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REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 [28:22]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata No. 2 in A major for Violin and Piano, Op. 100 [20:14]
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Polonaise brillante no. 2 in A major, Op. 21 [8:07]
Scherzo-Tarantelle Op. 16 [4:37]
Etude-caprice Op. 18 No. 4 (arr. Fritz Kreisler) [1:26]
Souvenir de Moscou Op. 6 [8:16]
Polonaise brillante no.1 in D major, Op. 4 [4:46]
Etude-caprice Op. 10 No. 5 alla saltarella (arr. Fritz Kreisler) [1:50]
Arnold Eidus (violin)
Orchestra of the Vienna Orchestral Society/Frederick Hummel
Leopold Mittmann (piano) (Brahms)
Eileen Flissler (piano) (Wieniawski)
rec. c. 1952

I have to admit that Arnold Eidus (1922-2013) is a name completely new to me. Like Louis Kaufman his versatility enabled Eidus to make inroads into the commercial field, working in TV, radio and films. As well as classical music, he was equally at home with pop, rhythm and blues and Latin genres, and he worked with such big names as Perry Como, Lena Horne, Coleman Hawkins, Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. His lengthy career spanned six decades. American-born, he studied with Louis Persinger at the Juilliard, and in 1946 was the first American violinist to win the Jacques Thibaud Award in Paris. In 1950, together with the cellist George Ricci, he founded the Stradivari Records label.

In the Sibelius Concerto, Eidus displays some dazzling virtuosity. He has a natural feel for this music. The opening movement is dispatched with a fair degree of drama and passion. In the Adagio the phrases are beautifully shaped. In the third movement whilst his playing is extrovert, I did find it a little over-projected. One drawback is that the Concerto is recorded in a very cavernous acoustic. An unusual balance, the violins are very forwardly placed, with the rest of the orchestra recessed. The soloist sits somewhere in the middle. Frederick Hummel is a sensitive and sympathetic partner.

Brahms’ lyrical A major Sonata, Op. 100 transports us to another world of intimacy and affection. The first movement is warm and relaxed, and in the Andante tranquillo the central scherzo exudes joy and rapture. Eidus plays the finale with expressive fervour. Leopold Mittmann’s contributions are equally satisfying.

The Wieniawski pieces showcase the Eidus violinistic arsenal to good effect. In the Polonaise brillante no. 2 in A major, Op. 21 he lets fly some impressive crisply articulated up-bow staccatos, and the fingered octave section is rendered with pristine intonation. His instinctive rubato adds another positive dimension. I particularly enjoyed the two scintillating Etude-caprices in arrangements by Fritz Kreisler, dashed off with élan. Eileen Flissler is a serviceable accompanist.

All of these recordings were made on Eidus’ own label - Stradivari Records, and they have provided source copies for these well-executed transfers. Sound quality is acceptable given the age of the recordings. This is a generously timed CD. Alexis Galpérine has contributed a comprehensive biographical portrait of the artist in French and English.

Stephen Greenbank

Previous review: Jonathan Woolf

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