Isaac Stern would have turned 100 in 2020. To mark this beloved artist’s centenary, Sony Classical is proud to present a new edition of his entire American Columbia analogue discography: 75 CDs of the recordings that established the Ukrainian-born American violinist’s worldwide reputation as one of the outstanding musical figures of his time.
Needless to say, the new collection holds even more than Stern’s acclaimed recordings of virtually every major violin concerto in the repertoire, from Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart to Prokofiev, Bartók and Berg, with conductors including Mitropoulos, Walter, Szell and, above all, Ormandy and Bernstein – not to mention Stravinsky’s concerto under the composer’s baton, and newer specimens created expressly for Stern by Penderecki and Rochberg.
Also on full display is Stern’s extraordinary love and affinity for chamber music: much of the sonata repertoire explored with his longtime preferred accompanist, pianist Alexander Zakin, including the first time on CD for their mono recordings of violin sonatas by Mozart, Franck, Brahms (all three) and Bartók; the great piano trios surveyed with his regular partners Leonard Rose and Eugene Istomin; and treasured collaborations with Pablo Casals and his festival ensembles that featured such distinguished players as Alexander Schneider, Milton Katims, Paul Tortelier and Myra Hess – including the first CD releases of the Brahms Second String Quintet and Schumann Piano Quintet from 1952. Like that Sibelius recording and so many others in this vast new Isaac Stern edition, they haven’t aged a day.