Wednesday, 8 October 2003

Sat back yesterday evening and listened to the new CD of Felicity Lott singing Chausson, Ravel and Duparc (Poème de l'Amour et de la Mer, Shéhérazade, and three of Duparc's Mélodies). Didn't get to the Ravel, but the Chausson and Duparc were truly superb (Armin Jordan and Suisse Romande Orchestra, recorded in 2000 and 2002). I have a soft spot for the French post-Romantics. And, I must say, Lott's French language comes over very well indeed – unusually well for a non-French native. I think this is a CD that is going to be spinning regularly for me, rather like that of Lisa della Casa singing the Vier Letzte Lieder.

Sunday, 5 October 2003

This weekend, re-discovered Milstein from the latest Naxos re-issue (Obert-Thorn transfers). An incredible Mendelssohn violin concerto (1945, New York), Bruch violin concerto (1942, New York) and Tchaikovsky violin concerto ((1940, Chicago). The Mendelssohn is fleet of foot and entirely admirable. The violin tone in these recordings is really extremely lifelike and “undigital”. Orchestras are a bit dim, and soloist a bit too far forward, but otherwise one can just sit back and listen with enjoyment. Milstein is a violinist I have usually respected rather than admired. But these three concertos show very clearly why he is always considered to be one of the last century’s great violinists. And the sound is so much better than on the EMI / Capitol American re-issues of a few years ago. A great re-discovery.