Customer Review

12 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed at listening to Berg's Violin Concerto, February 14, 2012
This review is from: Berg/Beethoven: Violin Concertos (Audio CD)
Alban Berg
Violin Concerto - 'To the Memory of an Angel'
Beethoven
Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61
Isabelle Faust
Claudio Abbado
Orchestra Mozart
Recorded: 2010
harmonia mundi s. a.

Compared with Berg's Violin Concerto played by Arabella Steinbacher Berg, Beethoven: Violinkonzerte , Isabelle Faust plays it too loudly and it lacks a musical conversation between the orchestra and the soloist. Abbado should have stopped her aggressive performance. Only the Choral of Bach's Cantata No. 60 "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" sounds beautifully.

Berg quoted the Chorale "Es ist genug" from BWV 60, in the 2nd movement of his Violin Concerto. Text and Translation of Chorale: 'It is enough: Lord, if it pleases You, then release me! My Jesus comes; good night now, o world! I journey to heaven's house, I go there securely in peace, my great suffering remains behind. It is enough.'
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2012 7:09:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2012 7:40:39 PM PST
And yet .... The March 2012 edition of The Gramophone magazine rates this the Recording of the Month. I think I will await further reviews on this present offering before deciding which version to purchase for my collection. Furthermore, I fail to understand the interviewer's mention of the Chorale in Bach's Cantata #60 which, so far as I can see, is not a part of this album.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2012 9:17:44 PM PST
K. MIURA says:
Berg quoted the Chorale "Es ist genug" from BWV 60, in the 2nd movement of his Violin Concerto. Text and Translation of Chorale: 'It is enough: Lord, if it pleases You, then release me! My Jesus comes; good night now, o world! I journey to heaven's house, I go there securely in peace, my great suffering remains behind. It is enough.'

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 11:11:28 AM PST
Stephen Kass says:
Sorry but this is absolute nonsense. Isabelle Faust does not play too loudly in the Berg concerto. On the contrary her part is very well integrated in the sound of the orchestra - more so than in most other performances. This is an aspect that has been particularly praised by other critics. I cannot know what you hear in your head but ....

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2012 11:14:10 AM PST
Stephen Kass says:
The insertion of Bach´s chorale is the most remarkable and unusual characteristic of this
concerto. It enters like a "voice from another world" in the midst of chaos and then undergoes variations by Berg. Most moving! Listen to it!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2012 10:04:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2012 10:05:15 PM PDT
B. Guerrero says:
I find this recording problematic as well. I don't think that it's so much that Faust plays too loudly - after all, any violin can produce only so much sound - but rather that she's pitted against a somewhat reduced orchestra. To my ears, that doesn't make the balances and 'textures' better or worse, just different. Therefore, a period of adjustment is required for anyone who has heard the work numerous times (well, me anyway). I also think that for some strange reason, HMU doesn't do that great of a job of recording Faust. To my ears, her tones comes off just a tad strident. I'm not wild about this recording, simply because I'm not convinced that it's a better presentation of what Berg wrote. Maybe it is. Maybe I just prefer 'big band' Berg.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 28, 2012 12:39:30 AM PDT
Ooooohh boy....

This reminds me of the two reasons I no longer write music reviews on Amazon: 1. deference to "experts" rather than listening with one's own ears. ("And yet .... The March 2012 edition of The Gramophone magazine...") 2. Not knowing the works in question very well. ("I fail to understand the interviewer's mention of the Chorale in Bach's Cantata #60 which, so far as I can see, is not a part of this album.")

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2012 9:14:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2012 9:16:07 PM PDT
A violin can only produce so much sound, but when it's closely miked, and the mike level is jacked up, both of which are true in this case, well...

I tend to agree with the original reviewer regarding the balances, but I have a feeling the fault is more with the engineering than with Abbado. It seems to me that many labels are engineering classical recordings like pop records now, probably because they want them to sound good as ripped MP3 files on someone's iPod as heard through a pair of $20 earbuds. This can't be good. I'd like to hear Faust live before I pass judgment on her. So many soloists sound so different in person, and the bigger label they're signed with, it seems the more fiddling and thus the less true the recorded sound. I have friends who self-produce CDs or have contracts with small labels with small budgets and their CDs sound heavenly, with much less remixing going on. Just because that console has a thousand buttons and switches, that doesn't mean you need to tweak them all.
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