Ida Haendel, violin, in music of MENDELSSOHN, STRAVINSKY, SZYMANOWSKI, FALLA & ALBENIZ – Dutton

by | Oct 3, 2007 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

Ida Haendel, violin  = MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64; STRAVINSKY: La Baiser de la Fee (arr. Dushkin); Danse Russe from Petrouchka; SZYMANOWSKI: Notturno, Op. 28, No. 1 and Tarantella, Op. 28, No. 2; FALLA: Danse espagnole; ALBENIZ: Malaguena, Op. 165, No. 3 – Ida Haendel, violin/ National Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Malcolm Sargent/ Ivor Newton, piano (Stravinsky)/ Adela Kotowska, piano (Szymanowski, Falla)/ Noel Mewton-Wood, piano (Albeniz)

Dutton CDBP 9772,  69:04  (Distrib. Harmonia mundi) ****:

More restorations of the silken violin artistry of Polish virtuoso Ida Haendel, here in inscriptions dating 1941-1947, and embracing two ‘classical’ masters, Mendelssohn and the equally Apollinian Stravinsky.  The 1934 arrangement of Stravinsky’s slightly bemused homage to Tchaikovsky, by way of The Fairy’s Kiss, presents a concentrated form of the ballet that Stravinsky culled from diverse Tchaikovsky piano pieces–like the Op. 10, No. 3–songs, and a moment from the F Minor Symphony.  Haendel recorded the Stravinsky repertory 9 July 1947 for Decca, and the Michael Dutton restoration (utilizing the CEDAR process) proves both seamless and ingratiating. Haendel adapts a clean, thin, nasal tone for the four-movement suite, her trills, flute tone, and quick glissandi the soul of effortless execution in Stravinsky‘s often angular transpositions of Tchaikovsky originals. The Danse Russe exerts more direct, electric energy – albeit over some swishy 78s.
Equally poised in a relatively subdued, intimate rendition is Mendelssohn’s E Minor Concerto from 22-23 September 1945.  Malcolm Sargent manages impassioned playing from the National Symphony in the poignant Andante, making a striking emotional contrast with the fleet, impish finale, Allegro molto vivace.  Occasionally sporting a steely tone, Haendel still lulls us in Mendelssohn’s more cantabile phrases while never relinquishing the febrile tension she maintains throughout the musical tissue.  

The two Szymanowski works (15 October 1946) cross-breed Debussy, Sarasate, and Polish liturgical syntax into an eerie mix, the piano often suggesting a habanera’s dissolving amidst erotic zephyrs. The Tarantella strikes an even more hallucinatory chord, flitting and careening like a demented banshee, then breaking into something like a jerky march. The Falla in Kreisler‘s arrangement (8 October 1942) is all verve and nervous energy, suave, erotic, focused. Finally, Albeniz (2 April 1941) with Mewton-Wood, deftly plastic, with Haendel’s digging into the strings and projecting a throaty, mellow tone as that which lulled the doomed Brian Aherne as Maximilian in the classic film Juarez. 

— Gary Lemco

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