sound is startlingly realistic. The sound quality alone should make you buy the disc. But more compelling still:

The performance captured so wonderfully here is just steeped in beauty of tone. The soloist and each member of the orchestra play like angels. They are of one mind, of one conception. Heard on the appropriate equipment, this disc will leave everyone who truly appreciates beautiful orchestral and violin sound sitting open mouthed in wonder.

That is how it affected me. That is how it has affected every one of my friends who have come to audition it.
But there is more:

Steinbacher employs several kinds of vibrato during these performances according to the needs of the music. At each turning point the character of her (violin's) voice changes accordingly.

During Arabella Steinbacher's possession of the Booth Strad, she has learned not only to draw from it the loveliest of whispered pianissimos with full bodied tone, She has discovered and fully exploits its exceptional resonance to create memorably powerful expressions in the climaxes.

Still all this is only icing on the cake! Steinbacher's is the most compellingly idiomatic performance of the first concerto I ever heard. Where others take a self absorbed approach to the work and show off their fast and fancy finger work, Steinbacher takes the time to actually phrase certain runs of notes, notes that typically pass us by in relatively empty displays of virtuosity, these she transforms into melodic fragments that sum to a wonderful whole.

It seems that unlike every other performer of these works I have heard in 58 years of concert-going and record collecting, this artist has actually made the effort to study Prokofiev, not just get it under her fingers, but she apparently actually bothered to consider how alternative pacing and phrasing might create the finest possible realization of each work.

The second concerto is played with all the delicacy and where needed, panache of the first concerto. Both performances set a new standard for me - not only for perfection of the violin concerti of Prokofiev but as the most perfect interpretation and execution of any violin concerto I have had privilege to hear.

There is a third work on this disc: Sonata for Violin Solo Op. 115. It was intended for an ensemble of violins playing in unison. But it is not easy and is rarely played that way. Joseph Szigeti and Ruggerio Ricci included it in their repertoire. There are three movements: Moderato, Theme and Variations (5 variations) and Con brio - Allegro precipitato. The work is approximately 12-13 minutes long. Steinbacher assertively digs in to the opening declamatory passages. She knows when to give a little extra time to a note letting the music breathe. She plays the melodic theme and variations (2nd mvt) with lovely delicacy but she does not hesitate to jolt the listener with a series of powerful declamations where Prokofiev's writing indicates that it is time leave the reverie, leave the dream and face startling reality. I did not take to this work on first hearing but on second hearing I noticed I was reacting with a degree of eager anticipation as the work proceeded. I have a suspicion that this solo violin sonata may become one of my favorites of the repertoire.

This entire disc leaves an overall impression of "uniquely beautiful". I never previously attributed that quality to Prokofiev's violin concerti. These performances, for that reason, are unique. Couple that to the state of the art sound and this is my candidate for Recording of the Year! This is especially true of the "surround" layer of the hybrid SACD which convincingly places the listener about 12 rows from the stage of an excellent concert hall. But even if you only listen to the CD layer, this is a disc not to be missed. Probably the best recording of 2012.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Stunning! 6 Oct 2012
By Edmund D. COHEN - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It has been a long time since a new classical music recording has seemed exciting to me. Even after the fairly long anticipation of its arrival, this one does!

As with Brahms: Complete Works for Violin & Piano, Opp. 78,100,108; WoO2, Ms. Steinbacher has prepared an entire category of a composer's output, not just one work. The hallmark of these most recent recordings is the extraordinary, fully concentrated purity of interptetation, as free of mannerism as it ever gets. Lofty descriptions like "quintessential" and "definitive" suggest themselves.

When Ms. Steinbacher performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto a few months ago, I commented to the people with me, that it was as if she had just come from reading a long Beethoven biography. I suspect that there is much academic and biographical background informing these performances.

I used to say that a time would come when I could hear a recording blind, and tell whether or not it is Ms. Steinbacher. I suppose I thought that she would accumulate her vocabulary of style licks giving her playing a recognizeable signature, like practically all of the Twentieth Century violin masters did. Now I see that her impeccable freedom from mannerism is what will set her playing apart. There's a delightful paradox there.

