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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 7 January 2015
Nestled amongst the five star raves there are some strange and sour reactions to this live recording, which I find baffling. On one hand, I can understand objections to DG's patrician attitude to its clientele that assumes it will stump up for a mere 37 minutes of music in a format able to hold eighty, but for a performance as good as this and now available for virtually nothing plus P & P these days, that complaint has become irrelevant. Secondly, there is the phenomenon whereby listeners hear what they hope or expect to find: that in the year before his death, old and in pain, Karajan is a doddery old shadow of his former self. Apart from the fact that there are several phenomenal recordings from this last period in his life which give the lie to that assertion, your own ears will refute that and a comparison of timings will nix the moan that he is slow. It is true, however, that contrary to the constant accusations that Karajan was just a bloated musical ego on stilts, he very much plays second fiddle (excuse the whimsy) to his starry soloist, in no sense treating the concerto as a duel and judging his entrances and orchestral balances to a nicety in order to frame her prowess.

Mutter herself is extraordinary, in her freest, most expansive and almost reckless mode; what I find most rewarding about her playing is her willingness to adopt a myriad different voices and the infinite variety of her dynamics in her phrasing: sometimes, as in the opening to the Canzonetta, she adopts a husky, vibrato-free whisper of a sound to mimic the keening of a mother in mourning, then she will razz it up to produce a brilliant, rasping, hard-edged tone only then to coddle our ears in honeyed warmth a minute later - what an artist. I take her technical skills for granted but her double-stopping is a miracle and her intonation flawless, from the stratospheric top down to the cello-tones of her instrument. She turns this concerto into a real dialogue between the violin as Voice and the orchestra as interlocutor.

The audience certainly seemed to know what they were getting, even if some subsequent reviewers do not. I love Heifetz's entirely different style as much as the next man but there must surely be room for a recording like this one, too.
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on 23 October 2011
Sorry but I don't buy a 2 star review for this recording. I'm not a professional musician, so I'm not judging it by anything other than how it makes me feel, but this is BRILLIANT and I think a 2 star review is just desperately picky and way too stingy. For me, it touches perfection on so many points and the final three pieces on the CD are truly sublime. He was a genius - and so is she. Her touch is sure and steady throughout and she works the orchestra with superlative skill to produce a breathtaking result. It's a 5 star performance in anybody's book. Buy it and I am thoroughly certain that you will love and treasure it too.
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on 12 August 2015
Once again this was a very successful CD.I felt that both the performance and recording were of a very high standard and would strongly recomend this recording to anyone looking for a superlative modern account of this concerto. The fill ups were also excellent and it is good to be able to choose a main work without duplicating another violin concerto already owned.
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on 17 February 2015
I can say there is a great emotional depth and tecnique by Julia Fischer , I have listened to Leonid Kogan Recordings and to my ear Julia compares favourabley. In a sense she has a restraint and style from her studies in the West. As a violinist she can be perfection in the continuity of the greatest of soloists. PFG
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on 18 January 2016
I really enjoy Julia Fischer's playing here. An excellent cd with good service from the supplier
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on 6 January 2014
Bought it together with the Sarah Chang and Ray Chen interpretations of the work and have to say that Julia Fischer has the greater goosebump-factor of those three - and much more than many other renditions I have listened to. Well worth it's price.
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This very well recorded disc from 2006 contains one of the finest versions of the concertos plus an unusual selection of other works by Tchaikovsky featuring the violin as soloist. This will make this disc quite distinct from those many alternatives that feature another unrelated concerto for example.

Julia Fischer, since recording this disc, has continued to build her reputation as one of the finest of current young soloists, She has an impressive technical command of the instrument plus the ability to have something to say about the music she is playing. Fortunately she is able to create that feeling of communication within a recording studio environment as here. Not all soloists who are outstanding on stage in front of an audience are able to communicate and create that 'live' feeling within a recording studio so Julia Fischer has a relatively rare talent in that respect.

She plays the concerto in its full uncut version. Older recordings frequently made a number of cuts in the last movement especially. The performance has a clear forward pulse and that creates its own excitement. The orchestral support is excellent and climaxes are unerringly met. The slow movement has a nice lyrical flow and the final movement is not over-driven and still has a sense of dance about it. This is one of the best performances currently available.

