David's Review Corner
, March 2020
We have reached in the ninth volume in Fritz Kreisler’s ‘Complete Recordings’, this release covering the years 1927/1928 and mostly made for Victor Talking Machine.
The great violinist was then fifty-two years old and had moved from acoustic to electric recordings, that major stepping stone coming at the end of his stay in the United States before departing with his wife for their new home in his native Germany. It was an event marked with new recordings for Electrola in Berlin that also featured his cello playing brother, Hugo. Given the fact that we have to thank Ward Marston for his ‘Audio Restoration’, all twenty-four tracks sound remarkably good both in tonal quality and balance between violin and piano—I never cease to wonder at Marston’s achievements. Apart from the works written by Kreisler, the remaining tracks are of familiar compositions that he arranged for violin and piano. There was, of course, the limiting factor that they had to fall within the time limits imposed by the discs of that time, but equally to maximise of sales revenue. That restricted him to well-known melodies of that era. There are exceptions, the arrangements of three excerpts from Dohnanyi’s Ruralia hungarica, made to mark his relationship with his former pianist. Every opportunity could be taken to re-record a complete work so as to remove ‘blemishes’, as most fell within the three to four minutes. That said, his intonation was almost faultless; his violin sounded particularly beautiful, while the recording quality of the piano was quite remarkable for that time, his pianist, Carl Lamson, always a very fine partner. © 2020 David's Review Corner