S0154. NATHAN MILSTEIN: Concert Performances & Broadcasts, 1942-69, incl. Partita #2 in d; Sonata #1 in g (both Bach, from studio recordings, 1935/'36, resp.); 3 Caprices, Op.10 (Paganini), (German Radio); Concerto #4 in D, K.218 (Mozart), (w.Schuricht Cond. Swiss-Italian Radio Orch.); Concerto #5 in A, K.219 (Mozart); Concerto #1 in D (Prokofiev), (both w.Ansermet Cond. Suisse Romande Orch., 19 Oct., 1960); Concerto #4 in D, K.218 (Mozart); Concerto in g (Bruch), (both w.Albin Cond. Strasbourg RSO, 7 June, 1969); Concerto in a (Dvorák), (w.Kletzki Cond. Kölner Gürzenich Orch., 14 Sept., 1956); Concerto in D (Brahms), (w.Monteux Cond. Concertgebouw Orch., 12 Oct., 1950); Concerto in a (Goldmark), (w.Walter Cond. NYPO, 1 Nov., 1942); Concerto in D (Beethoven), (w.Maazel Cond. ORTF, 24 June, 1959). 4-Music & Arts 972. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 017685097225
"This cache of live Milstein material demonstrates the uniformly high standard he maintained throughout his career. Almost unique in his digital and technical mastery at an advanced age, Milstein's interpretative understanding was no less sovereign, no less remarkable. There are nearly five hours of concerti here; with the addition of the commercial 1935 Columbia set of the second Partita; and not one of the performances is without distinct fascination".
[In] the Bruch Concerto in G all the accustomed romantic affiliations are here; the daring portamenti in the opening phrases, the spot-on intonation, and the rapt intensity of the Adagio. Added to which there is the frisson of a live performance and Milstein was always at his most communicatively commanding on stage. The little piquancies of colour, expressive pointing and portamento usage all mark this out as a delightful interpretation and the finale is spirited and alive.
This Brahms Violin Concerto receives a splendidly masculine performance, with strong attacks and elegantly phrased, frequently powerful with some rhythmic give and take in the opening paragraphs; how wonderfully and watchfully Monteux's corrals his orchestral forces and maintains and sustains a flexible control over the score. There were surely few conductors who knew so expertly how to lighten Brahmsian texture as Monteux and his exceptional affinities are plainly on view here. The Goldmark by which he is best known is the Bruno Walter-led 1942 New York traversal, the earliest broadcast performance in this Music and Arts set. It's pretty wonderful. Chaste, rapt with a vibrato of medium speed and delicacy, Milstein's opening movement is beautifully modulated. There isn't the burnished, voluptuous intensity of Heifetz, who recorded only the Andante commercially, but Milstein brings his own glorious elegance to the work. In the Air he is indeed very beautiful, with expressive depth and obvious is truly eloquent and virtuosic.
Milstein decorates his line [in the Beethoven Concerto] with piquant and very quick slides and imparts a silvery elegance to the first movement. Subtlety of rhythmic displacement is ever present, as are variational phrasing of repeated figures, preparation for the second subject with great care, and above all an aristocracy of conception, which as we always see with him is a prime component of Milstein's art. As ever he plays his own cadenzas, which are most attractive. He and Maazel conjure up a sympathetically prayerful repose in the second movement; its rather seraphic innocence would not be sympathetic to a violinist of another stamp. Milstein bows lightly, precisely, his vibrato beautifully modulated and capable of subtle variations of speed and pressure, as always.
The documentation is by the dean of American violin writers, the late Henry Roth, who writes with his accustomed acumen and occasional acerbity on all aspects of Milstein's musicianship, documented through his commercial recordings. He leaves one in no doubt as to the elevated place Milstein occupies in the history of twentieth-century music making. This set, so handsomely produced, documents that consistent elevation faithfully."
- Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb-International