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Wieniawski: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Faust Fantasy

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Audio CD, February 4, 1997
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Product Details

  • Performer: Marat Bisengaliev
  • Orchestra: Polish Nat'l Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Composer: Henri Wieniawski
  • Audio CD (February 4, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000014E5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. G. Reinhart on December 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I've listened to this disc a few times now and stopped by Amazon out of curiosity, to see if anyone else had reviewed it. The other review here is pretty negative, so I'd like to provide a little contrast.

My main interest is the beloved Second Concerto, which here receives an excellent performance. Marat Bisangeliev is a violinist who would rather create lyrical, poetic moods than indulge in superhuman note-spinning. As a result there are many moments to reflect, and there are slower tempi at some points, but this is all exceptionally well done. The slow movement especially is beautiful. But just because Bisangeliev tends to play on the slow side, don't think he isn't an accomplished virtuoso! I very much doubt the previous critic can REALLY play the first solo in the Second Concerto's finale as quickly as Bisangeliev does!

The other recording I have of the Second is of the incomparable Jascha Heifetz, but sadly that CD is no longer sold in the US. Heifetz is ideal in this (and every other) concerto, a blend of passion and technical firepower that nobody can match. But if you can't order the disc from abroad (it also includes the concerti of Sibelius and Tchaikovsky), or if you want all of Wieniawski's major works for violin and orchestra, this CD will serve you very well.

The orchestra - led by the great Antoni Wit - are admirable accompanists, especially in the Second Concerto's finale. Unlike the previous reviewer, I can hear the basses (try about a minute and a half into the second movement). The violas and brass also play very well in their occasional solo turns.

All in all a very good introduction to Wieniawski, with enjoyable performances and quality modern sound.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ricardo_guerrero on June 24, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Most of those who record for Naxos are not well-known musicians, and I had never heard of Marat Biensgaliev before listening to this disc. Come to find out, he's a rather old-generation fiddler, and probably is not known much outside Europe and Russia.
I vastly prefer the Concerto #1 to the #2, so am always on the lookout for good recordings of it. The #2 is of course standard repertoire and
almost every student who graduates with a degree in violin performance has learned it after 4 years of school, but many learn it in high school.
It's a very old and tired warhorse. The #1 is a gem, but the number of times it is performed in the USA per year can probably be counted on one hand.
#1 was, in the late 19th and early 20th century, performed more. Probably because of its extreme difficulty, it quickly faded from view and hopefully its time will return. It has not been recorded much. Perlman and Shaham are the most recognized living exponents of it, but they're two of the very few. The late Michael Rabin's sensational recording (circa 1960) is often considered the definitive one. Most conductors don't request it and most violinists don't offer it. The entire range of violin technique and beyond is covered in this concerto: tricky string-crossing, chords in high positions, down-bow staccato, fast passages in fingered octaves and tenths, and on and on it goes. Having said all that, this recording of the #1 is not a good one. Biensgaliev takes a careful, cautious approach to it, hitting all the notes and not much more. His playing reminds me a lot of Salvatore Accardo's - very polished, technically perfect, although Accardo's technique is far greater. His playing occasionally sweet-sounding, but lacking anything profound.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.D. VINE VOICE on February 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Wieniawski's first violin concerto is an early work from the 1850s, and is - despite some good ideas - not really a very memorable work. Yet it remains an apt coupling for the far more accomplished second concerto from ten years later. The latter is indeed an excellent work of strong, memorable melodies and a sure construction, with many imaginative touches. Naxos sensibly throws in the early Fantasie brillante on themes from Faust as a filler, which is welcome even if it is hardly a work anyone but the most ardent violin buff would want to hear more than once.

Now, Wieniawski's writing is partly to blame, but Bisengaliev's first entry in the first concerto is almost jarring in its hardness. Still, this is overall a rather appealing performance, even if a more sweet-toned, gentle sound is often missed. His technique is indeed impressive, however, and much of the playing is very beautiful, especially in the slow movements - and aptly virtuosic in the hollow Fantasie. Some more fantasy and imagination would not have gone amiss in the outer movements of both concertos, however. Still, this is overall a very commendable release - Bisengaliev is backed up with color and sensitivity from the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Antoni Wit, and they are given a warm, dynamic recording. Overall, then this is a welcome release, and despite some minor shortcomings I wouldn't hesitate to give it a firm recommendation, even though there are superior versions out there (Shaham and Foster, in particular).
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Wieniawski: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Faust Fantasy
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