The Kreisler Story
Daniel Röhn (violin)
Paul Rivinius (piano)
rec. December 2014, Emil-Berliner Studios, Berlin
BERLIN CLASSICS 0300784BC [74:02]

I first encountered Daniel Röhn on disc - he comes from a famous family of violinists - nearly twelve years ago (see review) and enjoyed the recital of virtuoso pieces to such an extent that I ended the review wanting to hearing him again. It’s been a long wait, at least in the context of a review copy, but here he is once again, this time on Berlin Classics and here it’s with a Kreisler album.

Once again, I’ve enjoyed his playing. He plays with vibrancy, taut focused tone, colour and stylistic awareness. It won’t remind you of Kreisler’s playing itself, any more than it will of such very different exponents of the legacy as Shumsky, Szeryng or Elman, but it offers a contemporary approach shorn of mannerisms and gauche expressive gestures that seek to mimic or robotically replicate innate expressive gestures that were so much a part of the arsenal of string players before the war. In short, he’s his own man and that’s all to the good.

Both the Kreisler arrangements of Paganini Caprices are played with vibrancy, No.20 in particular. When it comes to Kreislerian originals there’s plenty of charm in Liebesfreud, as well as some canny rubati, and there’s real pathos as well as tightly electric trills in the Grave, couched in the style – so Kreisler drolly claimed – of WF Bach. Schön Rosmarin is rightly coquettish here. Both Wieniawski Caprices, so deftly arranged by Kreisler, are crisply bowed. He inserts more commas in the A minor than, say, Campoli and there’s less in the way of Romantic colour evoked by the veteran fiddler, but Röhn is excellent in his own way. One should note here and in the E flat Caprice, too, just how alert and propulsively supportive a partner is the excellent Paul Rivinius. Röhn’s finger position changes and rhythmic vitality in the de Falla are both excellent, and convincing.
Whilst he doesn’t dig out the Praeludium and Allegro he does play the Tartini-Kreisler Devil’s Trill sonata, one of two larger-sized pieces in the recital. Tonal variety is married to crisp rhythm in another successful performance. However, the big news for Kreisler addicts is the world première recording of the complete arrangement of Bach’s Partita No.3 in E, BWV1006. Kreisler recorded the Preludio twice and Gavotte four times and it’s the latter which is the one movement some violinists do still play. But the whole Partita is here making its first appearance. The Loure works especially well and it’s beautifully played by both musicians. Though he has also recorded it here, there’s a bonus track of La Chasse, in which his playing segues into Kreisler’s own recording and then back again. This is a dangerous assignment revealing, obviously, that Röhn is not Kreisler and that the latter’s tonal colours are as inimitable as his rubato, but it pays homage to the source.

This is a nice package with a decent booklet and very well recorded. Now I really need to hear Röhn in major sonata and concerto assignments.

Jonathan Woolf

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Caprice Op.1 No.13 arr. Fritz Kreisler [2:58]
Caprice Op.1 No.20 arr. Fritz Kreisler [2:54]
Moto Perpetuo Op.11 arr. Fritz Kreisler [3:40]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Liebesfreud [3:38]
Tempo di Minuetto [4:07]
Grave in the Style of W. F. Bach [3:38]
Schön Rosmarin [2:10]
La Chasse [1:59]
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Caprice in A Minor, Op.18 arr. Fritz Kreisler [1:34]
Caprice in E Flat Op.18 arr. Fritz Kreisler [2:00]
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
The Devil's Trill Sonata, Op.1 No.4 arr. Fritz Kreisler [15:18]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Danza Española arr. Fritz Kreisler [3:40]
Ede POLDINI (1869-1957)
La Poupée Valsante arr. Fritz Kreisler [2:39]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Ballet Music “Rosamunde” D797 arr. Fritz Kreisler [3:40]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Partita No.3 BWV 1006 arr. Fritz Kreisler [17:06]
Bonus track: Kreisler: La Chasse segueing into original recording of Fritz Kreisler [1:54]

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