Since many of the best recent renditions of German works are from Chinese players, it should come as no surprise that the most authentic rendition of these Twentieth Century Russian works should come from a Twenty-first Century German-Japanese player. The combining of a young Russian expatriate conductor and a post-Soviet Russian orchestra new to one-another, apparently hand-picked for this project, has enhanced this recording's vitality.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
**** 1/2 Romanticized Prokofiev in gorgeous sound 8 Oct 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
A former student of Mutter's, Arabella Steinbacher, now thirty, has established a high-profile career and is fortunate to be backed by PentaTone, which is generous about recording their young exclusive artists. The label also has close ties with the Russian National Orchestra, which accounts for the unusual step of a German violinist recording Prokofiev on native ground. To tell the truth, since the days of David Oistrakh the two Prokofiev violin concertos have had nothing but a string of good recordings, so the main attraction for me was Vasily Petrenko, the gifted Russian conductor who has gone form strength to strength ever since his appointment with the Royal Liverpool Phil. in 2007. Petrenko has focused his CD career on Rachmaninov and Shostakovich; I was fascinated to see what he would do with Prokofiev.

As it turns out, he has distinctive ideas. The first movement of Cto. no. 1 is taken unusually slowly (accentuating the "assai" in Andante assai), and Petrenko takes advantage of the miking, which is so close that it x-rays every tiny detail in Prokofiev's orchestration. At the same time, the mikes are right under Steinbacher's chin, amplifying the impression of ultra-detail. If you want to concentrate on the conducting, this is a great opportunity, because here and elsewhere Petrenko forges ahead as if this were purely orchestral music - no second place for him. I felt that the violinist was willing to give up prominence, and Steinbacher's interpretation isn't charismatic or particularly Russian; it's detailed and musical, which of course are virtues in themselves. Just don't expect the kind of dominance one gets from, say, Oistrakh or Lydia Mordkovitch (the latter is strikingly aggressive and edge-of-your-seat).

Staying with Cto. no. 1, the strategy remains the same in the Scherzo and finale, with fascinating detail in the orchestra, measured tempi, and clear, assured playing form Steinbacher. As pure sound, this CD is irresistible.

In Cto. no. 2, following the same template, Petrenko creates a mysterious All Soul's Eve mood in the first movement as it tiptoes through the graveyard. Accents tend to be softened and rounded compared with Salonen and Cho-Liang Lin on Sony. The lyrical second theme is quite calm and dream-like. Petrenko romanticizes both works enough that they seem close to Rachmaninov. the second movement is also tip-toe music for the orchestra as the soloist sings by herself, and one marvels at how beautifully balanced it is in Petrenko's hands. the double stops that open the finale can be real slash-and-burn, but Steinbacher smooths them out. As in the other movements, I get the impression here of highly imaginative orchestral work yoked to a soloist who is a mite careful and correct. That's my only reservation about a CD that is otherwise totally griping.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The best album that Arabella Steinbacher ever released 8 Nov 2012
By K. MIURA - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Sergei Prokofiev
The 2 Violin Concertos
Sonata for Violin Solo in D major, Op.115
Arabella Steinbacher, violin
Russian National Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Violin Concert No. 1 in D major Op. 19
1 Andantino 10. 22
2 Scherzo - Vivacissimo 3. 59
3 Moderato-Allegro moderato-Più tranquillo 9. 09

Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op. 63
4 Allegro moderato 11. 20
5 Andante assai-Allegretto-Andante assai 10. 06
6 Allegro, ben marcato 6. 12

Sonata for Violin Solo in D major Op. 115
7 Moderato 5. 15
8 Theme - Andante dolce 0. 28
9 Variation 1 0. 28
10 Variation 2 - Scherzando 0. 26
11 Variation 3 - Andante 0. 32
12 Variation 4 0. 37
13 Variation 5 0. 41
14 Con brio-Allegro precipitato 4. 07
Total playing time: 64.27

In the beginning of Concert No. 1 in D major Op. 19, a long theme is played by Steinbacher with the orchestral accompaniment contrapuntally, then the orchestra plays the theme and the soloist plays a beautiful melody with it. It's beautiful. I like it and her every sharp bow.
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