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Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 / Glazunov: Violin Concerto / Tchaikovsky: Meditation

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Audio CD, March 19, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

This is the first recording of an extraordinarily talented young violinist. Born in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents in 1975, Znaider won the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in 1992 and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1997, and he's embarked on a flourishing career spanning several continents. From this recording, as from his concert appearances, it's clear that he is a virtuoso with a formidable, utterly secure, effortless but totally unobtrusive technique; a lovely tone of great warmth, purity, and flexibility; and a sensitive musical expressiveness so genuine that it needs no external effects, not even slides.

Of the two Prokofiev concertos, the second is the more ingratiating and lyrical one, and Znaider makes the soaring melodies sing rapturously. His tone in the high register, so beloved by the composer, shimmers radiantly. There are also plenty of fast bravura passages, which Znaider tosses off with ease, brilliance, and absolute clarity. Better yet, he gives them shape and makes them sound like music, even the famously--or infamously--difficult, long, and jagged sections in the Finale. The Glazunov has a warm, ardent glow as well as a subdued, inward delicacy. Its bleak mournfulness is always noble and deeply felt. The Cadenza is wistful and introspective, the Finale elegant and charming. The Tchaikovsky Meditation is melancholy, but never becomes sentimental; the excellent orchestral solos stand out, while the violinist discreetly weaves figurations around them. This is a most promising and impressive debut. --Edith Eisler

1. Violin Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Op.63: Allegro Moderato
2. Violin Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Op.63: Andante Assai
3. Violin Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Op.63: Allegro, Ben Marcato
4. Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82: Moderato
5. Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82: Andante Sostenuto; Tempo I
6. Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82: Allegro
7. Meditation, Op.42 No.1

Product Details

  • Performer: Nikolaj Znaider
  • Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Marriss Jansons
  • Composer: Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Sergei Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (March 19, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00006313T
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,220 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Two nights ago while visiting Chicago I heard Nikolaj Znaider live, and it was a cpativating experience. I rushed home and bought this, his early CD, and it fulfills the promise of what I heard (he performed the Mendelssohn concerto with the CSO under Barenboim and has just recorded it). The Amazon reviewer has stated everything perfectly: Znaider is a virtuoso second and a musicain first, never intruding himself into the compoer's total conception. He plays a gorgeous Stradivarius, caught on this CD very well in quite closely miked sound.

To show you how unassuming this virtuoso is, the second half of the CSO program was devoted to the Mahelr Fifth. Without fanfare Znaider sneaked into the back row of the first violins and played along, and he even turned the pages for his desk mate!

There are fine versions of the Prokofiev Second around, but Znaider is competitive with all of them. HIs is better conducted (by Maris Jansons) than the vengerov or Shaham recordings I previously favored. If you want warm, lyrical violin playing to melt the heart a la Joshua Bell, rest asured that Znaider is off to a great career with exactly that style.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Todd Carlsen on September 7, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Glazunov piece is amazing! I highly recommend that as an MP3 download. The entire album is good, but the violin playing in the Glazunov is very special.

This album received a Rosette designations from Penguin Guide. It also received a strong review from Gramophone, which called it "a confident, abundantly characterful account... Znaider brings an extra lyrical ardour and tender intimacy to Prokofiev's soaring melodies, not to mention a greater rhythmic swagger in the finale. But what really lifts this account to special heights is the chamber-like rapport and concentration Znaider generates with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio SO..."

If you have an MP3 player, download the Glazanov for sure. I have not heard better. The Tchaikovsky is excellent. The Prokofiev is very good, but I have heard just as good elsewhere.
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