Such attributes as charismatic, singular, exceptional are somewhat overused today. Yet in the case of Ida Haendel they are justified. Born in 1928 into a Polish Jewish family, she was a child prodigy, playing Beethovens violin concerto at the age of five...and leading master classes in London at the age of 85. After her Prague debut in 1957, she returned to the city throughout the 1960s, either to give concerts (most frequently with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Karel Anerl, and exclusively accompanied by the pianist Alfréd Holeek at chamber recitals) or to work in the studio. This 5-CD box features the complete live and studio recordings Ida Haendel made in Prague from 1957-65 and deposited in the Supraphon and Czech Radio archives, with a number of them being released for the first time. Alongside virtuoso pieces and sonatas, the CDs include concertos by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Wieniawski, as well as her flagship Sibelius. Ida Haendel radiates an elemental, ecstatic musicality, one peculiar to Gypsy virtuosos, here refined into a perfectly cultivated form.