Johannes Brahms: Violin and Double Concerto Hybrid SACD
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Julia Fischer was named as the Gramophone Magazine's Artist of the Year, in their awards for 2007. This disc was EDITORS CHOICE - August 2007 --Gramophone
DISC OF THE MONTH - July 2007 --BBC Music Magazine
CD OF THE WEEK: The Times The Daily Telegraph The Sunday Times and also The Simon Bates Show CD Of The Week - Classic FM Radio --Telegraph, Classic FM
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Julia Fischer has built a fine reputation for herself over the last few years. Many of her recordings have been on Pentatone and have partnered her with the conductor Yakov Kreizberg with whom she obviously feels a musical rapport.
Her performance of the Brahms violin concerto is immaculate technically and deeply satisfying musically. There have been far too many fine recordings made by the world's best violinists over the last fifty years for any one of them to be considered the 'best.' My own personal short-list would include Heifetz and Oistrakh who are both very different to Julia Fischer. A nearer alternative would be that by Gil Shaham who has made a stunning recording which easily leads the current field on DVD/Bluray. This comes as part of a 2002 concert with Abbado and the BPO in Palermo including one of the finest Dvorak 9th symphonies on disc plus overtures by Beethoven and Verdi. This is very much Abbado on home ground in Italy and is a remarkably fine concert in total.
The current performance of the Double concerto likewise comes into a very crowded field. This particular performance illustrates a mutually pleasurable experience for the two soloists who provide a warm and fairly small scale type of performance, almost chamber-like in its feel. Once again there are many alternatives from the last fifty years, one of the best being that by Oistrakh and Fournier, an altogether more vibrant occasion. Once again there is a particularly fine alternative on DVD. This time it is part of a BPO concert with Rattle in Berlin. The soloists are Lisa Batiashvili and Truls Mork who are altogether more dynamic with an obvious empathy between them. Rattle is on top form with the rest of the concert too which includes a superb Brahms 4th symphony and the Parsifal Prelude by Wagner, all in excellent surround sound.
I would suggest that this disc is very fine and will give considerable satisfaction to supporters of Julia Fischer especially. It is one of the best recent recordings but it would be erroneous to suggest that it dominates the catalogue - none do! In this case the modern market of audio visual alternatives offers the strongest imaginable competition, especially for those interested in surround sound.
Fischer gives another winning solo concerto performance to put alongside the great Tchaikovsky CD. The Double Concerto also impresses, lacking only the fire brought to it by other duos (Rostropovich / Oistrakh most notably).
For an up to date Brahms album, you could hardly do better.
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