- Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
- Concerto for violin, cello, & orchestra in A minor ("Double"), Op. 102
This stirring Brahms Violin Concerto, with soloist Gil Shaham and the Berlin Philharmonic led by Claudio Abbado, was recorded live at the Philharmonic's home in May 2000, and from the first phrase, one can tell the performance was something special. Abbado begins at a relatively fast clip, generating a heightened sense of expectancy from the outset. And this intensity remains throughout the movement, which clocks in a couple of minutes ahead of the usual mark. Shaham's playing is nothing short of dazzling, superbly controlled, with a shimmering tone and a sense of urgency to every phrase. The Adagio, too, wastes no time, though the Berlin's winds have plenty of opportunity to shine in the opening serenade, and if the tempo of the Allegro finale is more traditional, it lacks nothing in exhilaration. The less-often-performed Double Concerto is the companion piece, a studio recording with cellist Jian Wang joining in. It may lack the frisson of a live performance, but it is eloquently turned nonetheless, with a lovely Andante of songlike beauty, and with the Gypsy-themed Vivace closing the concerto with the warm glow of an ember.