Tchaikovsky & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos

Itzhak Perlman / Eugene Ormandy / André Previn

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Tchaikovsky & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos Review

by Blair Sanderson

The Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos are important works in Itzhak Perlman's repertoire, marking significant highpoints in his career, and the 2003 Perlman Edition might not seem complete without these famous performances from the 1970s. Listeners should be aware, however, that the sound of this ADD disc is not ideal, and its limitations give the album a prematurely historical quality. Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, recorded in 1978 and performed with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, sounds a little thin on Perlman's part and rather muddy in the orchestral accompaniment. Though the soloist's pyrotechnics are superb as always, there is a lack of warmth and resonance in lyrical passages that is apparently due to the circumstances of the recording and not through any lack of intensity from Perlman. The Sérénade mélancolique, a less satisfying piece by Tchaikovsky, is murky throughout its duration and seems to have been included only as filler, both here and on the original LP. Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, recorded in 1972 and performed with André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra, fares better than the previous works. Perlman's sound is much richer and given a forward placement that allows his full range to be heard clearly, and the orchestra is adequately recorded with sufficient color and depth.

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