Brilliant Recordings Rescued From The Vaults
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 06/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now that Decca, Philips and Deutsche Grammophon, among others, are all part of Universal, we have seen some interesting things happen, and not all of them bad. What I'm referring to in this case is the new "Original Masters" Limited Edition Box Set series. Finally, the classical music world has taken a page out of the jazz reissue handbook -- put out a quality product featuring rare recordings but make its availability limited, and people will snatch it up. In the "Original Masters" series, first DG and now Decca/Philips have each reissued five box sets, of 4 to 7 CDs each, in distinguished, space-saving slim paper boxes, though the style of packaging is different. The DG sets feature 50s style graphics design on their covers, while the Decca/Philips ones have a distinctive rainbow/spectrum pattern on the spines and banners, and a black-and-white photo of the artist in question on the face of the box.
This particular set features the historical Philips recordings of the great violinist Arthur Grumiaux from 1953-62. As the track information is non-existent above, I will try to be of assistance. The first two discs contain the complete Mozart Violin Concertos, including K271i which is now regarded as doubtful (to be composed by Mozart), with Bernhard Paumgartner and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (VSO) from 1953-55. It is wonderful to compare these performances to Grumiaux's stereo Mozart VC Cycle on Philips with Colin Davis (see my review). Disc three is all works for violin and piano (with pianist Istvan Hajdu) -- Debussy, Ravel and Faure (No. 1) Sonatas, Ravel's Piece en Forme de Habanera, Faure's Les Berceaux, Saraste's Zigeunerweisen, Fiocco's Allegro, Granados' Andaluza, and Albeniz's Tango (all from 1962). Disc four features shorter works for violin and orchestra -- Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, Chausson's Poeme, Ravel's Tzigane, Saint-Saens' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and Havanaise. All are with Jean Fournet conducting the Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux (OCL) from 1954, except the Capriccioso which is 1956. Lastly, CD Five returns to concertos with the Mendelssohn (Rudolf Moralt/VSO, 1954) and Paganini No. 4 (Franco Gallini/OCL, 1954), and concludes with Paganini's I Palpiti and Le Streghe with pianist Riccardo Castagnone (1958). Despite the fact that the recordings on four of the five discs are in mono (CD3 is in stereo), the first rate performances more than compensate for any audio shortcomings. Well, I guess the consolidation of the music industry isn't so bad after all, as long as I can look forward to more reissues like this."
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 01/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this formidable album you will realize Artur Grumiaux is in top form. His lyricism and expressiveness is quite evident since the first bar you listened. He possessed that admirable and inimitable phrasing, supported by the most fervent passion and commitment.
This is a fundamental and excellent selection of his interpretative art. His Lekeu and Debussy violin Sonata do not know about rivals, even the elapsed time. I miss the exclusion of his Häendel works Op. 1 and several violin Sonatas of Mozart (specially the K. 376), but this artistic document well deserves its immediate acquisition.
Grumiaux was -undeniably- the best Belgium violinist after Ysaye, and one of the eternal icons of this instrument.