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American Record Guide, August 2002

"I have written disparagingly in these pages about Powell's playing, accusing her of effeminacy, but after hearing these beautifully clear remasterings by Ward Marston, I must reverse that judgment. There was an earnest, even muscular quality to her playing...Powell was an intelligent, tasteful interpreter who conveyed a strong involvement with the music she played."

Turok’s Choice, April 2002

"A number of her recordings fit on two CDs, beautifully remastered by Ward Marston... She plays with incredible verve, pointedly "clean" technique, impeccable intonation, and none of the mannerisms found on recordings by great European violinists of the time."

Benjamin Ivry
Strings Magazine, March 2002

"American violinist Maud Powell (1867-1920) was fabulously appreciated in her day, before her premature death of a heart attack at age 52. Playing like a fierce lady from another generation, a sort of Carrie Nation taking an axe to a speakeasy, she aggressively conquered challenging works from Bach to Sarasate, sometimes with some odd attacks indeed. First to play concertos by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Dvorak in the States, she made dozens of recordings in primitive sound for Victor Red Seal, which are now presented by the artful transfer engineer Ward Marston. Fans of old-style composers like Drdla will enjoy these renditions, which also include a snippet of Bach's Partita No. 1 in B Minor, as fiercely played as Jozsef Szigeti did. Elgar's 'Salut d'amour' is performed with lyric emotion, as if the fiddler had truly loved. Some of the accompaniments are by the elfin pianist Arthur Loesser, also a stellar partner for the great violinist Toscha Seidel. An endearing relic, as ! if one's own great-grandmother were a zany and violent string player."

Rob Cowan
Gramophone, December 2001

"Finally, American violinist Maud Powell, who died in 1920, is being commemorated by Naxos with the 'Completed 1904-1917 Recordings.' Volume 1 reveals a strong and vibrant personality, especially in Bellstedt's Caprice on Dixie and Bruch's Kol Nidrei. Powell impressed Bruch with her playing of his Violin Concerto No 1 and this recording, although sonically compromised, helps to explain why."

Jed Distler, October 2001

"Violinist Maud Powell (1867-1920) achieved considerable popularity during her all-too-brief career (she died of a heart attack at 52 while on tour), which was no small feat for an American woman at the 20th century's outset. Among her U.S. premieres were the Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius concertos. Considering that Powell was only two years younger than Sibelius, her advocacy is analogous to Gidon Kremer championing John Adams today. Powell died five years before electrical recording became the industry standard, yet left about three and a half hours' worth of acoustic discs, chiefly consisting of encore-type fare that typified what record companies deemed salable. In the late 1980s the Maud Powell Society issued her complete recorded legacy on three CDs, in excellent Ward Marston transfers. Marston is at the controls again for Naxos' Maud Powell edition, effecting less surface noise than before but additional presence in the violin tone.

In the main, Powell impresses for her straightforward, unaffected musicianship and a solid technique that makes liberal use of finger slides--a mannerism that may sound frilly and old-fashioned to modern ears. On the other hand, her recording of the Bouree from Bach's B minor Solo Partita relates to recent period performance philsophies by way of her plain-spoken tone and near avoidance of vibrato. This type of sonority also suits Percy Grainger's bumptious 'Molly On The Shore'... Perhaps Schubert's 'The Bee' offers the most unmitigated listening pleasure, and Emmett's faded but charming Caprice on 'Dixie' must have been a hit with audiences. Connoisseurs of historic violin material should be pleased to know of this release, and will certainly look forward to Volumes 2 and 3."

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