Henryk Szeryng / Bernard Haitink

Brahms, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos

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Few other violin concertos from the 18th century have risen to the same level of appreciation and esteem as the single contributions of Brahms and Mendelssohn. Likewise, few violinists from the early to mid-1900s had as well-rounded and successful careers as Polish-born Henryk Szeryng. While some of his contemporaries may have more name notoriety -- Heifetz, Menuhin, for example -- Szeryng stood alone in his depth of sound, intensity of playing, and straightforwardness of interpretation. It's no wonder, then, that Szeryng's performances of these great concertos should be so enthralling and enjoyable. Szeryng made his solo debut playing the Brahms Violin Concerto in 1933. Forty years later and the seasoned artist possesses seasoned sophistication, brilliant technical accuracy, endless variety of tone colors, and a sound that is powerful enough to easily rise over the orchestra while still retaining its dark, rich depth. Joined by Bernard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Szeryng lays down a breathtaking performance that is entirely worthy of repeated reissue. His Mendelssohn concerto, recorded three years later, is nimble, dazzling, and playful. Haitink goes far beyond just providing an accompaniment; the RCO's playing is full and powerful without being overbearing for the soloist. Newton's restored sound quality of these two important performances is especially clear without losing any of the original warmth in detail.

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