TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35; Meditation, Op. 42, No. 1; Danse russe from Swan Lake, Act III – Joshua Bell, violin/ Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/ Michael Tilson-Thomas – Sony Classical

by | Nov 3, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35; Meditation,
Op. 42, No. 1; Danse russe from Swan Lake, Act III – Joshua Bell,
violin/ Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/ Michael Tilson-Thomas – Sony
Classical Multichannel SACD SH 94832   51:26 *** 1/2:

Joshua Bell and Michael Tilson-Thomas collaborate (January 27-31, 2005)
for a kinder, gentler Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in live performance,
with Bell’s exquisitely lingering at the ruminative and lyrical
passages with a heart-on-the-sleeve sincerity in the Mischa Elman
tradition. Eschewing the usual editorial cuts in the last movement,
Bell takes all the repeats in order to preserve Tchaikovsky’s harmonic
structure. The liner pictures include one of Bell and flute virtuoso
Emmanuel Pahud in conference at the recording session, so we must
assume his principal supplies the lovely interweavings for the
Canzonetta.

The Meditation, albeit orchestrated by Glazounov, was Tchaikovsky’s
original intention for the Concerto’s second movement, now the first
section of a suite called Souvenir of a Beloved Place. Why Bell and
Tilson-Thomas could not accommodate the entire Op. 42 onto this disc
baffles me. Instead, they opt for a peppy Russian Dance from the ballet
Swan Lake, where too Tchaikovsky supplied at least one brilliant duo
with viola that might have found its way to the Bell discography. 
Bell’s tonal and dynamic control, admittedly, is superb; he may pack
the most disciplined diminuendo and rallentando of any active fiddler.
Tilson-Thomas and the Berlin Philharmonic keep the music lively but
restrained, appropriate to the singing style of this rendition. But I
remember how, during the LP era, I hated to shell out top dollar for a
total of twenty-five or thirty minutes of Heifetz. With a format that
permits another 30 minutes of music, I would think Bell and Sony could
have produced more Tchaikovsky.

–Gary Lemco

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