Nathan Milstein

Mendelssohn, Brahms: Violin Concertos

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One of the most acclaimed and respected violinists of the last century, Nathan Milstein also had one of the longest-running careers of any classical musician. As such, he has left behind an abundance of recordings documenting his technical prowess, honeyed tone, and superb musicianship. This Archipel disc is but one example of the many Milstein recordings that are just now being reissued on CD. The album opens with a 1953 recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Schweizer Festspielorchester under Igor Markevitch, a time when Milstein was at the height of his technical and interpretive powers. Archipel's remastering does a nice job of removing any excess hiss while maintain the original color of the sound, allowing listeners to hear Milstein's nimble passagework in this perennially favored concerto. The disc also features the Brahms concerto with the New York Philharmonic under Victor de Sabata. The first movement here is strikingly fast, which at times seems to cause some uncharacteristic slides into notes. The remaining two movements are taken at a more appropriate tempo and Milstein's playing again returns to its typical high level of technical and musical excellence. The sound quality in the Brahms (recorded in 1950) is slightly inferior to the Mendelssohn.

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