Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Divertimento for violin, viola and cello in E flat major K563 (1788) [35:51] Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - concertos for violin, strings and basso continuo Op.
8, Nos 1-4 (from Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione) (1720) [39:41] David Nadien (violin)
Emanuel Vardi (viola); Jascha Silberstein (cello) (Mozart)
Kapp Sinfonietta/Emanuel Vardi (Vivaldi)
rec. live, Sioux Falls, Dakota, 1960 (Mozart) and NYC, 1961 (Vivaldi) CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD125 [75:01]
written extensively about David Nadien in previous reviews of
discs issued by Cembal d’amour entitled Legendary
so biographical matters will be best considered there. I should
note, however, in passing, the laudable commitment to the splendid
and under-sung violinist’s legacy displayed by this label.
We have two performances in
this disc dating from 1960-61. The first pairs him with the
august violist Emanuel Vardi and the younger, less well known
but splendid cellist Jascha Silberstein. Together they essay
Mozart’s Divertimento for violin, viola and cello in E flat
major K563 in a live performance given at Sioux Falls, Dakota
in 1960. This big work receives a commensurately big reading,
one that verges on the sonority of a chamber ensemble so big
and vibrant is the corporate tonal heft of the trio. The acoustic
is rather boomy which adds to the depth and breadth of the sound
and it’s especially in ensembles that the vibrant, masculine
and expressive playing takes on outsize drama. The outlines
of the opening Allegro, the Adagio, the fourth movement Andante
and the Allegro finale are actually very reminiscent – at least
in temporal terms – of the illustrious 1941 Victor set made
by Heifetz, Feuermann and Primrose. The Nadien-Vardi-Silberstein
trio are not as subtle perhaps in their responses, though the
circumstances of the recording rather hampers them here. But
they are truly communicative, and their vibrancy reaches heights
in the Adagio. Perhaps the Menuetto is rather too muscular – it
tends to lack the more elfin intensity of the older trio’s performance
which is, in any case, a minute quicker. The salient qualities
of this 1960 performance are the masculine scale of the playing – perhaps
balanced too firmly in that one direction – and the extrovert
communicative qualities of all three men. It’s a really vital,
life affirming performance and shows the three as eloquent exponents.
Coupled with it is a 1961
studio recording of The Four Seasons. This was still
relatively early days in the work’s increasing ubiquity – Molinari
(directing his own massed arrangement in wartime Italy), Olevsky
in Vienna and Kaufman in New York had all left behind important
if idiosyncratic statements as had, live, Alfredo Campoli in
London. Kaufman’s is often stated as the first commercial recording
of the work – something Naxos claimed in its own transfer incarnation – but
that’s wrong; it was Molinari. Nadien and Vardi, with Igor Kipnis
at the harpsichord, shape a virile and attentive performance.
It’s not overtly pictorial or gluttonously expressive. And Nadien
doesn’t pour molten vibrato as Kaufman did; nor indeed does
he indulge in the battery of expressive finger position changes
that his older American colleague did. His spun legato in the
slow movement of Spring however is a delight though I find his
characteristically intense, tight vibrato works least well in
the opening of Summer. The opening of Winter is incisive but
its slow movement is vitiated by an over-intrusive Nadien vibrato.
Vardi shapes things well, with the basses of the Kapp Sinfonietta
strongly to the fore in, say, the Allegro finale of Spring.
Nadien’s is a name worth celebrating
and this disc does just that. The Vivaldi sounds well in this
restoration and the Mozart, though recorded live, gives an excellent
impression as to this formidable trio in concert. Altogether
a thoroughly laudable restoration.
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