Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nadien’s is a name worth celebrating and this disc does just that.
I’ve written extensively about David Nadien in previous reviews of discs issued by Cembal d’amour entitled Legendary Violinist (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2] so biographical matters will be best considered there. I should note, however, in passing, the laudable commitment to the splendid and under-sung violinist’s legacy displayed by this label.
We have two performances in this disc dating from 1960-61. The first pairs him with the august violist Emanuel Vardi and the younger, less well known but splendid cellist Jascha Silberstein. Together they essay Mozart’s Divertimento for violin, viola and cello in E flat major K563 in a live performance given
at Sioux Falls, Dakota in 1960. This big work receives a commensurately big reading, one that verges on the sonority of a chamber ensemble so big and vibrant is the corporate tonal heft of the trio. The acoustic is rather boomy which adds to the depth and breadth of the sound and it’s especially in ensembles that the vibrant, masculine and expressive playing takes on outsize drama. The outlines of the opening Allegro, the Adagio, the fourth movement Andante and the Allegro finale are actually very reminiscent – at least in temporal terms – of the illustrious 1941 Victor set made by Heifetz, Feuermann and Primrose. The Nadien-Vardi-Silberstein trio are not as subtle perhaps in their responses, though the circumstances of the recording rather hampers them here. But they are truly communicative, and their vibrancy reaches heights in the Adagio. Perhaps the Menuetto is rather too muscular – it tends to lack the more elfin intensity of the older trio’s performance which is, in any case, a minute quicker. The salient qualities of this 1960 performance are the masculine scale of the playing – perhaps balanced too firmly in that one direction – and the extrovert communicative qualities of all three men. It’s a really vital, life affirming performance and shows the three as eloquent exponents.
Coupled with it is a 1961 studio recording of The Four Seasons. This was still relatively early days in the work’s increasing ubiquity – Molinari (directing his own massed arrangement in wartime Italy), Olevsky in Vienna and Kaufman in New York had all left behind important if idiosyncratic statements as had, live, Alfredo Campoli in London. Kaufman’s is often stated as the first commercial recording of the work – something Naxos claimed in its own transfer incarnation – but that’s wrong; it was Molinari. Nadien and Vardi, with Igor Kipnis at the harpsichord, shape a virile and attentive performance. It’s not overtly pictorial or gluttonously expressive. And Nadien doesn’t pour molten vibrato as Kaufman did; nor indeed does he indulge in the battery of expressive finger position changes that his older American colleague did. His spun legato in the slow movement of Spring however is a delight though I find his characteristically intense, tight vibrato works least well in the opening of Summer. The opening of Winter is incisive but its slow movement is vitiated by an over-intrusive Nadien vibrato. Vardi shapes things well, with the basses of the Kapp Sinfonietta strongly to the fore in, say, the Allegro finale of Spring.
Nadien’s is a name worth celebrating and this disc does just that. The Vivaldi sounds well in this restoration and the Mozart, though recorded live, gives an excellent impression as to this formidable trio in concert. Altogether a thoroughly laudable restoration.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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