Stern/Mehta: Prokofiev Violin Concertos 1 & 2 - CBS Masterworks D 37802
Jacket NM / LP NM
This handsome and elusive LP from CBS Masterworks (IM 37802, US pressing, blue/white red sash label, DDD stereo) features Isaac Stern's coruscating and poetic accounts of Prokofiev's Violin Concertos No. 1 in D Major Op. 19 and No. 2 in G minor Op. 63, made with conductor Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Avery Fischer Hall, New York, in January 1982 (producer: Steven Epstein / engineers: Bud Graham and Hank Altman).
Stern had recorded blistering accounts of these two concertos, also for Columbia, in 1956 (No. 1, with Dimitri Mitropoulos) and 1957 (No. 2, with Leonard Bernstein). Both were mono tapings and he re-made them for Columbia in stereo in 1963 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. These 1982 versions thus represent his final commercially recorded statements of these works and the veteran Stern is not upstaged by his younger self. Indeed, Stern combines a balletic sense of fantasy with brilliant panache and Mehta and the NYPO provides atmospheric accompaniment throughout – truly superb!
Incidentally, the engaging cover photo of Stern and Mehta was taken by Bill King, while the superb liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket – provided in English, German, and French – were written by the ever informative and eloquent Philip Ramey.