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Szymanowski: Violin Concertos 1 & 2; Britten: Violin Concerto CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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  • Szymanowski: Violin Concertos 1 & 2; Britten: Violin Concerto
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Manfred Honeck, Antoni Wit
  • Audio CD (6 July 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B001MRMSC8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,803 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. "Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35"
  2. "Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61"
  3. "Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 15"
  4. Vivace assai
  5. Tempo comodo
  6. Vivace scherzando
  7. Poco meno - Allegretto
  8. Vivace (Tempo I)
  9. Moderato - Molto tranquillo
  10. Andantino sostenuto
  11. "Allegramente, molto energico"
  12. "Andantino, molto tranquillo"
  13. Moderato con moto
  14. Vivace - Largamente
  15. Passacaglia

Product Description

Product Description

SONY 88697439992; SONY - Italia; Classica contemporanea Violino

BBC Review

Eastern exoticism, French impressionism and perfumed lyricism: Polish composer Karol Szymanowski in war-torn Europe in 1916 providing ecstasy without the agony in what he called “a new style and new type of expression for the violin”.

There’s a post-Wagnerian romantic weight, blended with Scriabin’s unbridled sensuality, and a Ravel-ian lushness and refinement of orchestration, and it takes special soloist to soar with the effortless virtuosity Szymanowski demands. Frank Peter Zimmerman is just that, as anyone who heard him at the 2006 Proms in the First Concerto with Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic will know. And while that orchestra’s luxurious sophistication can’t quite be matched by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Antoni Wit, this is an experienced set of Szymanowskians, and it shows in the assurance with which they handle the free-flowing tempos, and the Second Concerto’s more complex textures and Polish folk influences.

If I still have a slight preference for Thomas Zehetmair’s EMI recording with Rattle and the CBSO, for its special sense of freedom and assurance, you might be wondering why you should bother with this new one at all. Well, these are still some of the finest Szymanowski Concerto performances committed to disc, and if you don’t buy it you don’t get to hear Zimmermann in an imperious account of Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto. It’s from 1939, and tougher in its way than Szymanowski’s 2nd, which was written six years earlier; the opening timpani solo nods in the direction of two great violin concertos. Not just the start of the Beethoven, but also the bare open strings of Alban Berg, whose posthumous premiere Britten had heard in Barcelona in 1936.

Zimmermann’s sweetness of tone and intense, unselfish musicality pay dividends in Britten, and the orchestral score snaps into focus through the playing of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Manfred Honeck – just listen to their muscular grip on the scherzo second movement, before Britten’s cadenza propels us into one of the most unforgettable accounts of the final Passacaglia I’ve ever heard. Impeccably recorded, too – the Britten’s not just a generous coupling, it really is the icing on the cake. --Andrew McGregor

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
Frank Peter Zimmermann's move from EMI to Sony Classical has allowed listeners to follow his performances from afar. For those of us who do not live in the major musical capitals of Europe and the US, Zimmermann's ongoing but infrequent recordings are especially welcome.

I had the privilege of hearing Zimmermann perform the first Szymanowski concerto in Chicago with Boulez conducting in March 2009. I was totally unfamiliar with the concerto but was an avid fan of Zimmermann's recordings of all the standard violin repertoire from Baroque to early 20th century. As well, this was the first occasion that I was to experience hearing Zimmermann live. Thus, an exciting event on more than one level.

The performance of the Szymanowski was magically enchanting with an incredibly amazing sense of fantasy and improvisatory music-making. As is his trademark, Zimmermann performed with his supreme technical finesse and command that served to communicate an incredibly long thread of musical ideas and emotions. The chamber-music rapport between the soloist and Chicago Symphony was wonderful such that Zimmermann at times blended into the soundscape of the orchestra while at others rising above with either full singing lines or virtuosic pyrotechnics. And such elegance and beauty of sound also belied great wit and intelligence in his entire reading. The cadenza was an amazing spectacle of violin-playing that had the audience in complete silence and focus. And when Zimmermann concluded the concerto with the trill and harmonics, the audience immediately understood the wit and sparkle of this work and provided a rapturous applause.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a recording I will treasure. Here we have three fantastic violin concertos performed by one of the finest violinists of our time. Frank Peter Zimmerman isn't just a virtuosic performer, he is an incredible musician who is able to dig deep into the personality of each of these concertos. As well as the flawless technique, Zimmerman has a beguilingly sweet tone which I find irresistible in this repertoire (I wonder whether he uses gut strings...?). One could call the Szymanowski concerti 'perfumed' pieces (especially the 1st concerto, with its almost decadent impressionism), but Zimmerman shows us so much colour and imagination that it is hard not to be drawn in.

Personally I believe that his interpretation of Britten's Violin Concerto is magisterial. Like I said before, there is a sweetness to the sound and vibrato, which he maintains throughout the whole work, yet he varies his tone in order to really convey the multifarious nature of each movement. The harmonics and double/triple stopping is delivered with such assurance and clarity it is astonishing. I should also say that the orchestral contribution in all three concertos is first rate - I especially loved the colourful interjections in the Britten, brought out by a wonderfully detailed and atmospheric recorded sound.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Wonderful" is not a word that is enough to say how utterly fantastic this CD is. The Szymanowski has not been recorded better. I have known these two concertos for some time and heard them live and recorded. But, listening to this recording is like hearing a whole new dimension. The playing of Zimmermann is just perfect. However, the orchestra and conductor are just as good. And the recording engineers allow you to hear it all with a clarity that is rare in recordings. Conductor Anton Wit knows these pieces better than any other conductor and he is probably at the peak of his career now. If you do not know these concertos, they are late romantic masterpieces: the influences of Straiuss, Bartock and a pinch of Stravinsky create a unique sound world. To the modern listener, there is a lot to remind one of film soundtracks (Korngold). These recordings bring out the full depth of the music: I can recoomend them.

The Britten is not bad either. His concerto is better known and more often reocrded. I must ademit I| have preferred recrodings,
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By CSB on 1 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have another recording of the Szymanowski pieces by the same orchestra and conductor, but with a different solist - on the Naxos label. It is also very good, but it is the clarity of this recording and Zimmerman's playing that set this apart. Szymanoski's concertos are quite unailke, which makes them all the more interesting. With this recording so much more of the full orchestration is noticeable, which really adds to the enjoyment of the pieces. The second violin concerto is often considered the lesser of the two pieces, but again the very full sound that this recording delivers really made me listen.

The bonus is the Britten concerto, which is also excellent.
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I knew well this concerto; what I did not know was that it could be as brilliantly and sensitively played as Herr Zimmermann shows here. I never expect to hear a better performance. Thank you, Frank Peter.
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