Stern: Tchaikovsky & Mendelssohn Violin Concertos (rec. 1958) - Columbia MS 6062
Jacket VG+ / LP NM / US pressing
This handsome LP from Columbia Masterworks (MS 6062, US pressing, gray “360 Sound” label, stereo) features Isaac Stern’s high-octane and impassioned accounts of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35 and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor Op. 64, both recorded with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Broadwood Hotel, Philadelphia on 23 March 1958. Boasting superlative sonics, this album has been the subject of audiophile re-issues on both LP and CD.
Wrote T.H. in his January 1960 review for The Gramophone:
“Stern is very much at home in the Tchaikovsky and gives a romantic, dashing performance full of beautiful and dazzling playing, ending with a finale that starts off at something most violinists would call a prestissimo and ending at a speed that can only be called fantastic.
“The orchestra accompanies very well (apart from some sluggish under-strings at the start) and the sound maintains its good quality right to the end. In fact, I enjoyed all this greatly.
“An earlier recording of the Mendelssohn by Stern was reviewed by A.P. rather unfavourably when it appeared in 1953 and I imagine he would think much the same of this new issue. There is still a lack of tenderness in parts of the first movement, while Stern's playing of the central andante is really prosaic: and the finale is treated as a chance for violin virtuosity without conveying the delicacy of the music. Yet while all that is true, the performance as a whole is not anything like as unsuccessful as those remarks make it sound. There is no doubt that Stern is far more at home in the Tchaikovsky but the Mendelssohn is good enough to make this an acceptable coupling of two popular concertos for its standards of playing and recording are high.”
Incidentally, the striking cover design was executed by M. Germann. There are excellent liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, printed in English only.
Incidentally, the striking cover photo of Stern was taken by Gjon Mill. There are informative and eloquent liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket by Charles Burr, printed in English only.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD+. There is minor wear at corners and discoloration along the edges, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects and the album remains solid, bright, and highly attracitve – overall, an excellent collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not absolutely silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a NM collector's copy.