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Jeno Hubay: Violin Vorks / Charles Castleman, Et Al

Release Date: 04/26/2005 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 1164   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Mary ZentayJacques GrunbergJoseph SzigetiAndor Foldes,   ... 
Conductor:  Ferenc FricsayMendi Rodan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Philharmonic OrchestraEastman Chamber Ensemble
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The recent spate of recordings of Jenö Hubay’s violin music might suggest a centennial or bicentennial of his birth or death (1858 and 1937, respectively), but the arithmetic doesn’t confirm any such hypothesis. The violin concertos’ revival came first, sparked a generation ago perhaps by Aaron Rosand’s recording of the Third (re-released on Vox CDX 5102) and followed by Hagai Shaham’s (Hyperion CDA 67367, 27:2. Recently, I reviewed Shaham’s collection of Hubay’s shorter pieces (CDA 67441/2) and Ferenc Szecsödi’s (Hungaroton HCD 32155 and HCD 32060, parts of a more extended series) collections of short pieces, including a substantial number of the Scènes de la Csárda. Music and Arts’s collection of eight of the Read more Scènes, produced jointly with the Eastman School of Music, where violinist Charles Castleman serves as chairman of the string department, includes orchestral accompaniments by the Eastman Chamber Orchestra, and one of the Scènes has been orchestrated (in a somewhat anachronistic modern manner) by Eastman-graduate David Wish. Carl Flesch considered these works the most influential in disseminating Hubay’s reputation. Originally written for violin and piano, they enshrine popular Hungarian melodies rather than echt folk tunes, in scintillatingly virtuosic, and later, idiomatically orchestrated, settings that, like Sarasate’s stylized Spanish pastiches, provide a brittle album of ethnic romantic violin-playing. Charles Castleman fans the smoldering embers that glow in these rhapsodic pieces, although his readings may not appeal so strongly as Shaham’s to those who connect Hubay’s style with fiery gypsy-like virtuosity. At times, despite Mendi Rohan and the orchestra’s colorful support, the tonal beauty of Castleman’s 1708 Stradivari, and the engineers’ well-balanced, bright, and clear recorded sound, the soloist allows the Scènes, especially the longer ones, to show their length and occasionally fails to bring off effects such as harmonics and rapid runs with frisson-creating panache. Still, the opportunity to hear the pieces in their orchestrated versions (Aaron Rosand’s performance of Hejre Kati with Louis de Froment and the Orchestra of Radio Luxembourg reemerged on CD in Vox CDX 5102) would have offered sufficient incentive for aficionados of the violin to acquire these performances, even if they hadn’t been coupled with a collection of Hubay’s works played by the composer himself and by some of his most illustrious students.

For the compilation, Graham Newton and Ed Wilkinson restored recordings provided by collectors Eric Wen, Raymond Glaspole, and Dave Hermann (Al Schlachtmeyer contributed Szigeti’s Office of Wartime recording of Zephyr). Hubay’s own performance of the Intermezzo from his opera, The Violin Maker of Cremona, recorded when he was entering his eighth decade, features the slow, somewhat unsteady vibrato that would later plague the aging Szigeti’s tone production—in the case of neither violinist, though, obscuring in any way the musical message. Jelly d’Arányi’s vital and dashing reading of the Poem hongroise suggests the effect she might have had on Maurice Ravel, who wrote his Tzigane after an evening spent listening to her play. Harry Solloway, Ibolyka Zilzer, and Mary Zentay don’t make the same vibrant impression, although they play with a tonal beauty that the original 78s may not have been able to capture fully but nevertheless strongly suggest; while Ibolyka Gyráfás even displays some technical instability, perhaps not considered so debilitating a drawback to artistic performance as it would later be in what Oscar Wilde’s Aunt Augusta might have branded an age of surfaces. Franz von Vecsey’s warmth of tone, though, compares favorably with that of his master and presages things to come, while Duci de Kerekjárto combines throbbing cantilena with rhythmic gusto and razor-sharp technique—as does, at what appears to be an even higher level of synthesis, Emil Telmányi. Szigeti’s Scène sparkles with an unrestrained brilliance not often associated with him; and while the Zephyr, from the same period, isn’t note perfect, it bristles with the same kind of energy that he brought to explorations of more substantial repertoire. The restorations, even of the least prepossessing masters, seem to preserve many original timbral subtleties—with the 1928 Hubay performance and the wartime Szigeti, in particular, offering startlingly crisp and spacious recorded sound. For anyone on whom this repertoire or these performers exercise the least fascination, Music and Arts’s generous issue should strongly recommend itself; but it should appeal as well to students of the period and its performance practices. Urgently recommended, especially—though hardly exclusively—to these audiences.

Robert Maxham, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Scčnes de la Csárda no 8, Op. 60 "Azt mondjak" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Mary Zentay (Violin), Jacques Grunberg (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Hungary 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 3, Op. 18 "Maros vize" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Joseph Szigeti (Violin), Andor Foldes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1882-1883; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1941 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 2, Op. 13 "Kis furulyám" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Emil Telmányi (Violin)
Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1880-1881; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1942 
Length: 9 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 12, Op. 83 "Pici tubiczam" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Duci de Kerekjárto (Violin), Maurice Eisner (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1898; Hungary 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 7, Op. 41 "Kossuth-nota" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Charles Castleman (Violin)
Conductor:  Mendi Rodan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Chamber Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1891; Hungary 
Venue:  Rochester, New York 
Length: 8 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 5, Op. 33 "Hullámzó Balaton" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Ibolyka Zilzer (Violin), Michael Raucheisen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1887; Hungary 
Date of Recording: C1928 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 14, Op. 117 by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Charles Castleman (Violin)
Conductor:  Mendi Rodan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Chamber Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1920; Hungary 
Venue:  Rochester, New York 
Length: 10 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
Scčnes de la Csárda no 4, Op. 32 "Hejre Kati" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Emil Telmányi (Violin), Annette Telmányi (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1882-1886; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
The Violin Makers of Cremona, Op. 40: Intermezzo by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Franz von Vecsey (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1894; Hungary 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Počmes hongrois (6), Op. 27 by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Jelly D'Aranyi (Violin), Ethel Hobday (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Hungary 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Blumenleben (6), Op. 30: no 5, Der Zephyr by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Joseph Szigeti (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Hungary 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
Circa 1942 - Circa 1944 
Mazurkas de concert (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 54: no 1 in A minor by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Ibolyka Gyárfás (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; Hungary 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
Circa 1917 - Circa 1918 
Character Pieces (3), Op. 44 "Impressions from Puszta" by Jenö Hubay
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Emil Telmányi (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 1935 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 

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