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Walton: Violin Concerto; Viola Concerto Import

4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 25, 1990
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Violin Concerto: 1. Andante comodo
  2. Violin Concerto: 2: Vivo, con molto preciso
  3. Violin Concerto: 3: Allegro moderato
  4. Viola Concerto: 1: Andante tranquillo
  5. Viola Concerto: 2: Presto capriccioso napolitana-Trio (Canzonetta)-Tempo I
  6. Viola Concerto: 3: Vivace

Product Details

  • Performer: Nigel Kennedy
  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Composer: William Walton
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: EMI Digital
  • ASIN: B000002RQT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,893 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on March 25, 2005
In case you were wondering who this Barry Griffiths might be, he is the orchestral leader, or was at the time of making these recordings. Distinguished as his contribution doubtless was, it's easier to identify and comment on those of the soloist and conductor, and I would call both of those absolutely first-rate. Nigel Kennedy went through various changes of personal image, but for all that he stayed pretty consistent and true to himself as a classical interpreter. He is a virtuoso with an easy command and assurance on his own usual instrument the violin, and one of the main things that seems to me to commend this disc in particular is the opportunity it provides to hear the violin and viola concertos given by the same solo player as well as by the same conductor and orchestra.

Kennedy adapts to the viola as to the instrument born, so far as I can tell. I first heard this outstanding modern masterpiece under the best imaginable circumstances. Primrose was himself the soloist, and the performance was given in the old St Andrew's Halls in Glasgow (now alas no more), which boasted acoustics that were probably as good as any in Europe. From this experience I learned how the balance between the notoriously shy viola and a full concert orchestra ought to sound, although the scoring I was listening to at that time must have been the original version before Walton decided to revise in in the 1960's. It should be no surprise to any of us that a virtuoso orchestrator of the calibre of Walton knows what he is doing. There is no need to dampen down the orchestral forte, because Walton has judged that matter for us, nor is there any need to suppose that when the viola seems to struggle to make its voice heard that is not exactly how it is meant to sound in the context.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 15, 2013
This disc, well recorded in 1987, makes an obvious coupling and was well received by the press critics at that time. Since than there have been a number of alternative readings of both works made available, not least those on the excellent Naxos series at bargain price. In particular there have been a number of alternative viola players who have recorded the viola concerto who have the obvious advantage of being viola specialists. Those latter must also include the excellent version offered by Callus on ASV.

Nevertheless Kennedy plays both instruments very well indeed and has the advantage of Previn's naturally idiomatic conducting. This is not an advantage to be dismissed lightly as the orchestral contribution and the swung feel to parts of the concertos are vitally important and Previn fully delivers.

Previn is also the conductor on the award winning version by Kyung Wha Chung and it is that point that one starts to notice the differences. Kyung Wha Chung simply has more sheer flair and, where required bravura, sensitivity, quick-silver tone and the ability to make the violin 'fly.' This is especially apparent in the central movement of the violin concerto. However, Chung's current coupling may not appeal so much.

Kennedy's version of the viola concerto shares much the same virtues of the violin concerto, accurate playing, empathy and excellent support, but also seems a fraction earthbound when compared to Tomter on Naxos which aslo includes an excellent version of the second symphony.

For those looking for the ideal coupling of these two concertos I would still suggest that Kennedy is the best option to consider.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bartolo on July 17, 2009
I have this CD but never play it. I owned a cassette tape of Kyung Wha Chung's percussive and exciting rendition of the violin concerto and only recently found it on CD, so I hauled this out and compared. I always thought the viola concerto lacked either the warmth for which that instrument is famous or the oomph that would catapult it into the great concertos of the century; moreover Kennedy's violin concerto, in my comparison, proved to lack a convincing intensity that I think the piece demands. He played with simulacra of every requisite emotion but somehow not convincingly. Interestingly Previn had conducted for Chung as he did for Kennedy, so we can't look there for the difference.

After playing it and comparing it again with Chung's, I can see that the violin isn't placed nearly so far forward in the Kennedy version, and that works to his disadvantage. He wants a slightly more introverted interpretation; then all the more reason to hear him over, rather than within, the orchestra. EMI has placed this version in one of the "Great Recordings of the Century" category, so I may be of the minority opinion; but that status may have been encouraged by the famous British chauvinism, who knows?

It's significant that this violin concerto was written for Heifetz, and personally I would look for other, similarly emotional and virtuosic intensities of style for the best version.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 1999
Two masterpieces, performed with as much energy and beauty possible. Pick it up!
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