Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto No. 1

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COMPOSERS: Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 1
PERFORMER: Julian Rachlin (violin)Moscow RSO/Vladimir Fedoseyev
The twenty-year-old Julian Rachlin, in childhood a Jewish emigré from the Soviet Union, joins with an ex-Soviet orchestra and conductor for this recording. Prokofiev’s work, first performed by Szigeti in 1923, has surely never been more thrillingly, more convincingly given than here. I retain just a suspicion that the recording depresses the orchestral volume in some tutti passages. Rachlin’s splendid resource of technique and tone, including a varied vibrato, are likewise shown in the Tchaikovsky. But an extra note intrudes (at 1:18 mins) as the soloist announces the main lyrical theme of the first movement: an open D is inadvertently sounded in the rise from low A to F sharp. Were this not a ‘live’ recording, a retake would have been demanded. In the finale (at molto meno mosso) the woodwind ornamentations are sloppy. Otherwise highly enjoyable: Rachlin is a model in observing the portamento indications without swoopy-soupy exaggeration. The total time-span is shortish for a CD. Arthur Jacobs