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I violini di Cremona. Omaggio a Kreisler
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Tempo di Minuetto in the style of Pugnani
Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane in the style of Couperin
Variations on a Theme of Corelli
Sicilienne et Rigaudon in the style of Francoeur
Andantino in the style of Martini
The Old Refrain
Caprice Viennois
Poupée Valsante
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Romance in A arranged KREISLER
Stephen FOSTER

Old Folks At Home arranged KREISLER
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)

Spanish Dance arranged KREISLER
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)

Slavonic Dance Op.46 No.1 in G minor arranged KREISLER
"Indian lament" [Violin Sonatina] arranged KREISLER
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)

Tango Op.165 No.2 arranged KREISLER
Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944)

Sérénade Spagnole arranged KREISLER
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Andante Cantabile Op.11 arranged KREISLER
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Song Without Words Op.62 No.1 arranged KREISLER

Londonderry Air arranged KREISLER
Salvatore Accardo (violin)
Laura Manzini (piano)
Recorded Palazzo Cavalcabò, Cremona, 1993

Alongside the Kreislerian salute runs another theme. The Violin Room in Cremona Town Hall is one of the Holy Grails of violin worship, containing as it does a wealth of information relating to the great makers: Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri. Relatively recently, sound equipment has been installed in the room so visitors can hear as well as see the preserved instruments. The sound is encoded on this disc from one of Cremona’s great supporters, the man who founded the Festival in that city, Salvatore Accardo. He plays five instruments kept in Cremona; two Amati, two Guarneri and a Stradivarius. All are colour pictured in the booklet and details of length, ownership, certification and other matters are given. It makes for unusually pleasurable reading.

To accompany the visits, in a concept created by Giulio Cesare Ricci, Accardo has recorded an all-Kreisler programme (albeit hyphenated Kreisler as well) with accompanist Laura Manzini. It’s presented in this review disc in a SACD - an increasingly popular hybrid that I’ve sampled on an ordinary set up.

Accardo is a master violinist and always demands to be heard. His splendid technique is allied to a warm, sweet tone and his musical instincts are sure. The disc will give pleasure to his many admirers, though it was recorded over a decade now in November 1993. His Tempo di Minuetto is quite slow, with Accardo occasionally stressing the lower strings’ warmth of vibrato to stress phrases; quite a stately performance this with a feminine middle section. The central portion is very fast but well articulated though Accardo’s tone can be a bit harsh in the acoustic, especially in chordal passages. Stylistically it’s not the best performance on the disc. There’s delicacy and discreet portamenti in the Martini Andantino and the Stephen Foster is evocatively vibrated. The Granados/Kreisler is rather sedate and the G minor Slavonic Dance is good but there are a couple of moments of intonational worry. I wouldn’t say that Accardo is as idiomatic a Kreislerian as, say, - picking three - Shumsky, Szeryng or Perlman but he has dignity and poise. A small, final gripe - the gap between tracks is too brief.

Jonathan Woolf

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