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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this!,
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This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)The Stravinsky is a giant of a piece, and Cho-Liang Lin rocks! His playing is outrageously fine, constantly and completely. The nuances of his musical hearing are a wonder to behold time and time again! He claims the magisterial Stravinsky with all fires lit, and leaves the competition in the dark! It's as inevitable a performance as you will ever hear from a master of Music. The Prokofiev is so strong and beautiful, and the First Concerto, especially, so brilliantly composed, it's difficult to complain that we hardly need more Prokofiev concertos, so I won't. Lin's sheer musicianship is startling; his is an original and musicianly vision of kingly proportions, and so pure at times it takes your breath away. His magnificent musical aesthetic comes full circle between the Prokofiev and the Stravinsky, each advance coming rightfully from the one before, set in an extraordinary musical understanding that seems to know no boundaries but beauty in Cho-Liang Lin. And the fiddles he uses, especially the Guarneri del Gesu, are to my ear without peer among the instruments of the great modern violinists recording today! If you want to know HOW a great violinist 'hears', listen to the timbre of the instrument he chooses to play! This is a great recording - don't miss it!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best. Absolutely amazing.,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)Both Stravinsky's and Prokofiev's violin concertos are absolute masterpieces, although they may take some time to absorb if you are used to more classical-era composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. Once you "find the groove" in these works, you'll be intoxicated and thrilled by both the score and the performance. Cho-Liang Lin is a dazzling genius in this recording -- his playing is just electrifying and superb. The different sounds he creates, which I cannot describe in words, are part of those living tributes that make the violin such a great instrument. Salonen's conducting is great, creates a wonderful ambience for Lin's heavenly violin, and is very convincing. The second movement of Prokofiev's no.2 is truly beautiful. Out of my collection of over 300 classical CD's, this stands as one of the best. A must-have for any serious fan of classical music and/or good music. Just buy it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark horse for best in class,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)I don't know if it's cultural snobbery that causes Cho-Liang Lin to be overlooked when critics mention the best performances of a given work, but he has been outstanding on every CD I've heard, and this one is no exception. Born in 1960 in Taiwan, Cho-Liang perhaps isn't exotic enough to rank with mainland aritsts like Lang Lang and Yundi Li, but he surpasses them in musicality and innate feeling for classical style. The Prokofiev and Stravinsky concertos aren't classical, of course, but you would never guess that Cho-Liang is anything but a top-flight virtuoso on the order of Itzhak Perlman, so polished and complete is his playing.
I would raise this account of the two Prokofiev concertos above Perlman's EMI versions, in fact, because the sonics from Sony are superb, and Salonen, a committed Prokofiev conductor, offers the best accompaniments I've ever heard. The venue is acoustically superior (Royce Hall at UCLA), and the 20-bit format affords total clarity, with unusually realistic violin tone. As far as interpretation goes, Cho-Liang is powerful, assured, and extrovert. He provides the hushed atmosphere required in the opening of the First concerto, but in both Shcerzos he avoids the biting satire and edgy slashes that other, more daring performers favor (e.g., Leila Josefowicz), falling closer to a sweet-toned Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham. But those are superficial characteristics. What's so remarkable here is the close affinity between soloist and conductor, which makes both works sound like Prokofiev symphonies with violin obbligato. The same smoothness and power is applied to the Stravinsky concerto, which feels not quite right given the composer's preference for a drier, more detached style. On the ohter hand, in its romanticized way, this is a gripping performance, too.
Whatever small reservations one might have, here is superlative playing from an overlooked virtuoso with music in his viens.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 concertos! Count 'em!,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)Lovely recordings indeed. Not only the two by Prokofiev so often erroneously coupled with another composer's but the more challenging Stravinsky. Isaac Stern's recording bought my soul way back when but this is a terrific performance, if a bit slower in the second movement of the first and a bit soft and lyrical where there really should be a bit more bite in the second movement of the Stravinsky although he rises to the challenge of the last movement. Excellent all around.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Performances of Three Great Concerti,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)This recording from 1994 is one of those 'must have' recordings: the pairing of Cho-Liang Lin with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic is a collaborative coups that remain the gold standard, even though obtaining this recording is becoming increasingly difficult. Hopefully it will be re-issued soon.
Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 is the less performed of the two and in many ways that position of importance should be reversed! Though the Second concerto is rich with melody and characteristic of Prokofiev's mature compositional skills and excruciating demands on the soloist, the First concerto contains moments of musical dichotomy and cultural/sociopolitical clash that informed Prokofiev's creation of the work in the stormy year of 1917. It is all here: the bristling motoric changes in tempi and the testy atonality of the new music of the era are equally balanced with some of the most 'Russian' of folk melodies and passion. Technically challenging while demanding in heart, Lin gives it his all, allowing his incomparable virtuosity to enhance the moments of soaring beauty of line with a tone so rich it feels like cream. His performance of the Second concerto is equally exciting: he is ever in control of the demonic lines while allowing the pulsating melodic lines to flow with natural, almost ethereal grace.
