Recently the fifth album in a great series of unique live recordings was released by the former Dutch Jazz Archive (now: MCN) in its series Jazz at the Concertgebouw. Previous releases contained live recordings by Chet Baker (1955), Gerry Mulligan (1956), J.J. Johnson (1957) and Sarah Vaughan (1958), all originally recorded by Lou Van Rees, then Holland's most well-known producer. The Mengelberg-Noordijk album is the first one which features a Dutch quartet, a legendary group with a certain presence: the Misha Mengelberg - Piet Noordijk Quartet.
Rossini himself described these works as «six dreadful sonatas, composed by me on holiday at the home (near Ravenna) of my Maecenas friend Agostino Triossi when I was at a most infantile age, not even having taken a lesson in accompaniment.» Written at the age of twelve, as if only for the pleasure of it, in only three days with an ease reminiscent of Mozart, these compositions exude an entrancing, naive freshness.
Many people have accused the Maisky interpretation of the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites as "romanticized." I have just two words for Maisky's critics: "So What?". What truly matters is that Mischa Maisky is the most energetic and most original devotee of Bach. His version of the Bach Cello Suites is not only the best in the market today, but more importantly, demonstrates that music should be played by an artist, not for the sake of accuracy, but for the purpose of art and its resulting empathy which infuses the audience.
The violin concertos of Belgian-born composer/virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps have been recorded by various players, including the young Russian-American virtuoso Misha Keylin heard here. But these shorter pieces, which would have been the stock-in-trade of Vieuxtemps' active touring life (during one American tour he made 121 appearances in six months, without benefit of planes, automobiles, or in many cases trains), are a good deal rarer. They don't have the main virtue of the concertos, which is that there's a certain amount of structural interest to go with the Paganini-like fireworks, but they're a great deal of fun.