[An old review. We would not stand behind what we say here about the superiority of the Cisco pressing over the Shaded Dog.]
The performances here are of course extraordinary, but this has never been one of RCA’s best recordings.
The originals have more Tubey Magic; these 180 gram versions more accuracy of presentation, clarity and definition. Much less distortion too.
Notes From Cisco
It has to rate as one of the most beautiful apologies ever written. Brahms and legendary violinist Joseph Joachim were close friends and professional supporters over thirty years until the composer wrote a letter of support for Joachim’s wife Amalie, during her divorce proceedings against her husband. For six years, Joachim refused to communicate with Brahms. Heartbroken over this, the composer wrote his double concerto as an apology. It worked, to some extent, to mend their friendship. The concerto was Brahm’s last orchestral composition. The debut performance on October 18th 1887, featured the composer conducting, Joachim on violin and (another mutual friend) Robert Haussman on cello. Though not as successful a work as the two piano or the violin concertos, the Double Concerto stands as one of Brahms’ most accomplished compositions.
Jascha Heifetz, no stranger to the works of Brahms, had already recorded the Double Concerto with Emmanuel Feuermann (with Eugene Ormandy conducting) and the Violin Concerto for RCA (with Fritz Reiner conducting). He had also previously performed with his legendary neighbor Gregor Piatigorsky–also signed to RCA at the time. Having them pair up here is convenient and inspired. On this wonderfully dynamic recording, there is none of the “thickness” and “heaviness” Double Concerto recordings are often accused of having. Wallenstein, principal conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, allows his titanic leads to engage the music with passion, lightness and, most of all, joy. This is Brahms affectionately played by some of the world’s greatest musicians.
Cisco’s gorgeous reissue of this Living Stereo classic captures all the magic and excitement of Heifetz and Piatigorsky’s historic 1960 session. Features 180-gram vinyl, a large, 6-page historical notes insert for informative reading and the kind of warm, glorious sound Cisco Music is now famous for.