ALFREDO CAMPOLI & PETER KATIN = Mozart Violin Sonata in A major K526; Beethoven Violin Sonata in C minor, Op. 30 No. 2; Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108 – Alfredo Campoli, violin / Peter Katin, piano – Orchestral Concert (3CDs) CD3/2009 [www.orchestralconcertcds.com] 69:46 ****:
Finally, here is a supplement to the Orchestral Concert CDs, containing previously unissued recordings of Campoli playing chamber music with Peter Katin. The first two items were recorded in concert at The Fairfield Halls, Croydon in 1972, the Brahms at Campoli’s home, Southgate in 1973. The violinist is still on very good form, and Peter Katin’s playing provides an excellent example to explain why he is still held in high regard especially in Europe.
The live recordings of the Mozart and Beethoven show some of the “bel canto” playing for which Campoli was so well known. The Beethoven’s andante cantabile really does sing here, the scherzo is playful and opening and closing movements bold. The Mozart is more romantically played than one would hear nowadays, but the line is held fairly firmly with a modicum of tempo alteration. The recording is very good indeed though the violin is quite closely miked, giving an intimate feel to the playing.
The Brahms sonata does not sound as constricted as one would think, for a recording was made in the Campoli home. The playing here makes one hope there lurks in the BBC vaults a performance of the Brahms concerto, as Campoli’s playing of the adagio in particular shows an intensity to be admired and a temptation to play the movement a second time. Muscular first and last movements and a light scherzo make this a compelling audition. Campoli and Katin played together many times and the experience shows.
This CD, showing another side to Campoli from the big concerto, is available from the website quoted above.
Alfredo Campoli was a keen bridge player to a high standard and also enthusiastic cigar smoker. He died suddenly on 27 March 1991 just before a bridge evening at Princes Risborough, not far from his home in Thame, Oxfordshire. David Tunley’s biography of Campoli, “The Bel Canto Violin,” to which I am indebted for some of the information here, is published by Ashgate Publishing Limited, and is highly recommended especially to those to whom Campoli’s playing has given so much pleasure.
— Peter Joelson