Bruno Walter conducts one of the great live performances
Newly transferred & remastered, the soloists shine through
Review of this release: Audiophile Audition
Notes on the recording:
This 1951 live recording was amongst a very large collection of quarter-inch tapes donated to Pristine Audio in 2007, the result of a life-time's collection of fine and rare recordings.
Of the many thousands of recordings held in this priceless archive, this one was additionally hand-annotated "The Best Performance", and thus caught my eye. Although taken from an excellent BBC rebroadcast, it was clear that the audio quality of the original recording was at times less than optimal, with the often excellent acoustic of Carnegie Hall rather poorly captured during full orchestral sections. However, the soloists were well-recorded, and much cleaning up of background hiss and rumble has been possible, together with a gentle re-equalisation through the XR remastering process which has served to bring a greater focus and clarity to the recording.
Additionally, a very short gap was evident in the original broadcast, and a single orchestral chord from a more recent recording has been seamlessly merged in from another recording to prvide continuity, having first been tonally matched to this recording. It is unclear as to whether this very short gap was present in the BBC's tape copy or was a broadcast error on the day - the music faded out for about half a second, partway through an orchestral section of the first movement, and then faded quiickly back in.
Some residual tape hiss is still evident during quieter sections of the recording, but should not serve as a distraction from this 'best performance', a sentiment it's hard to disagree with!
Brahms - Double Concerto, Op. 102
notes from Wikipedia
The Double Concerto in A minor (Op. 102) by Johannes Brahms is a concerto for violin, cello and orchestra. Composed in the summer of 1887, and first performed on 18 October of that year, it was Brahms' final work for orchestra. Brahms, approaching the project with anxiety over writing for instruments that were not his own, wrote it for the cellist Robert Hausmann and his old estranged friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. The concerto was, in part, a gesture of reconciliation towards Joachim, after their long friendship had ruptured following Joachim's divorce from his wife Amalie. Brahms had sided with Amalie in the dispute, and this led to the estrangement between Brahms and Joachim. The Double Concerto acted as a form of musical reconciliation. The concerto also makes use of the musical motif A-E-F, a permutation of F-A-E, which stood for a personal motto of Joachim, frei aber einsam ("free but lonely").
The composition consists of three movements in the fast-slow-fast pattern typical of classical instrumental concertos:
1. Allegro (A minor)
2. Andante (D major)
3. Vivace non troppo (A minor → A major)
Joachim and Hausmann repeated the concerto, with Brahms at the podium, several times in its initial 1887-88 season, and Brahms gave the manuscript to Joachim, with the inscription "To him for whom it was written." Clara Schumann reacted unfavourably to the concerto, considering the work "not brilliant for the instruments". Richard Specht also thought critically of the concerto, describing it as "one of Brahms' most inapproachable and joyless compositions". Brahms had sketched a second concerto for violin and cello but destroyed his notes in the wake of its cool reception. Later critics have warmed to it: Donald Francis Tovey wrote of the concerto as having "vast and sweeping humour". It has always been hampered by its requirement for two brilliant and equally matched soloists.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Concerto_(Brahms)
Leonard Rose, cellist
notes from Wikipedia
Leonard Rose (July 27, 1918 – November 16, 1984) was a great American cellist, considered one of the most important pedagogues of the 20th century.
Rose's parents emigrated from Kiev, Ukraine and Leonard was born in Washington, D.C.. Rose took lessons from Walter Grossman, Frank Miller and Felix Salmond and after completing his studies at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music at age 20, he joined Arturo Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra, and almost immediately became associate principal. At 21 he was principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra and at 26 was the principal of the New York Philharmonic.
He made many recordings as a soloist after 1951, including concertos with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, George Szell and Bruno Walter among others. Rose also joined with Isaac Stern and Eugene Istomin in a celebrated piano trio.
Rose's legacy as a teacher remains to this day: his students from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute and Ivan Galamian's Meadowmount Summer School fill the sections of many American orchestras, notably those of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. His pupils include Lori Singer, Raymond Davis, Desmond Hoebig, Peter Stumpf, Fred Sherry, Christopher von Baeyer, Myung-wha Chung, Thomas Demenga, Stephen Kates, Lynn Harrell, Yehuda Hanani, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Bruce Uchimura, Donald Whitton, Yo-Yo Ma, Ronald Leonard, Steven Pologe, Sara Sant'Ambrogio, Matt Haimovitz, Richard Hirschl, and John Sant’Ambrogio. He played an Amati cello dated 1662, played today by Gary Hoffman. Rose died in White Plains, New York, of leukemia.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Rose
Notes on the 24-bit download: Please see this page for test files and further information regarding this format. Although restoration work is done at a sample rate of 44.1kHz, we have upsampled the final 24-bit master to 48kHz for additional replay compatibility of our FLAC download.
Our twenty-four bit FLAC downloads can be replayed in full quality using a standard DVD video player, a DVD writer and an inexpensive piece of PC software - see here for more information about replay from Video DVD discs.
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