Vol.VII: Sibelius, Violin Concerto op.47, Berg, Violin Concerto*

Oleg Kagan (Violin), Finnish Radio Symph. O./Tauno Hannikainen, Wiener Symph./Hans Vonk*; Helsinki 1965 & Bregenz 1985*

“A rare quality of elevation”

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Kagan who died in 1990 at the age of only 44 has a considerable following among connoisseurs. Among his most effective and eloquent advocates is Professor Maria Michel-Bayerle. Her company, Live Classics, has created a Kagan Edition which draws mainly on public recordings. A native extreme East of the USSR (the city of Sakhalin) his family moved to the other extreme, to Riga in Latvia in his early years and his outstanding musical skills took him to Moscow to study with Boris Kuznetsov and then with David Oistrakh. The Sibelius tape, sourced from Finnish Radio, enshrines the very performance that won him the 1965 Sibelius Competition. It reveals the nineteen year old Kagan as a player with slender tone, petulant attack and phrasing alive to variety and emphasis… Kagan twenty years later had developed a much more refined and succulent tone. The Berg Concerto is given a wonderfully poised and moving performance. All credit to Hans Vonk for his direction of the Vienna Symphony. They handle the diaphanous orchestral textures with calming susurration of those tolling opening bars. This strikes me as a very special performance.

Rob Barnett, www.musicweb.uk.net

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