Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 12 No. 1, RV317 (arr. Nachez) [16:52]
Romance No. 1 in G major, Op. 40 (1798) [7:36]
Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50 (1802) [9:21] FelixMENDELSSOHN(1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844) [28:17] Nicolò PAGANINI(1782-1840)
Caprice in A minor, Op. 1, No. 24 (arr. Elman) [13:25]
Mischa Elman (violin)
Vivaldi: New Symphony Orchestra/Lawrance Collingwood
rec. 29 September 1931, Kingsway Hall, London
Beethoven: unnamed orchestra/Lawrance Collingwood
rec. 30 November 1932, EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London
Mendelssohn: Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Desiré Defauw
rec. 8 March 1947, Orchestra Hall, Chicago
Paganini: Wolfgang Rosé(piano)
rec. 3 April 1951, RCA Studio No. 2, New York
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 339 [75:31]
There is still work to do on Elman’s recorded legacy.
This disc, for instance, has cannily located items new to his
CD discography - the Vivaldi Concerto, the Paganini and the
Romance in F by Beethoven. Both the G major Romance and the
Mendelssohn Concerto have been transferred to silver disc but
it’s an indication that gaps are yet fully to be filled
in this respect, so kudos to Pristine Audio for sourcing these
The better known of his two commercial recordings of Vivaldi’s
G minor Concerto in the arrangement by the Hungarian-born but
British-resident fiddle player and composer Tivadar Nachez (will
anyone get around to recording his Violin Concertos?) is with
Vladimir Golschmann in Vienna on Vanguard. But this shellac
version was made many years earlier, in 1931, with the New Symphony
Orchestra conducted by the ever dependable Lawrance Collingwood.
Lucky band to have Elman sliding so seductively and sweetly
in front of them! When he joins in for tuttis the result is
like a force of violinistic nature. Elman makes typically expansive
ritardandi, and plays throughout with luscious tonal breadth,
perfectly suited to an ultra-romanticised approach to this repertoire.
It’s playing of great communicative warmth. Interestingly,
whilst the first two movements were significantly slower later
on, he took the finale in Vienna at a good, fast lick - faster,
in fact, than in this 1931 performance.
He recorded the two Beethoven Romances the following year, once
again with Collingwood, but this time an ad-hoc band. This was
the only occasion he recorded them, and he’s especially
effective in the F major, a work that can go on a bit if you’re
not careful. He lavishes rich legato but also refined lyricism
on it, but in a manner that was beginning to sound almost defiantly
old fashioned even by 1932.
He returned to the Mendelssohn with Golschmann in those Viennese
LP sessions, but here is his only other studio recording of
it (there’s a live performance with Mitropoulos) with
Desiré Defauw who was, like Golschmann, an ex-fiddle
player. This is a lovely performance with lashing of his ebullient
musicality, expansive rubati, tonal breadth, succulent slides
and quite expansive ethos. There is some rather over-expansive
phrasing in the first movement that impedes its rhythmic development,
but he is wonderfully vivid in the slow movement and turns on
the charm, and élan, in the finale. Defauw knows all
the twists and turns, and all the technical problems, and accompanies
excellently. The recording is pretty good as well. We end with
a rather outrageous bit of nineteenth-century braggadocio, Elman’s
own elaboration of Paganini’s A minor Caprice, played
with pianist Wolfgang Rosé.
The transfers have been very well done. Elman fanciers can fill
some gaps here.
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