Hailed by the press as “the definitive video production” of Tchaikovsky’s music, this exceptional concert series, recorded live from the Alte Oper Frankfurt, features the leading Russian conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra. Fedoseyev’s perceptive reading of the works of his fellow countryman, the masterly playing of the orchestra and guest soloists combine to produce performances which are revelatory in their execution and understanding of Tchaikovsky’s music and the Russian heritage.
While not technically awful, Jascha Heifetz's 1955 recording of Brahms' Violin Concerto with Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony is still close to unbearable. By 1955, Heifetz's once sinewy tone had tightened, his once supple technique had hardened, and his once warm interpretation had grown cold. With the never sinewy, supple, or warm Fritz Reiner, Heifetz creates a performance of Brahms' lyrical masterpiece that grates on the sensibilities.
When I first put this disc in the player, I wondered if I would really enjoy it. I had just listened to a performance of the Tchaikovsky played by Sviatoslav Richter accompanied by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Evgeny Mravinsky. Obviously, the first characteristic was a vast improvement in the recording quality over the mono Russian recording (Leningrad, 1957). As the new disc got underway I was very pleasantly surprised, as André Watts, although not Richter, gave a very proficient and exciting reading.
What makes these performances stand out is Ott's thoughtful approach to both concertos, eschewing empty display and bringing weight, detail and a range of colours to the solo parts.