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daco

2021 Listening Project - Jan 1

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Johannes Brahms
Violin Concerto
Isabelle Faust, violin
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Daniel Harding, conductor

I purchased this recently with a gift card from Target, of all places. I also own the Heifetz 1955 recording, which I have listened to many times, so it's difficult to evaluate this one on it's own merits without comparing to the Heifetz.
The tempos seem slower, but I think I need to listen again a few times to decide whether or not I like that. Some of the orchestral parts of the beginning of the third movement are much more clearly articulated in the Faust recording, which I liked. Faust apparently uses a different cadenza in the first movement - one by Busoni, whereas I believe Heifetz used his own cadenza. I again need to listen again to see what I really think of the Busoni, but a strange thing is that in this recording a timpani is playing a low rumble throughout the cadenza. On first listen I wasn't a fan.

I also wasn't happy with the volume level of the solo violin. It seemed too soft relative to the orchestra.

I plan on listening to this a few more times.

Update: I listened to this again on Jan 10, admittedly while cooking dinner, so not able to give it my full attention. But I feel even more strongly now about the strange mixing that pushes the orchestra too much to the forefront. At times I found myself straining to hear the violin, which is not a good thing in a Violin Concerto. It's too bad, because the Faust/Harding interpretation, particularly in the 3rd movement, is clearly different from the Heifetz/Reiner ... who knows, if the sound was better, maybe I'd come to enjoy this one more! As it is, I don't think I'll be listening to this much again.

It's quite unusual for me to take a disliking to a recording in this way.

Edward Elgar
Pomp and Circumstances Marches
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Adrian Boult, conductor

I enjoyed these, but I wouldn't call this my favorite type of music. Given how famous the melody of the 1st one is, it's difficult to say which one I liked the best, but the 4th and 5th were nice too.

The wikipedia page on this composition refers to the famous part of the 1st march as the Trio, so I guess I would like to better understand why that term means, and why is it applicable here.
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