Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Sibelius Violin Concerto: Impressions of several performances
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sibelius Violin Concerto: Impressions of several performances

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I recently purchased a new version of the Sibelius Violin Concerto by Kavakos and found it intriguing so I bought another for comparison (Chung) and spent some time listening to them and the recordings I currently have.

ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER, Staatskapelle Dresden, Previn (DG)

Based on some glowing reviews I read I was really looking forward to this performance but was sadly disappointed. To me the performance is undoubtedly virtuosic but affected. All to often nuances are added which to me don't fit, and overall the performance seems somewhat disjointed.

The recording spotlights the violin, and it appears the mike is so close that the violin seems to me around a bit, perhaps when A-S M is turning from side to side. My rig (DX100/627X/F111) is very precise when it comes to imaging so the effect is rather annoying. Although this performance gets many rave reviews it just isn't to my taste.



Dong-Suk Kang Czecho-Slovak RSO, Adrian Leaper (Naxos)

Kang's playing seems almost tentative and his tone is thin to me. The recording of the orchestra is somewhat vague at times. The quality of the recording and the performance is just acceptable, nothing note worthy.



Leonidas Kavakos, Lahti SO, Osmo Vänskä (BIS)

The recording doesn't spotlight the soloist, it's much more realistic in that regard than the Mutter or Chung.

The interpretation by Kavakos and the Lahti SO isn't as passionate as Chung's,  it's more brooding. It's quite different but equally valid and excellant. Also where Kang is tentative, Kavakos is assured. Note that the pace is significantly slower than Chung's, the timings of each movement are 15:23/16:57, 8:04/10:07, and 7:22/8:15. Also the orchestra isn't as clear as on the Chung. None the less this is an exceptional performance.

Kyung Wha Chung, LSO, Previn  (Decca)

Clarity of the orchestra and violin is really good, a delight to listen to although the soloist is more prominent than realistic. Kyung Wha Chung's playing has a tension, a sense of urgency and passion and a wide range of emotions where appropriate. The orchestra complements her performance throughout making for a wonderful overall experience.

This is my favorite version, I prefer the more up front and clear recording and more passionate performance. However I would be happy to listen to Kavakos.

 

FWIW,

 

O.

post #2 of 13
Heifetz with Hendl / Chicago wipes the floor with this particular work. No one else comes remotely close.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Heifetz with Hendl / Chicago wipes the floor with this particular work. No one else comes remotely close.

 

Your opinion isn't necessarily held by others. Take a look at the opinions here

 

Heifetz gets some mentions but also some quite negative comments:

 

e.g.

 

"Anything but Heifetz"

 

"Ilove the sibelius concerto no matter who plays it except for Heifetz... Im sorry i think Heifetz is great in general but to me it was horrible"

 

"Sorry,Heifetz is not the obvious choice for this concerto."

 

FWIW,

 

O.

post #4 of 13
There are two Heifetz versions. One is the first recording of the work in 1935 and the other is a Living Stereo release in the late 50s. They are both definitive. I could quote you plenty of REAL music critics speaking about it instead of a bunch of armchair experts on a discussion board, but instead, I'll just suggest that until you've heard it, you shouldn't comment on it.

I have about 8 versions of the Sibelius concerto, including many of the ones you mention. I'm not speaking from ignorance here myself.
Edited by bigshot - 8/12/13 at 11:16pm
post #5 of 13

Interesting comparison.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omphalopsychite View Post

 

Your opinion isn't necessarily held by others. Take a look at the opinions here

 

There's also a few people who list Heifetz among their top picks over there.

 

Opinions of others don't really matter anyways, the only thing that counts is what speaks to you.

 

I would put a vote in for Oistrakh/Rozhdestvensky (if you can find it). Very earthy conception of this work.

post #6 of 13
I have thirteen versions and have no intention of looking for a "definitive" version; that would just be lazy "pigeon holing". As I see it, floor wiping is for mops biggrin.gif
 
BTW in UK I see we have at least three recordings with Heifetz available to order with Beecham, Hendl and Mitropoulos conducting.
post #7 of 13
I have the Oistrakh. That one is excellent.

With the Heifetz, Beecham is the 1935, Mitropoulos is a live recording (haven't heard it), the Hendl is a beautifully recorded Living Stereo album. If you want just one by Heifetz that's the one to get.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've been listening to classical music for half a century and I have learned that I can tell if I enjoy a piece far better than REAL music critics.   I have listened to the Heifetz/Beecham version and although it may be thought of as definitive by some it simply wasn't at all engaging to me.   Perhaps, like the armchair experts,  I am just not sophisticated enough to appreciate it. tongue.gif

 

Fortunately the Kavakos and Chung performances elicit a visceral response for me, I ENJOY them.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drosera View Post

Interesting comparison.

 

 

There's also a few people who list Heifetz among their top picks over there.

 

Opinions of others don't really matter anyways, the only thing that counts is what speaks to you.

 

I would put a vote in for Oistrakh/Rozhdestvensky (if you can find it). Very earthy conception of this work.

 

A few people, no where near the number one might expect for a supposedly definitive version that wipes the floor

 

Thanks for the recommendation of the Oistrakh.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjackson View Post

I have thirteen versions and have no intention of looking for a "definitive" version; that would just be lazy "pigeon holing". As I see it, floor wiping is for mops biggrin.gif

 

beerchug.gif


Edited by Omphalopsychite - 8/13/13 at 3:05pm
post #9 of 13
Have you heard the stereo version I suggested? Perhaps it's the sound quality affecting your impression, not the performance.

Heifetz is known for his electrifying performance in this piece. The Prokofiev is just as famous.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Have you heard the stereo version I suggested? Perhaps it's the sound quality affecting your impression, not the performance.

 

No, if I do run across one I'll give it a listen. No doubt the sound quality of the Heifetz/Beecham I heard did have a negative effect. 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omphalopsychite View Post
 

 

No, if I do run across one I'll give it a listen. No doubt the sound quality of the Heifetz/Beecham I heard did have a negative effect. 

 

Did you listen to Vilde Frang? I like it

 

post #12 of 13

I like the Heifetz version, to me technically perfect.

For a modern romantic version with excellent sound quality try Lisa Batiashvili.

post #13 of 13

No one plays it like Heifetz, and I prefer the later version. For fun, watch a 15 year old Hilary Hahn:

 

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Sibelius Violin Concerto: Impressions of several performances