Russian Violin Concertos – Music of PROKOFIEV, GLAZUNOV AND KHACHATURIAN – Julia Fischer, v./ Russian National Orch./Yakov Kreizberg – Pentatone

Russian Violin Concertos – Music of PROKOFIEV, GLAZUNOV AND KHACHATURIAN – Julia Fischer, violin/ Russian National Orch./Yakov Kreizberg – Pentatone multichannel SACD (5.0) PTC 5186 591, 79:00 [Distr. by Naxos] (10/14/16) ****:

Three powerful violin concertos in this Pentatone reissue.

This lovely disc from Pentatone is a reissue of a 2004 recording with the same content. At the time  it was a debut performance by Ms. Fischer, beginning a long partnership with with conductor Yakov Kreizberg. The result was an extraordinary collection of releases by the duo, cut short in 2011 when Kreizberg passed away. This new re-release was recorded in Moscow with the Russian National Orchestra. The disc includes Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.82; The Khachaturian Violin Concerto in D minor and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 in D, Op.19.

None of these pieces are obscure by any means, but it’s fair to say that Ms. Fischer puts new life into them. Her interpretation is both dramatic, but not distracting or idiosyncratic. The Russian National Orchestra is clearly up to the task, with a vibrant and precise performance,

Audiowise, this multichannel SACD sounds just fine, with wide dynamic range, rock steady location of the instruments in the front speakers, and a hint of hall ambiance in the rears. The microphone positions sound about 1/3 of the way back in the virtual hall from the orchestra, which seems appropriate for this kind of music.

I’m not sure what motivated the release of this catalog item, except perhaps the ongoing and increasing fame of Ms. Fischer. Nevertheless this is a very worthwhile disc and if your taste runs to Russian music, you could not do better than these three concertos.

—Mel Martin

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