Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Alt-Wiener Tanzweisen: i) Liebesfreud; ii) Liebesleid; Schön Rosmarin [9:00]
Chanson Louis XIII, und Pavane (in the style of Louis Couperin) [4:21]
Grave (in the style of Friedemann Bach) [4:42]
Variations on a theme by Arcangelo Corelli (in the style of Giuseppe Tartini) [3:11]
Aubade provencale (in the style of Louis Couperin) [2:40]
Praeludium und Allegro (in the style of Gaetano Pugnani) [5:38]
Andantino (in the style of Padre Martini) [3:25]
La Précieuse (in the style of Louis Couperin) [3:28]
Sicilienne et Rigaudon (in the style of Françoise Francoeur) [5:21]
Tempo di Minuetto (in the style of Gaetano Pugnani) [3:44]
Allegretto (in the style of Luigi Bocherini) [3:17]
Scherzo (in the style of Karl Ditters Von Dittersdorf) [3:31]
Rondino on a theme by Ludwig van Beethoven [2:28]
Recitativ und Scherzo Caprice for violin solo [4:45]
Caprice Viennois [3:55]
Béla Bánfalvi (violin)
Budapest Strings/Karoly Botvai
rec. Church of Scots Mission, Budapest, January and March 1995
CAPRICCIO C5120 [64:16]
This album appears to be a reissue of a disc first published in 1996. The notion of collecting so many gracious stylised gems with such Kreisler’s favourites as his Liebesleid and Caprice Viennois makes for good programming. The string orchestra accompaniment adds satisfying refinement and colour. The soloist is recorded well forward.
Taking the favourites first: Bánfalvi’s reading of Caprice Viennois eschews a heart-on-sleeve, schmaltzy approach in favour of more thoughtful and shaded qualities, neatly contrasting gaiety with nostalgic wistfulness. Liebesfreud waltzes along lightly and sweetly enough - with just a touch of self-parody in its glissandi - while the slower more romantic Liebesleid is just a touch restrained; so too is the lovely Schön Rosmarin though here it sounds subtly flirty and capricious.
The other pieces, which emulate earlier styles, certainly enchant. For many years Kreisler allowed the impression that they were found in monasteries and castle archives and then arranged by himself for violin and piano rather than being his own original compositions in the style of the old masters. Bánfalvi’s readings bring nicely judged phrasing to the slower more sentimental examples and a measure of flamboyance to the trickier, swifter-moving items. Each has its appeal. I would just mention the grace and coy charm of La Précieuse that made me think of the paintings of Watteau, the heartfelt, poignantly lovelorn atmosphere of Aubade provencale and the allegro fireworks of the Praeludium und Allegro.
Having said that, one should not overlook the brilliance and warmth of Kreisler’s own recordings - (EMI, DG, Naxos and Golden Legacy) - notwithstanding their less than hi-fi standard.