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Kreisler plays Kreisler
Fritz KREISLER (1879-1951)

Caprice Viennois [3:46]
Tambourin Chinois [3:29]
Liebesfreud [3:15]
Liebesleid [3:37]
Schön Rosmarin [1:59]
La gitana [3:11]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) (arr. KREISLER)

Gavotte (from Partita No.3 in E) [3:18]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) (arr. KREISLER)

Rondo (from the Haffner Serenade) [7:35]
Fritz KREISLER (1879-1951)

Rondino on a theme of Beethoven [2:30]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) (arr. KREISLER)

Mazurka in A minor, Op. 67, No.4 [3:43]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) (arr. HOCHSTEIN)

Waltz in A, Op.39, No.15 [2:48]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) (arr. KREISLER)

Humoresque from Humoresques, Op.101, No.7 [3:43]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) (arr. KREISLER)

Andante cantabile (from String Quartet No.1) [4:34]
Nikolay Andreyevich RIMSKI-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)

Hymn to the Sun (from The Golden Cockerel) [4:04]
Chant Hindou (from Sadko) [3:17]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) (arr. KREISLER)

Spanish dance from La vida breve [3:22]
Ede POLDINI (1869-1957) (arr. KREISLER)

Dancing Doll [2:28]
Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) (arr. KREISLER)

Lotus land [4:06]

Londonderry Air [3:45]
Fritz Kreisler (violin), Franz Rupp (piano)
rec. Tracks 1-2, Electrola Studios, Berlin, 28 February 1936; Tracks 3-19, EMI Abbey Road Studios, 14-15 February 1938. ADD

Better known as a performer than a composer, Kreisler nonetheless produced some delightful pieces – mainly short, fairly light, works for violin. There were also operettas and string quartets - his composition tutors included Bruckner and Delibes! - and he also made numerous arrangements of music by composers ranging from Bach to Cyril Scott. This Naxos disc presents a selection of his compositions and arrangements – both the famous (including the Liebesfreud and Schön Rosmarin), and less well-known ones. All were recorded by Kreisler himself in 1936 and 1938. There is a little bit of a hiss but the sound is otherwise pretty good.

Kreisler’s sound is – as one would only expect – luscious. This is tremendously soulful playing, with a lovely, rich, dark tone, amazing virtuosity and the occasional gorgeous touch of portamento. Kreisler invests the works with a great sense of fun – particularly the opening Caprice Viennois and Tambourin Chinois. The Schön Rosmarin he performs with a wonderful freedom that allows its dancing nature to come pouring forth. I was less keen on the Bach Gavotte arrangement, which Kreisler plays very boldly, but without capturing the spirituality of the piece.

Both the notorious Brahms Waltz in A - this in an arrangement by Hochstein, rather than Kreisler - and the Londonderry Air are given refreshingly unsentimental performances. There is a tender version of Kreisler’s Rondino on a theme of Beethoven; a sparkling, lively and vivacious Spanish Dance by De Falla, where the 63 year-old violinist demonstrates remarkable virtuosity, and Dvořák’s Humoresque, with Kreisler’s stunning, melting portamento swoops. His meaningful and intense arrangement and performance of Cyril Scott’s Lotus Land reminds us of his association with English music. Kreisler, of course, gave the premiere of Elgar’s Violin Concerto.

Listening to this disc, one can understand how Kreisler so enchanted the audiences of the time, and how worthy he is of his great reputation. The ease and intimacy of performance, and his exceptional charm, intelligence and wit shine through this warm, sensitive playing. An utterly delightful disc.

Em Marshall

see also reviews by Jonathan Woolf and Göran Forsling



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