Siegfried Borries = DVORAK: Sonatina in G Major; Three Romantic Pieces; BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major; SCHUBERT: Violin Sonata in A Major – Siegfried Borries, v./ Michael Raucheisen, p. – MeloClassic

by | Dec 5, 2014 | Classical Reissue Reviews

Siegfried Borries = DVORAK: Sonatina in G Major, Op. 100; Three Romantic Pieces, Op. 75; BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24; SCHUBERT: Violin Sonata in A Major, D. 574 – Siegfried Borries, violin/ Michael Raucheisen, p. – MeloClassic MC 2010, 66:23 [] ****: 

If the reputation of former Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Siegfried Borries (1912-1980) endures, his recorded legacy remains mostly responsible, especially his collaboration with Sergiu Celibidache in the Busoni Violin Concerto they inscribed for RIAS. MeloClassic restores excerpts from two of Borries’ recitals, 1943-1944, with Michael Raucheisen, when Borries’ popularity rivaled that of his older colleague Georg Kulenkampff.

Borries opens (4 February 1943) with the 1893 Dvorak Sonatina in G, especially written by the composer for his own gifted children, Ottilie and Tonik. The natural melodic flow of the Allegro risoluto contains elements common to Dvorak’s “American” pieces, pentatonic themes and bustling, syncopated dance rhythms. The playing of the famous G Minor Larghetto (“Indian Lullaby,” as popularized by Fritz Kreisler) displays Borries and a responsive Raucheisen at their best.  Borries’ tone remains nasal and piercingly thin, reminiscent of that of Joseph Szigeti, but tonally accurate. The Minnehaha (“Laughing Water”) idea pervades the G Major Molto vivace third movement.  The folk impulse dominates the final Allegro, sounding as it does like martial Scott Joplin occasionally.  More ingratiating, sonically, the Romantic Pieces of 1887 provide a truly lyric vehicle for Borries, especially the first, Allegro moderato. The direct, fiery approach to the Allegro maestoso well reminds me of my stellar version, Uto Ughi’s later performance on Italian RCA.  Borries concludes impressively with the third of the Op. 75 set, the romantic Allegro appassionato, omitting the Elegy.

The Beethoven “Spring” Sonata of 1801 (13 April 1944) reveals a composer on the verge of a stylistic shift, genteel and galant on the one hand, vigorously transparent and muscularly optimistic on the other. We must admire Ruacheisen’s suave realization of the piano filigree as he leads or shades Borries’ contribution.  If the plastic themes and rhythms lack a degree of humor in this rendition, they do enjoy a warm intimacy. The lovely Adagio molto espessivo manages to convince us that Beethoven could be mistaken for Schubert, so secure and serene the playing. The aggressively elfin Scherzo leads us to the carefully articulated Rondo, which may strike some auditors as too staid despite its resonant, ardent reading.

The Schubert 1817 “Duo Sonata” in A Major (20 May 1944) concludes this disc, a lyrical work whose first movement Allegro moderato exploits irregular phrase lengths while creating dovetailed themes  of the serpentine length we will later attribute to Bruckner.  A fine balance of instrumental timbres and dynamics marks this performance, certainly competitive with my old stand-by interpretation from Joseph Szigeti and Myra Hess. The staccato syncopations  of the raspy Scherzo contrast elegantly with the legato trio section. A tender lied of elevated, Viennese charm, the Andantino evolves two themes which vary and expand with each repetition, many featuring Borries’ gentle trill. The zesty Allegro vivace in 3/8 enjoys a rustic canter and gracious interplay that ensures we audition this performance a second time.

—Gary Lemco

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