MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Renardy Remington 850162
Support us financially by purchasing from

Ossy Renardy (violin)
The Complete Remington Recordings
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)
24 Caprices, Op 1
César Franck (1822-1890)
Violin Sonata in A major
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Violin Sonata
Eugene Helmer (piano: Paganini), Eugene List (piano)
rec. 1953
BIDDULPH 85016-2 [2 CDs: 108]

Ossy Renardy was born in Vienna on 26 April 1920. He started life as Oskar Reiss but later changed his name to the one we know him by today for a tour of Merano, Italy in 1933 at the suggestion of his manager. The Italianate name was considered more appealing to his audience, and the name stuck. One of his claims to fame followed a concert in New York in 1940 when he performed Paganini's 24 Caprices. A year later he was asked to record them in an arrangement for violin and piano by Ferdinand David. This was the first time they were recorded complete. It was left to Ruggiero Ricci was make the first recording of them in their original solo form. A successful career beckoned. Sadly, in December 1953 whilst on tour in Mexico, he was killed in an automobile accident. He was only 33 years old. This tragedy came just a couple of months after the American pianist William Kapell was killed in an airplane crash.

The bulk of this 2 CD set consists of Paganini’s Twenty-Four Caprices performed with Ferdinand David’s accompaniments. These accompaniments sound to me beset by moronic monotony. It was the second time the violinist had taken them into the studio. The first traversal was set down for Victor over several days in 1940 with pianist Walter Roberts. That recording can be found on another Biddulph 2 CD set, long since deleted (LAB 016-62). This second cycle, this time with pianist Eugene Helmer, dates from the summer of 1953, and was recorded for Remington, a label “which specialized in artists in the twilight of their careers”. Yet, here was a violinist in his prime. Sadly, his Remington recordings turned out to be last; his fatal automobile accident occurred in December of that same year. Quite why Renardy chose to remake the Caprices again with the David accompaniments is puzzling, given that Ruggiero Ricci had already set down a solo version, which was to set the trend.

The Caprices showcase Renardy’s phenomenal technique. Each miniature draws on his prodigious technical arsenal - double stops, harmonics, left-hand pizzicatos, spiccato and ricochet bowing. Listening to his recording, you’re unaware of any physical effort. Comparing the earlier recording with this later version, the first thing that strikes you is the improved sound quality of the Remington account, the result of some expert engineering. Gone is the 78 surface noise. Renardy has more bloom and richness to his tone; the playing is more confident and assured. The first cycle omitted nearly all the repeats and some cuts were made. Much has been restored in this later account.

Renardy’s Complete Remingtons have had a previous incarnation on Pristine Audio (PACM103) in transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn, The Franck and Ravel Sonatas have previously been released by Forgotten Records (FR484). Unfortunately I can’t offer comparisons for either. Biddulph’s tranfers are pleasing in every way, with surface noise kept to a minimum, and a nice balance struck between the two instrumentalists.

The performance of the Franck is big-boned and passionate, with an emphasis on the work's effusive lyricism. The young Eugene List is a wonderful pianist, and there’s a meeting of minds between the two participants throughout. The Recitativo third movement, the emotional heart of the work, is particularly effective. It sounds improvisatory, with an instinctive sense of line. The finale is passionate and intense.

Renardy’s restricted colour palette doesn’t work quite as well in the Ravel, which calls for a more varied spectrum of hues. The blues movement is the most successful, jazzy and improvisatory, yet without sounding mannered. In fact, it sounds quite intoxicating.

All told, these recordings, with many revelatory moments, bear testimony to a career tragically cut short.

Stephen Greenbank

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing