Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64. SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin
Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 77
Hilary Hahn, violinist; Oslo Philharmonic Orch/Hugh Wolff (Mendelssohn)
and Marek Janowski, cond.
SONY SS 89921 TT: 63:50 (5 channel)
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Another impressive recording by Hilary Hahn to add to her previous superb
versions of concertos of Barber, Beethoven, Brahms and Stravinsky (as well
as Bernstein's Serenade). Her playing of Mendelssohn's
concerto is cool, elegant perfection - but the real prize of this disk is
her dazzling performance of the Shostakovich which apparently is one of
her favorite works. Premiered in 1955 with David Oistrakh as
soloist, this concerto has been reviewed twice on this site (Oistrakh
with Mitropoulos conducting (REVIEW); another
version by Vladimir Spivakov with James Conlon on the podium (REVIEW).
Recorded in 2002 in the Oslo Concert House with Thomas Frost as producer
and Arne Akselberg as engineer, Sony's sound picture is rather distant,
clear and resonant with Hahn not overly prominent, the rear channels
providing unobtrusive ambient sound.
"Far More Drums"
Traditional music; works of Rouse, Hohner, Peck, Nishimura and Tanaka
Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble
DMP SACD 10 TT: 45:52 (5.1 channel)
This impressive issue has the rather strange title Far More Drums. There
are 26 performers involved; it would have been helpful if a list of all
percussion instruments used in the recording were identified - although
some are listed for each track. Thus we know that Lift-Off, composed
by Russell Peck, features three percussionists performing on three identically
tuned sets of three bass drums, producing a rather awesome and varied sonic
panorama. Ogoun Badagris by Christopher Rouse is a violent Voodoo
dance with conga drums, metal plates, sleigh bells and a casaba. All
eight tracks offer stimulating listening, with an astonishing range of percussive
sounds, beautifully recorded in multi-channel with most of the action
in front, ambience from the sides. Much of this might be too cacophonous
for some listeners, but it surely will show off your sound system. It's
unfortunate the playing time of the CD is so short.