CHOPIN: Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35. Polonaise in A, Op. 40
No. 1. Polonaise in F-sharp Minor, Op. 44. Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53.
Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat, Op. 64. Fantasie-Impromptu, Op. 66. Scherzo
No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20.
BACH: Concerto in F, BWV 971 "Italian." Partita No. 1 in B flat, BWV
825. Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 827. Concerto in F, BWV 971 "Italian"
(l981 version). Concerto in D minor after Marcello, BWV 974. Chromatic
Fantasy in D minor, BWV 903a
GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue. An American in Paris. Concerto in F.
LALO: Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21. BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G
minor, Op. 26.
SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 99. TCHAIKOVSKY:
Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35.
Sony/BMG's latest reissues in their Great Performances series contains a number of important releases, notably David Oistrakh's 1956 recording with Dimitri Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 made shortly after the American premiere. Oistrakh had given the world premiere a few months earlier in Leningrad; a recording was made at the time, and there also is available a live BBC performance from 1962 with Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the Philharmonia Orchestra. But this one is special, and the only mono recording in this batch—however, Columbia's engineers did an excellent job recording in Carnegie Hall and I doubt anyone would be disappointed in sound quality. The coupling, a dynamic account of Tchaikovsky's concerto was made December 12, 1959, in Broadwood Hotel, and is in excellent stereo, sounding better than ever in this high-quality remastering.
Glenn Gould's all-Bach disk features two versions of the Italian concerto, one recorded in 1959, the other in August 1981 in Toronto, a year before he died. All of these recordings have been issued before, some at budget price, but admirers of the pianist probably will wish to have this generous collection for its remastered sound. The same justifies the Horowitz Chopin collection recorded from 1962-1971. Horowitz had recorded all of these works previously; of particular interest is his only recording of the Op. 66 Impromptu, recorded in Carnegie Hall in 1966. Sonic quality on this disk is outstanding: the rich, thrilling Horowitz sound has been vividly recreated (how unfortunate that the new Sony Liszt recital by Arcadi Volodos doesn't have this kind of sound!).
Leonard Bernstein's 1958-59 Gershwin recordings, recorded in Brooklyn's St. George Hotel, are self-recommending and sound better than ever. A plus is the 1960 recording of Concerto in F with Gershwin specialists André Previn and Andre Kostelanetz. Isaac Stern's recordings of Lalo and Bruch were made in 1967-1966 and show the master violinist at his peak, with Ormandy's usual sensitive accompaniments. All at mid-price, this batch of reissues is highly recommended.
R.E.B. (July 2007)