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Zino Francescatti In Performance - Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Et Al

Release Date: 04/29/2003 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 1118   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyMax BruchCamille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Zino Francescatti
Conductor:  Artur RodzinskiFrank BlackCharles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Symphony OrchestraNBC Symphony OrchestraORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the slippery enterprise of evaluating the 20th-century’s greatest violinists, Francescatti remains among the most prepossessing contenders. Music & Arts’s broadcast transcriptions provide just such vital evidence.

Zino Francescatti’s recorded legacy is small enough to lend exceptional interest to DOREMI’s, Bridge’s, and now Music & Arts’s samplings of live performances and broadcasts. Francescatti studied with no illustrious teachers (although his father, who fostered his development, had been a pupil of Camillo Sivori) and won no prestigious competitions; yet, he maintained his position as one of the handful of best violinists for almost a half-century. Everything he played bore the impress of his genteel,
Read more dashing musical personality, a tonal and technical fingerprint he set not only on miniatures—even highly personal ones like Kreisler’s—but on the keystone repertoire as well. Henry Roth, whose essay on Francescatti, reproduced in the CD booklet from his last volume on violinists, cavils at Francescatti’s readings of Bruch and Tchaikovsky (the former for lacking drama, the latter for missing the work’s dark hue). Francescatti recorded the Tchaikovsky concerto twice (with Mitropoulos in 1954 and with Schippers in 1965, both with the New York Philharmonic) and the Bruch concerto twice, too (with Mitropoulos in 1952 and with Schippers in 1962, again, both with the New York Philharmonic). Perhaps due to the 1943 transcription’s more muffled sound, Francescatti’s sound lacks some of its customary acidulous bite in Tchaikovsky’s work. But the playing itself has lost none of its edge—the recording transmits just as clearly the electric individuality of his personality. He turns chameleon-like from the finale’s quicksilver passagework to its stamping dance-like episodes and to the wheedling plaintiveness of its lyrical interludes.

The recorded sound in Bruch’s concerto reveals Francescatti’s tone in greater splendor—the engineers miked him so close that he soars, for better or worse, above the orchestral textures. The first movement is commanding, the second bittersweet, and the third, visceral and sonorous.

The Saint-Saëns Third Concerto remained one of Francescatti’s trustiest mounts throughout his career, and his coupling of that work with Paganini’s First Concerto in early LP days set benchmarks for both that few, if any, have ever equaled. Music & Arts’s broadcast from 1951, just a year later than the studio recording, nevertheless, enjoys an advantage over that version for the poignancy of its slow movement and for the reading’s generally nostalgic sweetness, although its hollowly tubby recorded sound takes some getting used to.

In the slippery enterprise of evaluating the 20th-century’s greatest violinists, Francescatti, at least, remains among the most prepossessing contenders; the mounting evidence would, in fact, if anything, justify an upward nudge in his ranking. Music & Arts’s broadcast transcriptions, despite their recorded sound, provide just such vital evidence. Urgently recommended.

-- Robert Maxham, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Zino Francescatti (Violin)
Conductor:  Artur Rodzinski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/24/1943 
Length: 31 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Zino Francescatti (Violin)
Conductor:  Frank Black
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/29/1945 
Length: 22 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 3 in B minor, Op. 61 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Zino Francescatti (Violin)
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; France 
Date of Recording: 1951 
Venue:  Live  Strasbourg Festival 
Length: 25 Minutes 35 Secs. 

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