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3.0 out of 5 stars underwhelming, 15 Jan 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brahms: Violin Concertos (Audio CD)
I expected more from this Mullova/Abbado collaboration, but it ended up being a bit disappointing both as sound and as performance. Sound first: the orchestra is pushed back a bit in the aural picture, and an effect of that is that its interactions with the soloist -- combative in the first movement, conversational in the second -- don't come across. The studio recordings of Kennedy/Tennstedt and Salerno-Sonnenberg/De Waart are better in this regard, as is the live Barenboim/Vengerov. Add to that the fact that the higher winds come across a bit edgily in the recording, and the tenderness of the second movement's opening is undermined. But Mullova's playing undermines it too -- the tone is fine, but the phrasing is matter-of-fact, and there just isn't much magic. In the outer movements, there is quite a bit of iterative passage work, which to my ears Mullova did very little to vary or create some tension that pushed the listener's attention forward. I can't fault the overall pacing, and Mullova clearly has all the technique in the world, but on this evening in Tokyo in 1992, things just didn't come to the boil.
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