Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

by Jennifer Frautschi
     
 

Artek Recordings is a low-key indie with a modest website -- there is no "About us" on the webpage and the prompt that leads to an e-commerce link takes you to another webpage. Artek's packaging, too, is not terribly fancy; the disc under consideration has only an eight-page booklet made up of two panels. However, Artek is well distributed for a label of its means and… See more details below

Overview

Artek Recordings is a low-key indie with a modest website -- there is no "About us" on the webpage and the prompt that leads to an e-commerce link takes you to another webpage. Artek's packaging, too, is not terribly fancy; the disc under consideration has only an eight-page booklet made up of two panels. However, Artek is well distributed for a label of its means and boasts some of the most exciting concert artists on the scene -- violinists Elmar Oliveira, Aaron Rosand, and Ani Kavafian; pianists Jorge Federico Osorio and Anton Nel; and even the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz. These are artists the major labels would be recording if they were (a) not suffocating due to their own overhead and (b) genuinely in pursuit of what is relevant in classical music. While we might be intrigued by the mystique of Artek in being able to assemble such talent under its low-hanging banner, we'll nonetheless gladly accept the musical benefits thereof -- particularly when it entails being able to enjoy violinist Jennifer Frautschi in the two violin concerti of Prokofiev. California native Frautschi is an amazing talent whose career was touched off by her win of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, yet whose star seems perpetually "rising" as she struggles to get something going in a classical concert world wrestling with changing economics and the apparent demise of the "old way" of doing things. Frautschi has played with the small community orchestras as well as in the top 10 American concert halls, has a website that comes and goes, and has never recorded for a major label. Nonetheless, Frautschi continues undaunted, and this recording of the two violin concerti of Prokofiev with the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz is of the highest order. Given the dominance of David Oistrakh's heritage in the Prokofiev concerti, sensitivity has not been singled out as a hallmark of these works, even though both have potential for it -- it is the tart, acidic bite of Prokofiev's idiom that is retained more readily than his lyricism. Not only does Frautschi achieve a feeling of depth and sensitivity in the slow movements, as expected, it is no small miracle in that she finds warmth and heart in the more challenging outer movements as well. While it is not likely that Frautschi's interpretations of these concerti will earn her a Rosette in the Penguin Guide, it would be worthy of one were the deck not so stacked against small labels in such publications, as Frautschi's is truly a unique perspective on the work. Frautschi's performance is given just the right kind of support by Schwarz and Seattle, who provide plenty of room for Frautschi to step out but do not neglect to lend support where it is needed. Schwarz in particular seems excited by Frautschi's conception and contributes a committed and involved accompaniment. Made in Benaroya Hall in Seattle, the recording is close and not very reverberant, a refreshing change from the usual -- the soloist is up and personal, and the orchestra rises up to meet her at the appropriate spots. Jennifer Frautschi and Seattle's recording of the Prokofiev concerti is an excellent effort that easily repays one's diligence in locating a copy.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2005
Label:
Artek
UPC:
0661853002025
catalogNumber:
20
Rank:
359235

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19  - Sergey Prokofiev  - Gerard Schwarz  -  Seattle Symphony Orchestra  - Jennifer Frautschi  - James Manly  - Carrie Singer
  2. Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63  - Sergey Prokofiev  - Gerard Schwarz  -  Seattle Symphony Orchestra  - Jennifer Frautschi  - James Manly  - Carrie Singer

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