Sibelius, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Khachaturian, Berg, Ravel

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COMPOSERS: Berg,Khachaturian,Prokofiev,Ravel,Sibelius,Stravinsky
LABELS: Philips
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The 20th-Century Violin Concerto, Vol. 1
WORKS: Concerto No. 2; Tzigane
PERFORMER: Henryk Szeryng, David Oistrakh, Arthur Grumiaux; LSO/Rozhdestvensky, Dorati, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux/Haitink, Rosenthal, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra/Markevitch
CATALOGUE NO: 462 856-2 ADD Reissue (1963-67)
For the cautious, there are few more inviting avenues into 20th-century music than that of the violin concerto, well represented here in thisPhilips collection through stylistic polarities: Romantic versus (neo)Classical; Russian versus German; art music versus folk-dance and song. Fine,dare one say ‘period’ performances by Grumiaux, Oistrakh and Szeryng make interesting contrast with more contemporary readings. Awkward and at times uncomfortable, Oistrakh’s Stravinsky none the less gets closer to what the composer might have heard. Also gratifying to find is the Khachaturian concerto, exotic and vulgar, yet an importunate reminder that music need not always be great in order to be good to hear. Nicholas Williams