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Review Corner, August 2017

Kreisler’s playing was at its peak when he made these recordings, benefiting from using his favourite 1733 Stradivarius (as it would).

Despite the modern wizardry for audio restoration and remastering, the recordings still sound gloriously crackly and dated, and you can imagine Mr and Mrs Miggins gathering round the new-fangled gramophone to wonder at the skilled playing right there in their front room.

The pieces here are a mix of classical (Beethoven, Wagner, Bach) and traditional (Londonderry Air, Russian folk tunes) played by the Kreislers, and Charlton Keith and Carl Lamson on piano. It’s got charm and it’s definitely staying on our desk for repeated plays, its mix of sentimentality and charm, coupled with excellent playing, being highly appealing. © 2017 Review Corner Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2017

Being issued in date order, this seventh volume takes us through to the close of the acoustic era, and into the beginning of the electric era with the use of a microphone. By then Kreisler was in his fifties though technically still in his prime. Even with the improved recording potential, his choice of music had to be restricted to works that lasted no longer than three and a half minutes to fit on one side of a disc. Equally, the Victor company wanted a commercially viable release—even from such a famous name—so that we have his own ‘lollipops’; adaptations of operetta arias by Romberg and Frimal and two excerpts from his own operetta Apple Blossom. Just to show how tastes have changed, those ‘popular’ composers included Vincenzo Ciampi, Riccardo Drigo, Jean Prosper Marie, Charles Cadman and Leopold Ko┼żeluch. The disc is also shared with his cello playing brother, Hugo, Fritz becoming his highly capable pianist for eight tracks, and while Hugo spent much of his short life as an orchestral musician, he a most elegant solo artist. Stylistically, they use a great deal of rubato and their tempos were very free, most of the tracks being arrangements by Kreisler. With the magic of Ward Marston’s transfers, these acoustic recordings sound better than we have any right to expect, though you can appreciate the impact that the newfangled ‘electric recordings’ must have had when they appeared. This happens here on track 18, though this extended frequency range does show that Kreisler’s much vaunted intonation was becoming less exact. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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