mikeymad Posted March 24 Report Share Posted March 24 Some results. I have made a complete pass using my Marantz model 40n -> Stax SRD-7 -> Stax SR-007 setup. It has been fascinating. I have grown to appreciate the work. It didn’t get tiring even after 40+ listenings. I found that I really appreciate a good recording/mastering, but the performance has to rule them all. Here are my thoughts on my preferences in ascending order. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 & Violin Sonata No. 1 Neeme Järvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Lydia Mordkovitch, Gerhard Oppitz 2009 https://album.link/i/1656559337 – The performance borders on the screechy a lot in the first movement. The lead is pushed forward, and in the higher registers can be a touch harsh, not all the time, but enough to be distracting to me. I am not saying that my Prokofiev has to be pretty, but I have to be able to follow your story. The dynamics and pace were all there. And the third movement was pretty sublime. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Five Melodies Anne Akiko Meyers 2010 https://album.link/i/398214615 – We played a bit with the shrill at the opening of this one. There are some nice dynamics, but the upper registers of the violin were not as controlled as I would have liked. There seemed to be a little bit of a veil over the recording, slightly muted, I played with the volume and it was the recording. Anne has the techniques down, the transitions from playing, to plucking to strumming were seamless, that does not happen for all of these performances. There is just a slight harshness in their playing that pulls this away from a really great performance for me. Prokofiev & Nielsen: Violin Concertos Liya Petrova 2018 https://album.link/i/1434309960 – A Very nice recording. Performance was strong and consistent. The dynamics of the recording were slightly compressed that stole some of the power out of the bigger moments. Overall a nice balance of the orchestra and lead, but Liya does get lost a bit in the third movement, when it is very important that she be pushed forward. The pacing was comfortable, just enough to keep the action moving. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Maria Milstein, Phion Orchestra, Otto Tausk 2023 https://album.link/i/1656675394 – Unknown artist, label, orchestra, conductor, new recording. Here we go. I liked it. The pacing is slightly slow, but they do some good things with it. Nice balanced recording, slightly violin forward. Overall good performance with some character and highlights of understanding of the work. Great dynamics. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos.1 & 2 / Tchaikovsky: Sérénade mélancolique Leila Josefowicz, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Charles Dutoit 2001 https://album.link/i/1452220126 – I wasn’t initially into this performance. It had a nice balance in the recording, but it seemed just too slow without the lift of expression. But there was something there. The violin sound was fuller, almost like it was being played on a viola. This kept me intrigued and listening for more. The performance is a little sloppy here and there. But Leila finished so well that it still gets an honorable mention. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 - Stravinsky: Violin Concerto in D Major Cho-Liang Lin, LA Phil 1992 https://album.link/i/401535446 – Almost too balanced? Full bodied recording, delicacy and weighty. In the end was it a little too perfect? Maybe. This Sony recording is very good, and it seems to me that the performance is almost note perfect. I think it gave me a really good basis of what prokofiev wrote, without interpretation. I know that this is not fair, and I feel bad, because everything is done so well, but if I am not pulled into the interpretation, there is not much I can do. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos.1 & 2 / Stravinsky: Violin Concerto Kyung Wha Chung, André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra 1990 https://album.link/i/1452190869 – This gets a lot of points for just being what it is, Chung, Previn, LSO, Decca. I am pretty much all in from the start. It did deliver on most points. The recording was done very well, with great space and dynamics. The only thing that pulled me out of the recording was Chung not creating the flow that I wanted and felt from others. There were times when I was presented with a note, and then another note, and they didn’t seem to be connected. Also there seemed to be a disconnect between bowing, plucking and strumming. This work has them all and they need to be seamless to have the work come together. Glazunov & Prokofiev : Violin Concertos - Elatus Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mstislav Rostropovich & National Symphony Orchestra 1997 https://album.link/i/80023300 – The sleeper in the group. It shouldn’t have been with Anne-Sphonie and Rostropovich at the helm. I guess that there is less to complain about than to shout about. It is well recorded and wrapped up in a nice sounding package. Enjoyable, but I was never quite drawn all the way in. