Joseph Gingold plays SCHUBERT – Joseph Gingold, violin/Walter Robert, p./Gyoergy Sebok, p. – Performer’s Domain

by | Jul 15, 2011 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

Joseph Gingold plays SCHUBERT = Grand Duo Sonata in A Major, D. 574; Fantasia in C Major, D. 934; Sonatina in A Minor, D. 385 – Joseph Gingold, violin/Walter Robert, piano/Gyoergy Sebok, piano (D. 385) – Performer’s Domain PD-1065, 64:00 [Distr. By Albany] ***:
Paltry recording data–3 March 1968 for the Grand Duo and Fantasy, but neither liner notes nor timings–accompany this disc, so we must assume the source as in-house University of Indiana Music Department concerts, of which Joseph Gingold (1909-1995) was a member, often accompanied by Walter Robert. Gyoergy Sebok (1922-1999), too, enjoyed a distinguished career that included the University of Indiana Jacobs School of Music as his pedagogical base. Cellist Janos Starker in a personal interview called Sebok one of the greatest pianists of the age. The collaboration with Sebok has no recording date, and the producers give no concert venues.
The A Major “Duo” Sonata enjoys Gingold’s plastic line, one that often permits him to hold a note and milk its capacity to stay afloat via his vibrato. He and Robert take the second movement at a brisk tempo, the tiny staccati flying likes wood chips off a buzz saw. The laendler-like trio section dallies in the sunshine, a bucolic moment of utter repose before the da capo, even more energized, resumes. An Old World charm invests the 3/8 Andantino, its realizing a mood that resembles a gavotte or minuet by Fritz Kreisler. The last movement moves as an enchanter canter, a waltz-in-progress if you like. Gingold likes to slow down just as a melodic phrase ends, and he utilizes his personal sense of rubato to extend the easy and intimate sense of fancy that makes this a charmed rendition for us collectors. Great applause follows the Sonata but its sound quality is rocky going.
Distant sonics don’t help the opening “water” riffs from Gingold and Robert in the massive C Major Fantasy, but the notes are there.  Not so expansive as the performance of the Fantasy I recently reviewed by Johanna Martzy on Testament from 1956, the Gingold rendition does not hasten but rather delights in the sudden mood swings, the scherzando prior to the set of variant on Rueckert‘s “Sei mir gegruesst” quite brisk and played for brilliant ensemble.  Pianist Walter adds lovely noblesse to the lied proper, and Gingold picks up on its valedictory gestures. Gingold’s diminuendo certainly wraps an intimacy around his phrases, a step away from a lullaby that inspires nuanced variations. The rapture of the poem itself–both ecstatic and dangerously hyperbolic–becomes a dizzy series of trills, turns, and embroidered fioritura whose long lines Gingold traverses with fluent ease. The return of the “liquid” sequence and its pedal point prepares us for the massive chorale or pageant tune which sweeps us to the fiery conclusion–once more invoking “I greet thee” of the passionate song, D. 741–of this monolith for violin and piano. Again, a shattered, crumpled sound for the applause.
The passionate, even fierce opening of the A Minor Sonatina generally has better sound than the prior Fantasy, permitting the warmth in Sebok’s keyboard tone some breathing space. The secondary theme of the first movement truly conveys its lieder kinship, some of the figures reminiscent of  “Die Forelle.”  The expressive Andante enjoys a direct, disarmingly chaste approach from Gingold that highlights how naïve beauty in Schubert can appear. Predictably, the last two movements merely confirm our impression of Joseph Gingold as himself a “classic Romantic” whose good taste and scrupulous musicianship find a thoroughly sympathetic collaborator in Gyoergy Sebok.
While I applaud any effort to resurrect musically important materials, the compromised sonics make me think it will be Gingold aficionados alone who gravitate to this particular disc.
— Gary Lemco

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