Manoug Parikian was only 60 when he died in 1987 but he had achieved much for contemporary British music for the violin. Maconchy, Musgrave, Crosse, Goehr, Bush and Wood were amongst a number of composers who wrote concertos for him, in addition to the sonata music he promoted, and his teaching at the Royal Academy.
Doremi’s 4-CD box is devoted, in the main, to his commercial concerto legacy
and includes material that has also been reissued elsewhere. So, for the
Mozart Concertos (review)
and the two Beethoven sonatas with Magda Tagliaferro (review) one can pursue my previous reviews on their appearance on Forgotten Records.
The first disc also contains Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Massimo Amfiteatrof (cello) and pianist Ornella Santoliquido. I wonder why their trio colleague Arrigo Pelliccia wasn’t engaged for the recording rather than Parikian as the trio that bore the pianist’s name was popular and admired. Still, it’s to Parikian’s credit that he meshed so well with his two colleagues. At around the same time the trio was recorded by Wührer, Gimpel and Schuster with Walter Davisson conducting, a transfer of which is on Tahra. If I marginally prefer their recording it’s because of the more outsize personalities of the three soloists – but the Walter Goehr-directed recording in Rome is more chamber-scaled and selfless, less a question of three soloists persuing independence. For that reason alone, many would prefer this Parikian reading. The first disc is completed by a broadcast performance of Busoni’s Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic directed by Jascha Horenstein in October 1966. This is sourced from a Rococo LP. Parikian brings security, clarity, tonal purity and evenness to bear and though he can’t quite disguise the concerto’s homage to classical predecessors (Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch et al), he takes the work at face value. There’s a rare and rapt elfin cantilena in the slow panel favoured by a fastish vibrato. His subtle playing of this vivid magpie concerto is a pleasure to hear.
The second disc presents both Bach concertos with the Baden Chamber Orchestra directed by Alexander Krannhals, who also died young, in c.1957. By contemporary standards rhythms are held back but it’s not too heavy and the use of a chamber orchestra helps with the textual aeration. I can’t hear a harpsichord. Parikian’s use of slides is sparing – he is on record as having disliked their overuse. The concertos were coupled on the LP with the Sonata in E minor, BWV1023 where Parikian plays with refinement; his colleagues are Herbert Hoffman (harpsichord) and Alexander Molzahn (cello). Krannhals directs the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Concerto. This is a reading of natural dignity and discretion, but wholly without stiffness. Parikian’s elegance of expression is never at the expense of losing impetus. He doesn’t, for example, slow too much for the second subject and there is a sure sense of metrical flexibility throughout. There’s no real personalization, just a thoroughly musical sense of projection such as the hushed Preghiera-like quality he brings to the Larghetto and the buoyancy of the finale. The bonne bouche is Massenet’s Méditation, extracted from Columbia CX1265, in which he is the Philharmonia’s leader, directed by Karajan.
There is a single-page reminiscence by Jack Silver, usefully quoting comments made in 2004 by Parikian’s eminent nephew, Levon Chilingirian. This is a pretty well transferred and worthwhile restoration of Parikian’s continental LP legacy. That almost everything here was made for a budget label – Concert Hall – doesn’t diminish in any way the distinction of Parikian’s musicianship.
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