5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Romances, Fragment Concerto (Audio CD)
This performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto uses period instruments. The tempi are somewhat faster, but not excessively so in my opinion, than many recorded performances. If this has put you off, then don't bother reading any more, as I suspect this recording is unlikely to be your cup of tea.
If however you are still with me, then you need to know two more things. I found the performance as a whole is a real revelation - it has a much lighter touch (think Norrington or Gardener in comparison with Klemperer) than many. If this appeals then I suspect you will enjoy most of the performance.
The cadenzas used are not the Kreisler ones we are used to, but ones that the soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja has adapted from Beethoven's cadenzas he wrote for the arrangement for piano and orchestra. They really take a bit of getting used to. Initially I found it hard to accept them, but they are starting to grow on me. However I suspect that some may find they take the edge off what otherwise is a very wonderful performance of the concerto.
The soloist has something to say with each and every note (something that cannot be said about any other performance I've heard). Some will, I suspect, think of her as someone out to make a point by being different. She is certainly NOT a Moldavian Nigel Kennedy. It is all done with great taste. If it were not for the cadenzas I would have no hesitation in enthusiastically praising the performance which certainly grips my attention far more than any other in my collection (Kreisler x 2, Menuhin, and Perlman). I keep playing it at every opportunity.
The violin is recorded very slightly forward of the orchestra, and overall the violin and orchestra are in a bright acoustic, making them sound bigger than perhaps they really are. This works for me with small forces, but some may find the acoustic just a shade too bright. There is some 'heavy breathing' from soloist or conductor audible in several places - but no more than you might hear in a live performance.
The two romances follow in similar style, and can be recommended. The fragment is also worth hearing and enjoyable - but is not complete and not 'prime' Beethoven in my view - I personally wouldn't buy the CD for this alone.
I would recommend hearing before purchase.
5 stars for everything apart from the cadenzas which are growing on me the more I hear them.