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Old Vienna
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938)

Old Vienna [Alt Wien] (1916) transcribed by Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) [2:38]
Waltz Poem No.2 (1916) [4:47]
Leo WEINER (1885-1960)

Lakodalmas Op.21b (1936) [4:33]
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)

Spanish Dances Op.12 transcribed by Philipp Scharwenka (1847-1917): No.1 [2:01] No.2 [4:04] No.3 [2:49]
Hugo WOLF (1860-1913)

Mörike-lieder; Verborgenheit (Seclusion) (1888) transcribed by Konstantin Mostras (1886-1965) [2:25]
Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713)

Sonata in G minor Op.5 No.5 (published 1700) [11:18]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Serenade No.7 in D Haffner – Rondo (1776) transcribed by Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) [7:59]
Niccolo PAGANINI (1782-1828)

Caprices (1801-07) Op.1 No.20 transcribed by Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) [3:17]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Marche caractéristique No.1 D. 968b transcribed by Konstantin Mostras (1886-1965) [5:29]
Nicolai MEDTNER (1879-1951)

Violin Sonata No.1 in B minor Op.21 (1910) [19:21]
Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970)

Cherry Ripe [4:04]
Inna Kogan (violin)
Tobias Bigger (piano)
rec. Festeberg Church, Frankfurt-am-Main, April 2005
EMEC E071 [76:18]


 



www.emecdiscos.com

Though the sleeve-notes go into compositional matters there’s not a word about the chosen title for this collection, Old Vienna. Kreisler qualifies, naturally, though he’s here in his more administrative role as Mozart and Paganini transcriber. And Alt Wien of course qualifies Godowsky. But elsewhere things are a little looser. Schubert, yes, though he’s represented by an unusual piece, the Marche caractéristique, in the transcription for violin and piano by Konstantin Mostras. Perhaps Cyril Scott arrives courtesy of his friendship with Kreisler. But Corelli and Medtner and even Weiner are struggling over the far side of a concept precipice. So let’s just forget the label and examine the contents.

The Godowsky pieces have been long associated with two great figures of the violin – Heifetz, who transcribed Alt Wien, and Kochanski to whom the Waltz Poem was dedicated. Weiner’s dance is a piece of waggish sophistication, a knowing conflation of classical and czardas. The Moszkowski-Scharwenka Spanish Dances – the dance is a seam that runs throughout the disc – comprise three of the set. They’re elegant and polite piano pieces, dished up for violin and piano with minimal effort. Not much trace of Spanishry here, it has to be said. Wolf’s song Verborgenheit (Seclusion in English) is heard in another transcription by Mostras – a distinguished musician who was appointed Violin Professor at the Moscow Conservatory in 1914. One of his pupils was Ivan Galamian.

The Corelli might have been better first on the programme to give the disc a recital feel. As it is – and of course I appreciate that one can programme these things – it sits marooned between the Hugo Wolf and Mozart transcriptions. Inna Kogan plays it with discreet intelligence adopting a modified romantic approach – modest vibrato, taking her time over slow movements and not springing the rhythm in faster ones. Quite a sober view.

The Medtner Sonata is not performed so often that we can ignore this one. Kogan and Tobias Bigger take a more relaxed, less interventionist approach than did the composer and Cecilia Hansen back in 1947 (on APR and unissued on 78s). The composer was a magnificent player and his chordal playing, despite the primitive state of the surviving test pressings, was stunning. The Kogan-Bigger traversal is sensitive and well worth a listen, though they can’t help but seem a little foursquare in comparison and their characterization rather limited.

So, a mixed recital with a rather strange look. A late seventeenth century sonata is balanced by a romantic masterpiece from 1910 and alongside we have a motley selection of dances, song transcriptions and the like. I’m really not sure at whom this is aimed.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 


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