Maxim Vengerov

The Best of Maxim Vengerov

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Even though you get 11 CDs for your $75 here, you don't really get the promised "best of Maxim Vengerov." This box set merely collects a large amount of material from early in the Russian violinist's career -- not in itself a bad thing, for Vengerov was one of the hottest young violinists of the 1990s, with a fearsome technique and a good deal of symphony-hall charisma. The set augments a selection of Vengerov's studio recordings with live concerts, creating a set of materials that would probably be hard to bring together in any other way. But it is only Vengerov's recordings for Teldec that are compiled here. His relationship with that label ended in the year 2000, and he has only kept raising the bar since then -- taking up the Baroque violin (and touring with harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock, who also took up the modern grand piano) and the viola, and delving into more unusual repertoire. On these 11 discs he runs straight up the middle of the violin repertory, with a preponderance of Russian material. Those enamored of this Russian star may want to have this set, but the general listener exploring his work is advised to make individual selections that better represent the various aspects of his work.

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