Lin's (and Salonen's for that matter) affinity for Stravinsky has never been better served than in his impeccable performance of the Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra. He understands the bite, acerbic wit, and neoclassical aspects of this challenging work like few others. And here again, as with the Prokofiev works, Salonen and the LA Phil provide synchronous collaboration with that is exceptional and exciting. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, January 06
5.0 out of 5 stars A warmly sympathetic version of the Prokofiev, and even the spiky Stravinsky,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)This well recorded disc from 1992 brings the first recording of the Prokofiev to come near the imaginative disc of the two concertos featuring Mintz as the soloist supported superbly by Abbado. In addition it offers a version of the Stravinsky concerto that tempers its spiky exterior and suggests more lyrical substance than usual.
The first Prokofiev concerto inhabits a world of fairy tale imagination clearly suggested by the way the music steals into our consciousness. This is the same world as the third symphony which in turn made use of the magical and mysterious music written for the Fiery Angel opera. The concerto finishes with a recapitulation of these ideas. The middle movement, a delicate scherzo, is a perfect complement to the outer movements. This concerto requires a light hand with the emphasis being on magical fantasy rather than blatant virtuosity and here it receives just that from Cho-Liang Lin, whose discs regularly show him as a violinist of imaginative sensitivity. This is the first disc to seriously match the earlier disc with Mintz and Abbado in these ways.
Likewise Lin takes a lighter and more lyrical view of the spikier and more showy second concerto, associated forever perhaps with the recording made by Heifetz. This is far better recorded with a less forward balance of the soloist allowing the music far greater room to breathe. Lin is quite the equal of his illustrious predecessor as regards technique and, given the improved balance, it is easier to enjoy the music in a less claustrophobic manner. Once again this is an excellent match with Mintz.
The Stravinsky is the most purely musical version I have heard with far more emphasis on the lyrical aspects of this concerto which can so easily deteriorate into motoric note spinning. Years ago there used to be an equally musical version with Silverstein and the Boston orchestra coupled with a fine Bartok second concerto but sadly never issued on CD. Lin's version now makes that earlier version's absence less regrettable.
This is a very fine disc with the emphasis correctly placed upon the lyrical nature of these three concertos. I would therefore suggest that it deserves to be considered as one of the most desirable versions of these works for potential purchase.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my very favorite CDs,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)I have many recordings of these works and when I want to hear any of them this is the cd that I am most likely to reach for. OK, I still think Oistrakh/Galliera did the best ever recording of the Prokofiev Second concerto (available only on LP if you can find it) and that generally Oistrakh rules. But this is my absolute favorite of the Stravinsky - and the sound and playing on the whole disc are just luminous. Definitely the best thing I've ever heard from the LA Phil.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to the hype,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)I am not really savy when it comes to classical music - but I know what I like. I like this cd.
I first heard Lin on the Saint-Sa�ns: Concertos cd with Yo-Yo Ma, Cecile Licad and Lorin Maazel. Amazing piece.
I started reading and Lin seems to have a number of the best versions of a lot of violin concertos.
I got this one on a reissue only available at a "towering" competitor. Some exclusive deal the other vendor has, but a great price and remastered with the DSD process.
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (...) Lin BURNS UP the great Stravinsky VC,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D (Audio CD)(...) As excellent as the first Prokofiev VC is & as 'warmly Russian' as the famous slow second movement of the second is, Prokofiev's semi-modernist Beethovenistic-Rachmaninovisms are mere child's play compared with the master-class in polyrhythmically bouncing multiple melodic lines pushing each other towards transcendence Stravinsky puts on! And you can tell that Cho Liang Lin is ten times more into the enormous difficulties of the Stravinsky piece than the Prokofievs, since he plays the ABSOLUTE BEST VERSION of it yet made by anyone (his Prokofievs, on the other hand, are a little dry, and not quite up to par with the early Perlman versions), with Salonen providing excellent back-up. Lin is absolutely electrifying and there is no 'neo-classical cold shower' anywhere to be found, just economically composed, masterfully eccentric but fully melodic and ultimately SUPERWARM, warmer than any backwards Prokofiev snobbish-Russian-intellectual-ennuis could ever be. Buy this superior, high-testosterone Cho Liang-Lin version of Maestro Igor's ode-to-the-fiddle and discover how great a Violin Concerto can truly be and how pathetically underrated by the average classical music listener.
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Prokofiev: Violin Concertos 1&2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto In D by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen Cho-Liang Lin (Audio CD - 2009)
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