Nathan Milstein

Vivaldi: Sonate RV 10; Bach: Solosonate BWV 1001; Mozart: Sonate KV 296; Brahms: Sonate Op. 108

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As evidenced by this recital, one of the things Russian violinist Nathan Milstein rarely did was play music from the twentieth century. But, as also evidenced by this recording from the 1963 Salzburg Festival, Milstein's repertory was abundantly rich and wide, even without works from his own century. He moves deftly from Vivaldi and Bach to Mozart and Brahms, subtly adjusting his tone and approach for each composer, but remaining consistently sweet, sincere, and focused. It is never forced, and so each performance seems entirely suited to the music and yet wholly Milstein's in conception and execution. Listeners used to the technical perfection of his studio recordings may be somewhat surprised by the small imperfections in these live performances, but those listeners will likely still be satisfied by the supremely high quality of Milstein's music-making here. Pianist Walter Klein, a formidable virtuoso in his own right, proves a wonderful accompanist, supporting Milstein when appropriate but also challenging him when needed. And though the sound in the 2007 reissue originates from four decade old recordings, the quality is clear enough to let the performances shine through and evocative enough to give a real sense of time and place.

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