Itzhak Perlman - Concertos from my Childhood

Author: 
Edward Greenfield

Itzhak Perlman - Concertos from my Childhood

  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
  • Schüler-Konzert No. 2
  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1
  • Scène de Ballet
  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 22

Itzhak Perlman has here had the charming idea of going back to some of the concertante works which he learnt as a fast-developing prodigy. What a pity that we cannot hear a recording of the boy Perlman as well: did no one take a tape in Israel, one wonders? None of this is great music, not even the Viotti Concerto, the one work available in rival versions, but playing with obvious love, and applying his flawless technique, Perlman brings out freshness and sparkle in each work, not least the two by Rieding and Seitz.
Perlman explains that the Seitz Concerto was something he tackled when he was seven or eight, and the Rieding, his very first concertante piece, even before that. The Rieding has a delightful barcarolle-like middle movement and a Gopak finale. In the Seitz Perlman eliminates any feeling of squareness in the first movement by his persuasive springing of rhythm, and similarly in the delectable ‘ride-a-cock-horse’ rhythm of the finale, with a tender little minor-key slow movement between. Maybe it is ‘the curse of Czerny’, but each composer here tends to use themes which after starting promisingly are rounded off in cornily conventional cadences.
The Accolay, in one sonata-form movement, ends with a challenging double-stopped coda, and the Beriot, as the title, Scenes de ballet, suggests, brings a sequence of lively dances. Much the longest work, lasting almost half an hour, is the Viotti, and there the length makes one less tolerant of banality, even though Perlman’s playing is a delight, not least in the jaunty finale. Aptly, the orchestra of the Juilliard School in New York – where Perlman studied – provides the excellent orchestra, a felicitous touch, and the recording, made in the concert hall of the New York City University, puts a fine bloom on all the instruments.'

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