Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major Op. 47 Kreutzer Sonata
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945)

Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano (1928)
Violin Sonata No. 2 (1922)
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

Violin Sonata
Joseph Szigeti, violin
Bela Bartók, piano
Recorded Library of Congress, Washington April 13th 1940


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


This landmark performance, recorded on 13th April 1940 at The Library of Congress, marked Bartók’s first appearance for twelve years as a pianist in America. It was the start of his second American tour and prefaced the famous recording of Contrasts with Szigeti and Goodman, which was to take place the following month. Bartók and Szigeti were old colleagues by then. The latter had arranged some of For Children for violin in 1926 and they gave their first joint recital the following year.

Though Szigeti was reluctant to release this Washington recital for commercial publication it has long stood as a testament to Bartók’s pianism and is notable too for Szigeti’s occasional deference to his partner as well as moments of extraordinarily creative concordance between them. I’ve reviewed the Vanguard CD on this site fairly recently – it was licensed to them – so I would refer readers there for the specifics of the performance and matters of interpretation;

Hungaroton have also released this recital in their Great Hungarian Musicians series. Since Seymour Solomon’s death Vanguard has been in – one hopes temporary – abeyance and I’m not sure that one can easily locate their original copy so in its unavoidable absence where does this leave the Hungaroton? The original recording – ad hoc on the initiative of the prescient librarian – was always somewhat problematic and there are distinct differences in principles of remastering. Vanguard’s lets us hear the electrical turntable rumble, occasional swish and pops and crackles and the other by-products of such a recording. Hungaroton has attempted to eliminate much of this and as a result there’s something of an enveloping gauze over proceedings – Szigeti’s tone doesn’t emerge in all its steely glory and Bartók’s imperious attacks are slightly softened as a result. My own preference is for the unvarnished Vanguard but I can imagine that there are those who respond better to the cleaned up middle frequency boosts of the Hungaroton.

Jonathan Woolf


Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.