Ludwig Van Beethoven Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major op.61

W.A. Mozart Violin Concerto No 5 in A major, K.219

Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Violin

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eugen Jochum (Beethoven) and Wolfgang Schneiderhan (Mozart)

DG 447 403-2(ADD)

Playing time: 74:36

Mozart was the composer said to have a direct compositional connection to God, but with this recent Deutsche Grammophon "The Originals" release, violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan makes a compelling case that Mozart was not alone. Beethoven's Violin Concerto is one of the most sublime works in the classical repertoire, and it is amply demonstrated with this new reissue by DG. The performance, one of the most famous on record, has been remastered using DG's "Original-Image-Bit-Processing" digital mixdown. This process was developed in conjunction with the "4D" technique that Deutsche Grammophon use on their recent CD's.

As listener, you are given a fairly close seat to the stage , with Schneiderhan placed directly in front of the orchestra. The Berlin Philharmonic are set in a wide soundstage that will extend the boundaries of your speakers. The strings, timpani and horns are well preserved, with the rest of the winds slightly less so. The soundstage is not particularly deep, but is still quite believable within the bounds of the Jesus-Christus Church in Berlin.
Beethoven/Mozart Cover

Let me say that I fully agree with legendary moniker of these recordings. Schneiderhan is one of those rare artists that convey the essence of the music. Tempos are perfectly judged and are shared with a purity of sound that is beguiling. Subtle rubato is used to great effect throughout the first two movements, and the Rondo is paced to perfection in order to allow the concerto to follow its logical conclusion.

Wolfgang Schneiderhan uses his own cadenzas adapted from Beethoven's piano arrangement of the Violin Concerto. He shines in these unique adaptations, and the timpani, so crucial in this work, are used to wonderful effect.

Eugen Jochum and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are stellar accompanists. The depth of string tone and tuning of the winds are constant joys in these performances. The timpanist, who plays a pivotal role in the Beethoven, is outstanding. To hear a truly great string section, turn up the volume and listen to the first movement reprise of the opening tutti played fortissimo. Magnificent.

Mozart's Violin Concerto No 5, while lighter in tone, if not spirit, compared to the Beethoven Violin Concerto, is also given a great performance. This 1967 recording, made five years after the Beethoven, is a model of delicacy and taste. The Schneiderhan sound is back, with flawless intonation and effortless phrasing. Elegance and true musical pleasure are your rewards in this performance.

"The Originals" reissues are a wonderful opportunity for collectors to obtain many legendary performances at mid-price. I urge all lovers of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, no matter which recording(s) you own , to seek out Schneiderhan and company. Understated genius awaits you. Highly recommended.

-- Anthony Kershaw