BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61; MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Nikolaj Znaider, violin/ Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/ Zubin Mehta – RCA

by | Nov 2, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61; MENDELSSOHN:
Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Nikolaj Znaider, violin/ Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra/ Zubin Mehta – RCA 82876-69216-2,  72:20
***:

Another familiar, dare we say tedious, coupling of violin concerto
staples, here with the Danish virtuoso Nikolaj Znaider, who plays a
1704 Stradivarius lent him by The Royal Danish Theater. Recorded 17-22,
July, 2005, the performances are certainly fresh, and Znaider has a
lyric sensitivity and heady passion worth our attention. As far as I
can recall, these concertos are new to conductor Zubin Mehta’s
discography, so collectors may have an impetus to purchase what Znaider
calls in his insert interview “two iconic works” of the
repertory. 

Admittedly, the Andante of the Mendelssohn sings affectingly, and Mehta
does all he can to surround Znaider with lush harmonies and exalted
instrumental lines. The Beethoven is eminently a sweet rendition, as
though Znaider were consciously trying to imitate the Fritz Kreisler
ethos. I find Mehta’s contribution singularly lacking in drama and
tension, however, despite the pearly articulation from the Israel
Philharmonic.  If I want the purely Apollinian touch, I have the
Oistrakh/Cluytens version on EMI.  Znaider does rather resemble
actor Ben Cross, so maybe Znaider is the real icon RCA is pushing here.

–Gary Lemco

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