53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759)
Violin Sonata in D major, HWV371, Op. 1 No. 13 [11:46]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Violin Sonata in G Minor, L 140 [12:47]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata Op. 12 No. 1 in D [20:25]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata No. 3 in D minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 108 [20:13]
Scherzo in C minor, WoO2 (from F-A-E Sonata) [5:31]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Intermezzo (from F.A.E. Sonata) [2:21]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Variations on a theme by Corelli (Tartini/Kreisler) [3:32]
Tibor Varga (violin)
Heinz Schröter (piano) (Handel and Debussy); Hubert Giesen (piano) (Schumann, Brahms Scherzo, Kreisler); Bernhard Ebert (piano) (Beethoven, Brahms Sonata)
rec. September 1949, Stuttgart, Studio No.1, South German Radio (Handel and Debussy); February 1959, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Krone (Schumann, Brahms Scherzo, Kreisler); March 1960, Hamburg, Studio NDR
MELOCLASSIC MC2027 [76:38]

Tibor Varga was born in Györ, Hungary in 1921. Joseph Joachim, Leopold Auer and Carl Flesch also hailed from the same region. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest with Carl Flesch and Jenő Hubay, and whilst there met Bartók. He went on to secure a successful career, primarily as a violinist, working with the likes of Furtwängler, Böhm, Bernstein and Solti, but also as a conductor. Amongst his most celebrated recordings is a Bartók Second with Ferenc Fricsay and the Berlin Philharmonic, and a fine Nielsen Violin Concerto with Jerzy Semkow and the Royal Danish Orchestra. He championed the Berg Concerto in Austria and Germany in the early days and, in November 1950, premiered Boris Blacher's Violin Concerto in Munich under Erich Schmid.

All of these radio recordings, taped between 1949 and 1960, are here receiving their first CD release. None have commercial equivalents, and all are new to the violinist’s discography. The Handel and Debussy Sonatas were set down in Stuttgart in September 1949. The Handel has been incorrectly apportioned the key signature and Lesure number of the Debussy work whereas, in fact, it is in D major. Also, for some strange reason, the gatefold mistakenly track-lists the first three movements of the Bruch Concerto No. 1, with the finale being the only movement correctly corresponding to the Handel. At this early stage in his career, Varga's tone is taut, vitiated by a relentlessly fast vibrato, imposing some limitations on his tonal palette. It also deprives his tone from a certain amount of warmth, and puts an edge on it. Later in his career his playing became noted for its beautiful tone and warmth of expression. His use of expressive slides and position changes is lavish by any standards. His portamenti are particularly effective in the Debussy Sonata, conferring a sensuous aura on the performance.

Fast forward ten years, and by the time the second batch of recordings was made in February 1959 Varga's tone has become more soft-grained, seductive and opulent. Maybe more advanced recording techniques have helped. A year later, when the Beethoven and Brahms were recorded, Varga acquired his Guarneri del Gesù violin dated 1733. We can't be certain whether this fiddle was used for the March 1960 inscriptions. The Schumann Intermezzo is wonderfully expressive and eloquent, and the Tartini/Kreisler Variations sparkle and delight, showcasing the violinist’s prodigious technical arsenal.

The two sonatas with Bernhard Ebert are the highlight of the disc for me. This is a true partnership of equals, chamber music at its most compelling. The outer movements of the Beethoven are spirited, and in the finale the players articulate the off-beat accents so as to achieve a buoyancy and rhythmic vitality. Brahms cast his Violin Sonata no. 3 on a larger dramatic scale than its predecessors. The slow movement is ardent and glowing with just the right amount of emotional weight. The Scherzo is light and delicate. In contrast, there’s plenty of energy and gusto in the tempestuous finale, with Varga’s double-stop passages ringing out clean and vibrant.

These expertly transferred radio recordings fill a lacuna in the violinist’s discography and are warmly welcomed. The booklet notes supply the background adequately, with photos an added bonus. Lovers of inspired violin playing shouldn’t hesitate.

Stephen Greenbank
Previous review: Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger