One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


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

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op 61 [42:43]
Henry Merckel (violin)
Lille Radio Symphony Orchestra/Maurice Soret
rec. live, 26 January 1953, radio broadcast, Lille, France
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1232 [42:43]

This live radio broadcast is a welcome addition to the Merckel discography, as one of the stalwarts of the violin repertoire. In 1941 the violinist made a commercial recording of the Beethoven Concerto for the French arm of HMV with the Lamoureux Orchestra under Eugène Bigot. I've never heard it to compare and, as far as I can gather, it has not been issued on CD, or on LP for that matter. A Tokyo-based firm, calling themselves, Direct Transfer CDR, are offering custom-made copies for 1,500 JPY.

Henry Merckel (1897-1969) fulfilled the dual role of an orchestral concertmaster and a soloist. For three decades he lead several French orchestras.  He represented the Franco-Belgian School of violin playing, with its emphasis on tonal beauty, refinement and good taste. Yet he lacked the individuality of Jacques Thibaud and Zino Francescatti, two of his French contemporaries, and his profile has fallen somewhat below the radar. As for the conductor Maurice Soret, I was unable to gain any biographical information other than that he had associations with this orchestra around the 1950s.
 
I'm very fond of Merckel's playing, but I feel that this live airing doesn't show him at his best. He employs a relentlessly fast vibrato, which is unvaried throughout. At times it borders on the tremulous. It's also a touch cloying. Having said that, his technique, even at this stage in his career, was formidable by any standards. His intonation is also spot-on for most of the time. He uses cadenzas that I've never heard before, but they're impressively executed and, most importantly, idiomatic. The performance is let down by Soret, whose direction lacks inspiration, with the orchestral part lifeless and pedestrian. Ensemble isn't without its faults either. The finale, especially, sounds rather mechanical and routine, but it doesn’t prevent the audience from reacting positively with enthusiastic applause.
 
Stephen Greenbank
 
Previous review: Jonathan Woolf

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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

Sample: See what you will get

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