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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Fritz Kreisler - The Complete Recordings vol. 1
I. Gramophone and Typewriter Ltd, Berlin 1904
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 1750)
1. Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006: I Prelude in E (arr. Kreisler) [3:14]
2. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D, BWV 1068: II Air on the G string (arr. Wilhelmj) [2:38]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 1893)
3. Souvenir de Hapsal Op. 2; No. 3 Chant sans paroles (arr. Kreisler) [2:52]
Joseph SULZER (? - ?)
4. Sarabande Op. 8 [1:56]
Franois SCHUBERT (1808 1878)
5. Labeille (The Bee) Op. 13, No. 9 [1:00]
II. Victor Talking Machine Company, New York City, May 1910
Bedrich SMETANA (1824 1884)
6. From My Homeland: No. 2 Andantino Bohemian Fantasy [4:10]
Stephen Collins FOSTER (1826 1864)
7. Old Folks at Home (arr Kreisler) [3:14]
Fritz KREISLER (1875 1962)
8. Caprice viennois, in G flat, Op. 2 [3:26]
Antonn DVORK (1841 1904)
9. Humoresque in G flat Op. 101 No. 7 [3:42]
Jules MASSENET (1842 1912)
10. Thais: Meditation (arr. Martin Marsick) [3:50]
11. Thais: Meditation (arr. Martin Marsick) [3:59]
Fritz KREISLER
12. Tambourin chinois [3:25]
13. Liebesleid [3:51]
14. Liebesfreud [3:20]
15. Liebesfreud [3:22]
Bedrich SMETANA
16. From My Homeland: No. 2 Andantino Bohemian Fantasy [4:26]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 1897)
17. Hungarian Dance No. 5 (arr. in G minor Joachim) [2:17]
Fritz KREISLER
18. Variations on a Theme of Corelli (in the style of Tartini) [2:59]
19. Caprice viennois, Op. 2 [3:37]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797 1828)
20. Moments musicaux, D.780, No. 3 [1:53]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683 1764)
21. Les ftes dHb: Tambourin (arr. Kreisler) [1:52]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY
22. Souvenir de Hapsal Op. 2; No. 3 Chant sans paroles (arr. Kreisler) [2:44]
Rawlins COTTENET (? - ?)
23. Chanson Mditation [4:03]
Johann Sebastian BACH
24. Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006: III. Gavotte en Rondeau in E (arr Kreisler) [3:14]
Fritz Kreisler (violin), w. piano accompaniment (1-5), w. George Falkenstein (piano) (6- 24)
rec. Berlin 1904 (1-5); New York, May 1910 (6-24)
NAXOS 8.112053 [74:43]

 

Experience Classicsonline




Fritz Kreislers bon-bons belong to my earliest experiences of classical music. They were frequently played on the radio in the 1950s and my father used to play them on his violin. What I heard on the radio were almost certainly Kreislers later recordings from 1928 with the young Franz Rupp (1901 1992) at the piano. When I was able to buy an inexpensive record player and started to build a record collection, a cross-section of those Kreisler pieces, issued in the series Les gravures illustres on La voix de son maitre (COLH 19) in a luxurious linen cover, was one of my earliest acquisitions. That record that still has a honoured place on my shelves and has only recently been replaced by CD transfers. One should bear in mind that those recordings were made when Kreisler was well over sixty and hadnt practised for ages.

On the first volume in what is scheduled to be The Complete Recordings we encounter a much younger musician though even by 1904, when the earliest sides were set down, he was a mature man, on the verge of turning thirty. Many of his favourite pieces are here heard in their first recordings. Two alternative takes were never issued on 78s: Massenets Meditation and his own Liebesfreud.

The first thing to marvel at is the quality of sound. Even on the five G&T sides from 1904 the violin tone flows lifelike and warm from the loudspeakers. The piano is just as clangy as on all the early vocal records I have grown accustomed to: Caruso, Melba, Tamagno and Planon. There is a slight background noise that Ward Marston has retained so as not to lose upper frequencies in the reproduction of the violin. Once one has got used to it there are no problems to the enjoyment of Kreislers playing, which basically is as typical as it was on the later records I have known for fifty years. You can relish the precise articulation, the beautiful tone, sometimes, as in Sulzers Sarabande rather husky, the fine legato (listen to Franois Schuberts Labeille), and the sweetness and lightness of the portamenti.

Six years later the piano tone has improved. Here we meet the old friends: Caprice viennois with those marvellous double-stops, Dvorks Humoresque, lighter and more intimate than the Rupp version, Liebesleid fresh and possibly a mite more spontaneous in 1910 he hadnt played many hundreds of times. The Corelli variations are superbly assured and the two versions of Massenets Meditation are broadly romantic but with exquisitely fine nuances. The second take - which actually was the third since there must have been a matrix C-8944-1 which was scrapped is more restrained, and it was also this version that was issued. Rameaus Tambourin is slightly marred by excessively romantic rubatos, but in general this generation was more generous with tempo fluctuations. This can be heard also in the 1904 Air on the G string, which is one of the finest titles on the disc.

Tully Potters liner-notes are, as expected, both informative and entertaining. There is a note from the producer and the track-list has both matrix numbers and catalogue numbers. A model of presentation.

Real Kreisler freaks will not need encouragement from me to place their orders. More general Kreisler and/or violin lovers can safely invest in this issue as well. It sounds much better than one might imagine. And the playing is absolutely enchanting.

Gran Forsling

 


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