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Josef Gingold

Wolf / Gingold
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Enharmonic Records   Catalog #: 1016   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Kenneth WolfStarling CumberworthMarcel Dick
Performer:  Josef GingoldKenneth WolfTheodore LettvinHarold Heiberg
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



K. WOLF Violin Sonata 1. CUMBERWORTH Violin Sonata 2. DICK Essay 3 Josef Gingold (vn); 1 Kenneth Wolf, 2 Theodore Lettvin, 3 Harold Heiberg (pn) PERFORMER’S Read more DOMAIN 1016 (63:29)


Performer’s Domain has released Josef Gingold’s recordings of works by three composers associated with him in Cleveland (he served under George Szell as concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra) without a booklet, but the back of the jewel case gives a thumbnail description of the composers and works. Kenneth Wolf (who, according to the blurb, earned a degree at 14 from Yale, where he studied with Paul Hindemith) plays his own sonata’s piano part in this performance. Hindemith, whatever influence he may have wielded over Wolf (perhaps most noticeable in the third movement, with the piano bustling in light counterpoint underneath, and almost independent of, the violin part), doesn’t seem to have dominated his compositional ideas. The recorded sound, marred by what sounds like a noisy disc being played on a turntable, nevertheless reveals Gingold as energetically aggressive and consummately assured in the sonata’s bold opening gestures yet slitheringly suggestive in the first movement’s lyrical themes. This movement gives way, still in the first CD track, to a slower one as sensitive as the first proved energetic. Gingold displays impressive technical mastery in the movement’s rapid, elfin harmonics. A noisy disc change leads to the end of the slow movement, and the finale, opening with an intriguing rhythmic limp, begins the CD’s second track. For the most part, the music is lively—and idiomatic for the violin—and Gingold and Wolf give a zesty account that grows febrile toward the end before winding down to a quiet conclusion.


The recorded sound of Starling Cumberworth’s sonata caught Gingold closer up and reveals more of the edge that often appeared in his tone. The blurb identifies Cumberworth (1914–85) as one of Gingold’s associates at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and his sonata seems to explore a wider tonal range than does Wolf’s, though it’s described as being in G Major. The first movement opens with bold gestures that recur throughout. As in the recording of Wolf’s sonata, the brief slow movement occupies a single track with the first; the recorded sound includes lots of extraneous noise and coughing fairly close in proximity to the microphones. The fast third section, also brief, begins with tremolos that suggest an extroverted moto perpetuo , relieved temporarily by the eruption of a folklike melody. Another brief slow section, elegiac in disposition, leads to a finale that alternates decisive statement with introspective meditation; the sonata closes in reverie. Theodore Lettvin serves as assured accompanist.


Marcel Dick (1898–1991), another of Gingold’s colleagues at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studied, according to the blurb, with Arnold Schoenberg, whose 12-tone system he adopted. But his Essay, accompanied on this recording by Harold Heiberg, doesn’t sound so much more forbidding than do the program’s other works, accessible though they may be—perhaps due to what seems to be Dick’s finely developed melodic sensibilities, which the work showcases. Both Heiberg and Gingold possess the intelligence and instinct to make it engaging, and the engineering is more accommodating than that of the rest of the program.


Those who take an interest in the composers represented will find this release most interesting; and those who admire Gingold and want to discover how well he channeled kindred spirits among 20th-century composers will find it particularly fascinating. Recommended primarily on account of its specialized nature to those exploratory sorts of listeners.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Violin no 1 by Kenneth Wolf
Performer:  Josef Gingold (Violin), Kenneth Wolf (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2. Sonata for Violin in G major by Starling Cumberworth
Performer:  Josef Gingold (Violin), Theodore Lettvin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
3. Essay by Marcel Dick
Performer:  Josef Gingold (Violin), Harold Heiberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

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