Yevgeny Mravinsky ∙ The East Berlin Concert 1956


This is a recorded live concert by Yevgeny Mravinsky and his Leningrad Philharmonic, taped in East Berlin at Deutsche Staatsoper on 25 May 1956 while they were on tour in East Germany. Mravinsky was a 100% musician down to the last hair on his body. His live performances are famous in its commitment to the music and all the risks involved in accomplishing this feat. This East German radio broadcast has never been published before.

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YEVGENY MRAVINSKY conducts Mozart, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky

Mozart: Symphony No 33 in B-flat Major, KV 319
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor, Op 99
Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini, Op 32

Leningrad Philharmonic
David Oistrakh ∙ violin (Shostakovich)
Yevgeny Mravinsky ∙ conductor

Recorded ∙ 25 May 1956 ∙ East Berlin ∙ Deutsche Staatsoper ∙ Rundfunk der DDR ∙ Live Recording

Article number: MC 5000
UPC barcode: 791154054185
Recording dates: 1956
Release date: March 2015
Total timing: 78:13
Booklet: 8 Pages
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2015 Meloclassic

June 2015 ∙ Artamag ∙ Jean-Charles Hoffelé ∙ Yevgeny Mravinsky ∙ The East Berlin 1956
Le premier est évidemment à la tête de son Orchestre Philharmonique de Leningrad lors d’une soirée au Deutsche Staatsoper de Berlin, et dans un répertoire sans surprise, déjà illustré au disque : 33e symphonie de Mozart menée grand train, un rien sèche, mais qui permet d’admirer le jeu si stylé d’un quatuor qui fit la renommée de l’orchestre. A la fin du concert, une lecture fulgurante de Francesca da Rimini rappelle que Mravinsky dirigeait son Tchaikovski en moderne : âpre, tendu, avec un sens aiguisé de l’attaque pour chaque pupitre. Mais le clou de la soirée reste une lecture tour à tour amère et glaciale du Premier Concerto de Chostakovitch où David Oïstrakh ose dans le Finale un tempo vertigineux. Très différent de la version enregistrée par les mêmes en concert à Prague avec l’Orchestre Philharmonique Tchèque.
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August 2015 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Yevgeny Mravinsky ∙ The East Berlin 1956
The conductor’s substantial discography consists mainly of live concert performances, and this one from May 1956, recorded for East German Radio, sees its first release on CD. The Mozart Symphony no. 33 is a delightfully sunny work, and isn’t performed as much as it should be. Mravinsky’s opening movement exudes elegance and charm, and the Andante is shaped with a beguiling tenderness. The ebullient finale truly smiles and is delivered with vitality and elan. The Concerto, which follows, is the most substantial work in the concert. On 29 October 1955, a year before this performance, Oistrakh, as the concerto’s dedicatee, premiered it with Mravinsky and the Leningrad orchestra. From then on it became firmly established in his repertoire. There’s a probing introspection to the brooding narrative of the opening Nocturne, and a rhythmically propulsive Scherzo follows. The Passacaglia is a noble symphonic discourse, and Oistrakh’s technically flawless cadenza ushers in a brutally-scintillating Burlesque. Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini sees Mravinsky firmly ensconced in his comfort zone. Meloclassic has provided an excellent biographical portrait of Mravinsky, and several black and white photographs capture the austere demeanour of the conductor.
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November 2015 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Yevgeny Mravinsky ∙ The East Berlin 1956
The companion disc captures Mravinsky live, on tour in East Berlin in 1956 with his Leningrad Philharmonic. Photographic evidence from the front of Meloclassic’s digipak shows that Mravinsky was physically capable of smiling. Mozart’s Symphony No.33 opens the disc. It was clearly a work he enjoyed performing, one of a relatively small number of Classical symphonies that he favoured, as he had recorded it for Melodiya in 1950. It receives a well sprung reading, with polished brass, and excellent, tight sectional discipline. Shostakovich’s A minor Concerto is played by the men who had premiered it the previous year in Leningrad. Oistrakh and Mravinsky also recorded it commercially for Melodiya in 1956, so one shouldn’t expect this East Berlin performance to be in any serious way divergent, and it’s not. However in his final years – when, for example, David Oistrakh recorded it in stereo in 1972 with his son Maxim and the New Philharmonia – his tempi had somewhat slowed, and his vibrato had widened. This East Berlin performance reinforces the astonishing virtues of the collaboration between orchestra, soloist, and conductor – a symbiotic whole, fortunately captured with excellent balance and sound. This live performance – finely annotated and engineered – is making its first ever appearance on CD, so will be welcomed by collectors, even if there is nothing new to his discography to be found here.
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