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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Sibelius: Passionate commitment, bleak fire without warmth
Kyung-Wha Chung's artistry stands at the cusp of the middle and end of the 20th century. She produces a magnificent sound, plays with fantastic accuracy, and produces the modern expected perfection of tone and interpretation, yet also conveys admirable personal character in her playing. In her outstanding rendition of Sibelius, she captures that unique Sibelian magic of...
Published on 19 Nov 2007 by Passionate

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sibelius and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos
I must say at the outset that I have the original CD not the remastered version and this may make a difference to the recorded sound.
I knew both the works on this CD from my LP versions and bought it because of the reputation of the performers - Kyung Wha Chung with the London Symphony Orchestra under Andre Previn. I have no quarrel on that account but I was...
Published 22 months ago by Dr. H. A. Jones


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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Sibelius: Passionate commitment, bleak fire without warmth, 19 Nov 2007
Kyung-Wha Chung's artistry stands at the cusp of the middle and end of the 20th century. She produces a magnificent sound, plays with fantastic accuracy, and produces the modern expected perfection of tone and interpretation, yet also conveys admirable personal character in her playing. In her outstanding rendition of Sibelius, she captures that unique Sibelian magic of "Fire without warmth", the "Frozen passion", which pervades so much of his music. The Adagio di molto moves me to tears even now, and I first heard her performance when it was released on vinyl around the time I was doing my O-Level Music. I have many recordings of this piece, but Chung (and of course Heifetz) are my champions. The Tchaikovsky is simply brilliant, unbridled passion and commitment. Previn and Chung have a special magic together on this excellent remastering of a top drawer analogue recording. Buy this and enjoy a sensational must-have recording.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE classic recording, 8 May 2009
I bought this recording on vinyl when it was first released in 1970 and it has been in my collection without a break ever since then in various formats. This newly remastered mid-price reissue of a classic recording is very welcome.

At the time of laying down these two readings Chung was a precocious 22 years old, who had just secured her first Stradivarius. Previn was also full of youthful vigour and only recently appointed the LSO's Chief Conductor

I cannot think of a single decision, tempo, dynamic, phrasing, with which I disagree in either of these two concertos. This reading of the Tchaikovsky remains for me the standard by which I judge all other recordings. It is beautifully worked between the soloist and orchestra with tempi as close to perfect as makes no difference. The closing allegro vivacissimo is performed with amazing elan, and Chung's touch, even in the difficult pizzicati and spiccati is wonderfully sure-footed without ever tipping over into the breathless.

The measured Sibelius performance is a remarkable contrast to the incandescence of the Tchaikovsky. It dates from a quarter of a century after its companion on this recording (1903 against 1878) and comes from a country that had then (and still has) a noticeable aversion to its Russian neighbour. Chung and Previn imbue this with what I can only describe as an Arctic glitter compared to their blazing reading of the Tchaikovsky. Again, the tempi and phrasing are close to perfection.

Put them together, the fire of the Tchaikovsky and the ice of the Sibelius and we have a gem of a combined performance that even after nearly 40 years still has the power to keep me riveted.

This is a staggering recording, the standard by which I judge all other performances of these two works. A relatively infrequent coupling (the Tchaikovsky is more often coupled with the Mendelssohn concerto in E minor), but a welcome contrast between two remarkable works.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "That sunny dome, those caves of ice!", 24 Oct 2011
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This is, as other reviewers have noted, a gorgeous pairing, the Tchaikovsky gloriously swooping, gleeful and brilliant, the Sibelius full of sombre grandeur, a painting of a majestic landscape, indifferent to petty human concerns. It's a match of Spring and Autumn. Kyung-Wha Chung's playful, ecstatic violin line in the Tchaikovsky is full of exuberance, leading the orchestra to follow her high spirits, dancing across the musical landscape.

The mood darkens with the Sibelius, and from the swoops, soars, turns and balletic virtuoso leaps and glides in the Russian piece, we move to an intensely lyrical sustained series of smooth phrases, a cold, clean, austere world full of soul and introspective depths, still reflections in dark water, cracking ice. It's a piece which musically echoes Wordsworth:

"For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue."

It is a tone-poem to the land, and Kyung-Wha Chung plays this with poise and a real spaciousness, those sustained legato lines rolling out to a limitless horizon
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A benchmark performance for many and remembered with affection, 12 Dec 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This recording from 1970 propelled the 22 year old Kyung Wha Chung onto the world stage where she remained for many years during which she recorded many well-respected performances of the repertoire. On this recording she was partnered by the young Andre Previn who was also much liked as a personality at that time and who went on to create a very popular series of TV programs with the LSO.

For those who have lived with various issues of these recordings, from the original LPs through to this latest 24 bit remastering, all that really needs to be said is that this latest version is the best yet providing extra depth of sound-stage, clarity of detail and a generally enhanced sense of reality. Bearing in mind the quality of the performance judged over many years and the enhanced recording, I would suggest that it is worth the additional outlay of an upgrade for those who already own an earlier edition.

The following comments are of more importance to those coming to this remarkable pair of performances for the first time and are interested to know what all the fuss is about.

As a result of all the exposure mentioned in paragraph one, vast numbers of the public bought this issue and got to know the music through this recording. Once an interpretation has taken hold, especially at an impressionable age, it is like to become a reference point. Nevertheless this recording also attracted very favourable reviews across the board from critics including those writing for the respected Gramophone magazine. We must assume that these experienced listeners were able to make reasonably reliable judgements and as such they admired this performance and recording even in the light of violinists such as Heifetz, also well-known for this particular repertoire.

Since 1970 there have been many other fine violinists, fine performances and fine recordings of both works and it would be doubtful to suggest that any one has the complete monopoly of interpretive or performance supremacy. This recording has always enjoyed universal critical approval since its first appearance. Chung delivers a performance of such great accuracy and increasing momentum that any desire for her performance to differ in any major way has never applied. The conclusions of both concertos are very exciting and leaves a satisfied listener marvelling.

It might be worth mentioning that the last movement of the Tchaikovsky has the repetitive phrases cut as was normal in those days. Her remake reinstated the missing bars but this earlier performance has a sense of spontaneity that is very special and the slow movement is just like a continuous song unfolding before our ears. However, inevitably there are other recordings that are valued as well such as Mullover and Bell plus numerous others of older vintage such as the excellently remastered Heifetz version.

In summary I would suggest that this disc, thought by many to be near definitive, must be considered seriously by any purchaser intent on purchasing one or several recordings of these two masterpieces.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one to have, 11 Aug 2012
By 
Mr. Christopher Harris "Chris in Brum" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This has always been my favourite version by my favourite violinist. The playing is technically brilliant and has all the sparkle of youth. Previn was in his glory days as a conductor too and the LSO are on good form. Nice recording as well, what's not to like?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sibelius and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos, 27 Aug 2012
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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I must say at the outset that I have the original CD not the remastered version and this may make a difference to the recorded sound.
I knew both the works on this CD from my LP versions and bought it because of the reputation of the performers - Kyung Wha Chung with the London Symphony Orchestra under Andre Previn. I have no quarrel on that account but I was disappointed with the Sibelius. Very unusually for Decca, the microphones seem to have been strangely placed because the soloist fades in and out as she moves and plays and the balance with the orchestra is wrong. If soloist or conductor listened to this performance I am surprised they passed it, though the quality of the playing is up to the standard we would expect.
My original assessment was based on the poor quality of the Sibelius recording but I have added another star in the rating because the Tchaikovsky is great!
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