This most interesting disc was released three years before the
recent death of violinist Aida
Stucki (1921-2011). In later years she was known more for
being the teacher of Anne Sophie Mutter, than for her own profound
strengths as a soloist, but fortunately this disc, and others,
attests to her fine level of musicianship. She was born in Cairo
to a Swiss father and a Sicilian mother and studied successively
with Ernst Wolters, a distinguished pupil of Bram Elderling,
and then Stefi Geyer – who was closely associated with Schoeck
and Bartók – and finally with Carl Flesch.
This equipped her splendidly both technically and interpretatively.
She’d worked on the Beethoven concerto with Flesch, and in 1949
Hermann Scherchen invited her to perform it on a concert tour
in Switzerland. This radio broadcast is a precious surviving
document of their collaboration and an early example of the
young Stucki’s acumen. Certainly the surviving discs sound not
to have been in especially good condition; indeed the notes
mention the legion of problems they suffered. However whilst
the sound remains dim even after restoration, the orchestral
lower strings very woolly and the horns hooty, fortunately Stucki
comes through very clearly.
There is 20 seconds of unannounced spoken studio introduction,
not separately tracked, and then Scherchen directs the opening
paragraphs with a quite relaxed grace, though he speeds up later.
Stucki plays with reserved intensity, and they dovetail very
well, even at a basically slowish tempo. Stucki plays the Kreisler
cadenza to considerable effect, emerging from it to muse introspectively.
The slow movement is played with great sympathy and attention
to detail, whilst the finale reveals an avuncular and genial
quality that ends the performance in high, good spirits. The
meeting between Stucki and Scherchen was clearly mutually satisfying.
The coupling however is not more Stucki, but a 1953 commercial
recording of Bach’s Concerto in E major. The conductor is again
Scherchen, but here the soloist is Walter Barylli, better known
as a quartet player. I reviewed
his Mozart performances on Preiser 90760. This is a nicely considered
performance, spruce, not especially emotive, and Barylli reveals
a silvery intelligence when required, not least in the Adagio.
The only slight oddity is the prominently over-recorded harpsichord
This is a revealing and attractive disc, of some historical
significance, not least because the Stucki is one of the rare
survivors of a catastrophic purge of Radio-Beromünster’s archive.