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 - Walton: Viola Concerto - Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending Isabelle van Keulen, NDR Radiophilharmonie 2018 https://album.link/i/1438420362 – One of the slowest recordings, but it does not feel that way. Isabelle has a lovely way of hitting the notes and then bringing in the vibrato, to get the attack then body and warmth comes in. A good modern recording, with a nice soundstage and balance from solo and orchestra, with dynamics. I felt that they had something to say. Some performances are slow because the performer cannot keep up, I felt like Isabelle wanted to show me some of the passages that are so pretty that I had missed them. And I was thankful. James Ehnes Plays Prokofiev James Ehnes, Gianandrea Noseda, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Andrew Armstrong 2013 https://album.link/i/1608385372 – A darker brooding performance and take on the work. And it works. Well recorded by Chandos. Balanced from front to back. Fast when it is fast and melodic when it needs to be as well. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 / Sibelius: Humoresques Op.89; Violin Concerto Ilya Gringolts, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi 2004 https://album.link/i/1452182124 – There is a focus on subtleties and dynamics from Ilya. Not too surprising coming from DG. Almost a perfect recording. You are placed in the fourth row, and you are rock solid there with the orchestra laid out in front of you, with Ilya a few feet in front of them, very nice. The pacing is quick, but not fast. It gives a lot of movement to the work. We are going somewhere, and I think I want to follow. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 - Violin Sonata No. 2 David Oistrakh 2004 https://album.link/i/696929966 – A historical recording - 1954 - Conductor – Lovro Von Matačić - London Symphony Orchestra. David is the father of Igor Oistrakh, we will get to that in a bit. The recording does not have the dynamics of the others, and there is hiss. A great performance? - absolutely. Technical abilities in spades, and a lightness on fast passages that really shines in the third movement. It falls short just because of some of the sonics. Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 & 2 Gil Shaham, London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn 1996 https://album.link/i/1452224616 – LSO, Previn, DG. Okay Gil, let’s do this. I really liked the pacing. The recording is detailed and clean. I like that Previn has different approaches based on the performer. Feels like a collab between them. Gil wanted to run, and he can run, and LSO was right there to follow. This was not that high on my list until this final listening. It might have needed a full system to really have it come to life and make me pay attention just that little bit more. I didn’t listen to these together to start with, and it was when I was about 3 minutes into the first movement, I started to think, wow this one really does sound a lot like the great performances release. Well a quick discogs search later, and yup. They are slightly different masterings of the same performance. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Isaac Stern 2019 & Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Isaac Stern, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy 1983 https://album.link/i/1522244483 – Just a great recording. The power and balance are all on display. Isaac attacks when he needs to, and relaxes into the melody when it is warranted. The orchestra and Ormandy are right there to support everything he is doing. It sounded more like jazz, that they were listening to each other and playing off each other. It is a 1965 recording and does not have the inky black background levels. But as far as pure listening - it is a pleasure. The second movement is almost too fast, but Stern can hold it together. For streaming the 1983 Great Performance version of the 1965 recording is the one to pick. Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 Itzhak Perlman 1982 https://album.link/i/1025523737 – The subtlety and phrasing is just amazing. A master playing a masters game. Does he drop a few notes? yeah, and no shits given. Itzhak has such a flow that it is hard to keep up with him sometimes. But when you do it is a beautiful ride to be on. The recording is a little violin forward, for reasons, but still a good recording. Prokofiev: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19 (Digitally Remastered) Sergei Prokofiev 2014 Tidal link - https://tidal.com/browse/album/36944865 (I am not sure where else you can find this) – Then there is Igor Oistrakh (son of David above) paying something very different. This is so far beyond anything else in the list that it should be a new category. Variations of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto? It is hard to explain what this recording does for me. It builds tension, it releases it, it makes me marvel at virtuosity, it lets me peer into the music like never before. Does it sound good? Luckily, yes it does, not great but good enough. Apparently Prokofiev was not the biggest fan of his readings, but he got over it. Way back when I did my first pass of all these, this recording stuck out to me and had me saying wow more than once. Others play trills, Igor plays bird songs. My favorite version, even if I may listen to Itzhak more in the long run. So no one has read this far - but I will have three of these in rotation. Itzhak is just so good, Stern for power, and Igor for the pure fun of the music. It was a fun ride. None of these are bad at all. Remember that these were my top selections from around 50 total recordings. Not planning on another marathon anytime soon, but you never know. 6 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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