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(1859 - 1930)

Nachèz represents once again the flourishing musical soil of Hungary in the nineteenth century. His father, a professional soldier who won great distinction in the 1849 revolution, encouraged him to make a career in law; he was educated at the Catholic State Gymnasium in Budapest with this intention. Nachèz’s musical promise was noticed at an early age, however, and a state scholarship provided him with the opportunity to study at the Berlin Hochschule, following successful studies with Sabatiel and a gruelling practice regime of between eight and ten hours a day. As with many budding virtuosi though, it was not to be the Berlin Hochschule (grounded in Joachim’s classical and high-minded ideals), but the more technically-minded Franco-Belgian school of playing in which Nachèz was to flourish, although he greatly admired Joachim’s performances of Beethoven and Bach. Along with Hubay, he made notes on Joachim’s playing whenever he heard him. Nachèz’s studies in Paris resulted in a brief period leading the Concerts Pasdeloup in that city, where his performance of a concerto by Ernst received such acclaim that Ernst’s widow presented him with the composer’s Tourte bow. Nachèz was also favoured highly by Liszt, with whom he played in the latter’s Weimar matinée concerts and whose approbation led to his successful acceptance in Paris, answering Nachèz’s own criticism that study under Joachim was not sufficiently technical. Nachèz would later claim that his tone and bow control were learnt mainly from Léonard.

Now best known for his Dances Tziganes, Nachèz also composed a number of more major works including two violin concertos, a requiem mass and a string quartet, none of which appear in standard repertoire today.

He did not record very widely, making three records in 1912 comprising two Danses Tziganes of his own composition (Op. 14) and Wilhelmj’s transcription of Schumann’s Träumerei (Op. 15 No. 7). The latter has now been reissued and shows a sensitive and thoughtful artist, taking a very leisurely and reflective tempo and evidencing a clean tone with contained vibrato and sensitively shaped, vocal portamenti. Although his accompanist is a little mechanical, this is an effective and serene reading, showing Nachèz to be an insightful interpreter. Although it is a shame that such a major virtuoso did not record more, his discs—albeit through the limited capabilities of acoustic technology—reveal an important musical talent.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)

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