Jean Martinon, Vol. XIII;  Itzhak Perlman  (Prokofiev) - Chicago  (St Laurent Studio YSL T-1293)
Item# C2000
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Jean Martinon, Vol. XIII;  Itzhak Perlman  (Prokofiev) - Chicago  (St Laurent Studio YSL T-1293)
C2000. JEAN MARTINON Cond. Chicago Orch.: Symphony #5 in B-flat - Live Performance, 1 Feb., 1968, Orchestra Hall; w. ITZHAK PERLMAN: Violin Concerto #2 in g - Live Performance, 11 May, 1967, Orchestra Hall (both Prokofiev). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-1293. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.


"Ever since he began laying the foundations of what was to become one of the greatest recorded catalogues ever constructed by a violinist, Itzhak Perlman has demonstrated his fondness for the music of Prokofiev. In 1966, while under contract to RCA, he made his first recording of the Second Violin Concerto (with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf). Three years later, he joined forces with Vladimir Ashkenazy to record the composer's two sonatas for violin and piano. Then, in 1976, he added the Sonata for two violins to the list, this time in partnership with Pinchas Zukerman for EMI. By contrast, he had left no trace of the Sonata for solo violin or the Five Melodies.

It was Joseph Szigeti who first championed the work, and who made the first recording - for Columbia, in 1935. Writing about Prokofiev later in his life, he mentioned how strange it seemed to him that both critics and the composer himself put so much emphasis on the grotesque, ironic and sardonic elements of his music, while paying so little attention to the purely magical side of much of his work: The marking of the lovely melody at the beginning of the First Violin Concerto - sognando - gave me a clue to the daydreaming expression of the little boy listening to a story feeling of this exposition. And it was only later, when I heard authentic reports of his mother's near-genius for storytelling and of his intensely affectionate attachment to her, that I realised that Prokofiev's propensity for storytelling in music may have had its roots in those childhood impressions."

- Jean-Michel Molkhou

"In the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Itzhak Perlman has been acclaimed as being among the leading violinists before the public, and, without doubt, has been the most visible of them in media venues, from recordings and radio broadcasts to television and film appearances. No other concert violinist and few other serious musicians have achieved the widespread exposure and popularity attained by Perlman.

He enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music, studying with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay. He made his official debut in 1963 at Carnegie Hall with a performance of the f-sharp minor Wieniawski Concerto and went on to win the Leventritt Competition, one of whose prizes was an appearance with the New York Philharmonic, then led by Leonard Bernstein. After these triumphs Perlman was taken on by impresario Sol Hurok and given a heavy schedule of concerts in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Israel over the coming years. He also began making recordings with RCA and would eventually sign contracts with EMI, Sony, Teldec, and others. Perlman had begun teaching as well, and in 1975 took a faculty post at Brooklyn College. By 1990 Perlman had performed with virtually every major orchestra in the world and with almost every important conductor."

- Robert Cummings,

“In the words of one of his biographers, conductor Jean Martinon's performances ‘were distinguished by a concern for translucent orchestral textures, and sustained by a subtle sense of rhythm and phrasing’. Occasionally ‘he stressed a poetic inflection at the expense of literal accuracy’.

Martinon's first instrument was the violin; he studied at the Lyons Conservatory (1924-1925), then transferred to the Paris Conservatory, where he wo n first prize in violin upon his graduation in 1928. He subsequently studied composition with Albert Roussel, and conducting with Charles Munch and Roger Désormière. Until the outbreak of World War II Martinon was primarily a composer. His early substantial works include a Symphoniette for piano, percussion, and strings (1935); Symphony #1 (1936); Concerto giocoso for violin and orchestra (1937); and a wind quintet (1938). At the start of the war he was drafted into the French army. Taken prisoner in 1940, he passed the next two years in a Nazi labor camp. There, he wrote 'Stalag IX’ (Musique d'exil), an orchestral piece incorporating elements of jazz; during his internment, he also composed several religious works, including ’Absolve’, ‘Domine’ for male chorus and orchestra, and ‘Psalm 136’ (Chant des captifs), the latter receiving a composition prize from the city of Paris in 1946.

Upon his release from the Nazi camp Martinon became conductor of the Bordeaux Symphony Orchestra (from 1943 to 1945) and assistant conductor of the Paris Conservatory Orchestra (from 1944 to 1946), then associate conductor of the London Philharmonic (from 1947 to 1949). He toured as a guest conductor as well, although his U.S. debut did not come until 1957, with the Boston Symphony giving the American premiere of his Symphony #2. Although he devoted as much time as he could to composing in the early postwar years -- producing a string quartet (1946), an ‘Irish’ Symphony (1948), the ballet ‘Ambohimang’a (1946), and the opera HÉCUBE (1949-1954) -- he was increasingly occupied with conducting, working with the Concerts Lamoureux (from 1951 to 1957), the Israel Philharmonic (from 1957 to 1959), and Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra (from 1960 to 1966). Martinon resumed his career as a composer around 1960, writing his Violin Concerto #2 (1960) for Henryk Szeryng, his Cello Concerto (1964) for Pierre Fournier, and his Symphony #4 (‘Altitudes’), composed in 1965, for the 75th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony. He acknowledged Prokofiev and Bartók as strong influences on his scores, which meld Expressionism with French Neoclassicism. Martinon continued composing into the 1970s, but he seldom recorded any of his own music, with the notable exceptions of the Second Symphony, ‘Hymne à la vie’ (ORTF, for Barclay Inedits) and Fourth Symphony, ‘Altitudes"’ (Chicago SO, for RCA).

In 1963, he succeeded Fritz Reiner as head of the Chicago Symphony. Martinon's tenure there was difficult. In five seasons he conducted 60 works by modern European and American composers, and made a number of outstanding LPs for RCA, mostly of bracing twentieth century repertory in audiophile sound. Chicago's conservative music lovers soon sent him packing.

Martinon jumped at the chance to take over the French National Radio Orchestra in 1968; working with this ensemble he recorded almost the entire standard French repertory for Erato and EMI. His earlier Erato efforts that focused on such secondary but nevertheless interesting figures as Roussel, Pierné, and Dukas, whereas EMI assigned him integral sets of the Saint-Saëns symphonies and the orchestral works of Debussy and Ravel, among other projects. In 1974, he was appointed principal conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, but he died before that relationship could bear much fruit.”

- James Reel,