Franz Konwitschny

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3; Violin Concerto

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For the purpose of having solid and reasonably priced recordings of Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 in A minor, "Scottish," and the Violin Concerto in E minor, this album from Brilliant Classics is a decent choice, particularly for anyone building a classical collection. Franz Konwitschny and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig -- Mendelssohn's own ensemble -- deliver an accurate and expressive reading of the symphony, and the concerto is a lyrical delight, with brilliant playing from Igor Oistrakh in the prime of his career. However, it should be pointed out that the performances date from 1962 and 1958, respectively; the early stereo reproduction in the symphony, while good, is not up to contemporary expectations, and the monaural recording of the concerto is somewhat muted. Oistrakh's playing is always clear, but it seems slightly diminished with the distant microphone placement, and the orchestral accompaniment is sometimes a little hazy and indistinct. All the same, these are secondary concerns, and anyone who finds this CD lacking in sound quality has other options among many fine digital recordings. Others less particular about the audio will enjoy this album because there is much musical value to appreciate here, and this disc need not be relegated to the historical recording bin for its less-than-perfect sound.

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