The Valse-Scherzo was a pre-runner to the concerto and maybe here the composer was trying out ideas for writing with a solo violin in mind. The Meditation which opens the three Souvenirs was apparently considered as the concerto's original slow movement before being replaced by the Canzonetta. The Serenade is pleasant enough but not a major work. These fill-ups therefore have some interest but do not have the same quality of inspiration to offer as a renowned concerto to match the Tchaikovsky. This fill-up situation will be contentious for many purchasers and there is a case for considering this as a doubtful commercial decision in such a competitive market.

In conclusion I would suggest that the concerto deserves to be considered along with the very best but I would also suggest that the choice of couplings, while being imaginative and different, may be less of a commercial or musical attraction for collectors, and especially for those looking for an 'only' version.
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on 22 April 2001
Someone once said that a concerto is a battle of control between the orchestra and the soloist. Many conertos are indeed thought as precisely a battle, whereas others form a more tightly welded unit. To me, the best recordings of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto belongs to the latter type. In this recording, there is no doubt to who is in control. It is Anne-Sophie Mutter, the soloist. The orchestra merely accompanies her. When that is said, the orchestra does a wonderful job, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. More so, as it is a live recording. von Karajan tended to be a perfectionist when recording in a studio. He let his feelings flow more freely in concerts, which is clearly heard here, though one wishes that he would let more go. As it is, the orchestral playing seems deliberately downplayed to give even more room for Mutter. This holding back subtracts much of the drama of the first movement. When all those things are said, the soloist must receive the acclaim she deserves. Mutter is a marvelous violinist, who especially in the slow middle movement plays with romantic verve and feeling. Remembering other collaborations between von Karajan and Mutter, it is somewhat disappointing to experience the balance tipping so much towards Mutter on this recording. Still, it is worth listening to for the soloist and the orcestral playing, though not for the interplay between those two.
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on 11 August 2008
Stunning and exquisite are the very words that come to mind whenever I think of the young German violinist Julia Fischer's superlative playing (Indeed, I consider myself most fortunate to have heard her perform live finally last season here in New York City with the New York Philharmonic, agreeing with others that the ample hype she's earned is ample praise for her sterling musicianship.). Now in her mid twenties, Julia Fischer embodies tremendous technical brilliance and ample lyricism in her playing. Nowhere is this more evident in her critically-acclaimed recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, in which she dazzles with musical pyrotechnics, especially in the first and final movements, and yet, not once does she forsake any empathy for Tchaikovsky's score, offering a truly moving interpretation. Stylistically, her style of playing reminds me most of a young Anne-Sophie Mutter's, but coupled too with an ample abundance of warmth, so that her style also resembles that of Joshua Bell's in its emotional intensity. Under the baton of noted Russian-American conductor Yakov Kreizberg, the Russian National Orchestra plays with ample precision, without losing its Slavic soul, as though it was the Russian equivalent of the Wiener Philharmoniker. There's refined playing from the orchestra throughout the concerto, especially from the winds and strings, at a pace that isn't leisurely at all. As well as the concerto, the Russian National Orchestra offers more of its superlative playing in the rarely heard Serenade melancolique for violin and orchestra and Valse-scherzo pieces. Conductor Yakov Kreizberg proves to be a sympathetic, sensitive accompanist too as the pianist in the Souvenir d'un lieu cher for violin and piano. This PentaTone recording truly deserved being singled out by premier classical music magazine Grammophone as an Editor's Choice recording, and not just for Fischer's magnificent performances; the sound quality is absolutely stellar too. While I still hold in high regard the recent recordings made by Vengerov and Bell of this concerto, Fischer's recording may be regarded by most as perhaps the best that is available currently.
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on 3 August 2009
This is an outstanding rendition of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, both from an artistic and a recording point of view. Swiss Radio has a program, in which 5 or 6 recordings of a work are reviewed by two experts, who are not told who's playing, until the end. This recording was voted top, just shading Anne-Sophie Mutter's justly-praised recording with the VPO. Julia Fischer is showing the same astonishing maturity that Mutter showed when Karajan discovered and promoted her. Highly recommended.
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