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  • Dvorak: Violin Concerto; Piano Quintet
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Dvorak: Violin Concerto; Piano Quintet

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Audio CD, July 8, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 8, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00008XRSZ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,714 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This recording of the Violin Concerto and Piano Quintet composed by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) has Sarah Chang performing with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Colin Davis (concerto), and performing with Leif Ove Andsnes, Alex Kerr, Wolfram Christ and Georg Faust (quintet), recorded in 2001/2002. This recording has been recommended by the Penguin Guide for both pieces. To the concerto, Penguin says the recording has "freely expressive playing from Chang. The sense of fantasy is irresistible, with Chang using extremes of dynamic, and with the Slavonic dance of the finale given a winning spring".

I obtained this recording recently, packaged together with four other Sarah Chang CD's, as part of this bargain priced box -- Sarah Chang: 5 Classic Albums. That collection is priced similarly to this CD by itself, and for anyone considering purchasing this recording, it is obviously the better deal. The five CD's included in that collection are:

Disc 1: Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor; Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D Minor
Disc 2: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Disc 3: Franck: Violin Sonata; Saint-Saens: Violin Sonata; Ravel: Violin Sonata
Disc 4:
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Barnard on May 16, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I've come to admire the Dvorak Violin Concerto, even if it doesn't have the instant tuneful attraction of some of Dvorak's most popular works. On the present recording, we hear Sarah Chang accompanied by Colin Davis and the LSO, a collaboration of big names in a work that has a mean share of recordings when compared with the popular romantic concertos from Bruch, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius. In the past I've had worries that Chang can lack charisma, and listening to this recording one hears a confident, full tone, but I find myself wishing for more distinction. This isn't a virtuoso display piece on the level of rival romantic concertos, which Chang takes as a reason to back off and play from a distance.

I don't follow the logic at all; being impersonal isn't a good way to increase impact in any work. As it stands, Chang doesn't keep my attention, and much of the concerto turns into aimless rambling. It doesn't help that Davis' conducting is perfunctory and polite, with the LSO sounding surprisingly ordinary. In all, this reading is a triumph in terms of poised professionalism, as everything moves smoothly with no tics or problems, but the interpretative interest is very low. Hearing the romping finale played through with stern concentration seems wrong-headed. How is the utter lack of high spirits or excitement supposed to work musically? Among modern readings, one would be much better served by Vengerov or Mutter, the latter recorded with Mutter back in partnership with the Berlin Phil, and the orchestral playing is sumptuous.

Things are better in the Piano Quintet Op. 81, where we get to hear players of the first rank. All lines are remarkably clear and on a high level of virtuosity.
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Format: Audio CD
Sarah Chang's recording of Dvorak's Violin Concerto with Sir Colin Davis and the LSO has been around for more than a decade now and remains one of the best versions currently before the public. It may not be the absolute best ever (my own favorite is still Perlman's mid-Seventies release with Daniel Barenboim, also with the LSO), but it's close. Different but close.

If there can be such a thing as a feminine approach to a work, that's the difference between this 2001 recording and Perlman's. The Dvorak Violin Concerto is a composition of startling contrasts, yet Chang and Perlman approach them differently. Dvorak meant the first movement to sound somewhat melancholy, almost bittersweet, yet Chang makes it more lyrical, more lilting, more ethereal, while Perlman, still mercurial, seems more granite solid. In the second, slow movement, Dvorak turns his piece into a ballad, interrupted only occasionally by turbulent outbursts, and again it's in these outbursts that Perlman appears slightly more in command. The final movement finds Dvorak returning to his roots in Czech folk music, and here it's a toss-up between Chang and Perlman as to which artist is more idiomatic and which conductor, Sir Colin Davis or Daniel Barenboim, is more supportive and sprightly. Both sets of musicians are certainly very fine, warm and powerful throughout, Ms. Chang dancing through the finale with sensitivity, exuberance, and strength.

The coupling on Chang's disc is Dvorak's Piano Quintet, although to be fair the violin seems always at center stage. It's a long chamber work that's all over the map thematically from exquisitely beautiful poetry to raging storms and everything in between. The group Ms.
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