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David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2015

In his 1924–25 sessions the celebrated violinist, Fritz Kreisler, brought to an end the acoustic recording era, the twenty-one tracks largely given to trifles of salon music. Famous musicians of the day were quick to realise the commercial benefits that recordings could bring in making their name well-known to a wide spectrum of the world’s populace, and they were not over-fussy about the quality of music they were recording. Kreisler was already turned fifty, a ‘good age’ at that time, and his creamy tone, with lashings of vibrato, was his trademark, raising such works as Eduard Schütt’s Slavonic Lament and Brandl’s The Old Refrain to a level they hardly merited. Neither did he mind placing on disc a rather spurious arrangement of the Minuet from Haydn’s ‘Miracle’ Symphony that was obviously intended for beginners, a comment you could repeat through much of the disc. Then among all of this nugatory, we find a beautiful arrangement of the Pierrot’s Dance Song from Korngold’s tragic opera Die tote Stadt. Collectors then will want the Scherzando from Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole (with piano accompaniment) which only ever existed in a test pressing, and the Canzonetta from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, neither ever issued on 78 rpm discs. The accompaniment comes from Carl Lamson, the tone given to his piano slightly varying from track to track, but, in these amazing transfers…the sound of both instruments is most accessible. Indeed we will be listening to the recordings with a fidelity—and without surface noise—that Kreisler would never have heard. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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