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Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich Violin Concertos.

Ilya Gringolt, violin; Itzhak Perlman, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. DG 289 471 616-2.

I really don't mean to be petty about this, but when people such as Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have to start making recordings on their own label because BMG practically stopped recording classical music, and when Jeanne Lamon and her Tafelmusik orchestra have to record for a small Canadian label because Sony also practically stopped recording classical music, then you have to hope that an 18-year-old violinist knows how lucky he is to be recording with a major conductor on a major label.

There's enormous competition out there for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and a good deal for the Shostakovich, too. So one has to wonder why any buyer would want to spend good money on a disc from so young a performer when there are so many older, more mature virtuosos who have recorded both works, including the conductor of these performances, Itzhak Perlman. Certainly, young Mr. Gringolt is a wonderful violinist, but still in his teens is he ready to compete with the older boys? And when you consider that DG's recording is ordinary at best, one doesn't even have the audiophile angle to consider.

Let's say this is a competent performance by a competent artist in a competent-sounding recording. Maybe people will buy it for the Shostakovich coupling, a performance that won Gringolt the Paganini Competition in Italy in 1998. Maybe, too, people will buy it if only to own the first recording of a person who may turn out to be one of the great violinists of the twenty-first century. Of course, he's neither Asian nor pretty, so he's got two strikes against him right there. Seriously, competition is heavy in the classical world, and I sincerely wish him the best of success. He appears to have the talent to make it.
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Author:Puccio, John
Publication:Sensible Sound
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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Next Article:Toch: Cello Concerto; Tanz-Suite.

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