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Leopold Auer - Rhapsodie Hungroise / Szalai, Balog


Release Date: 07/29/2003 
Label:  Hungaroton   Catalog #: 32156   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyRiccardo DrigoRobert SchumannFranz Joseph Haydn,   ... 
Performer:  Jószef BaloghAntal Szalai
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Leopold Auer’s younger countryman, Joseph Szigeti, recognized the brilliant and richly textured playing of Kreisler, Elman, and Heifetz as the wave of the future and struggled to rework his old-fashioned style. In this he never succeeded, although he compassed perhaps an even more noteworthy goal. Since Kreisler left no students, Leopold Auer, teacher of Elman and Heifetz, can be accounted a pedagogical fons et origo of the emerging style. Like Kreisler, Auer made a considerable number of arrangements and transcriptions, quite a few of which appear on Antal Szalai’s tribute to him as an arranger and composer. There’s a similar arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Mélodie by Carl Flesch that transposes the central figuration an octave higher Read more the second time through; but Auer’s version’s the popular one. Kreisler, like Auer, transcribed Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile, but Auer’s reworking climaxes more effectively in double stops. Heifetz recorded Drigo’s Valse-bluette in his first batch of pieces in 1917 in this very arrangement; but he published a different version, by Gustav Saenger, in his collection of encore pieces. Some of the items in Szalai’s collection amount to adaptations (Drigo), some to reworkings (Paganini) and some more or less to editions (Wieniawski). It’s not always clear which is which. Joseph Achron, for example, had so highly developed his compositional skills that it’s hard to imagine what Auer might have contributed to the Hebrew Melody. It’s also hard to imagine what Auer contributed to Haydn’s Vivace from the “Lark” Quartet, which appears in Szigeti’s transcription. While Auer himself may have sounded like an old-style virtuoso, his arrangements seem so well crafted that they hardly seem dated (as do Wilhelmj’s). Rhapsodie hongroise, op. 2, stands apart from the others as an original composition, in which Auer confidently and stylishly entered territory previously explored by virtuosi like Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst.

Antal Szalai and József Balog help create the modern impression Auer’s personality makes here. Szalai deploys his large tone (the engineers have caught him up close) and ample technique with great gusto. As a result, the pieces never bog down, even in their least inspired moments—although Auer chose his material so insightfully that such moments seem few and far between. At times Szalai plays with the aristocratic aplomb of Milstein—and with a tonal luster to match. Occasionally, he’s more eclectic: his reading of the Hebrew Melody combines Elman’s beauty of tone, Heifetz’s intensity, and Grumiaux’s pure flow of sound (in Grumiaux’s case, in other works, since he never recorded Hebrew Melody: Elman and Heifetz recorded this piece often—Heifetz in 1917, 1926, and 1946 and Elman in the 40s—RCA, 50s—London-Decca, and 60s—Vanguard). And although Heifetz exploded like a supernova in Paganini’s 24th Caprice, Szalai and Balog spread over it a loamy darkness (not merely a result—or at least only a result—of his slower tempos) that reveals expressive possibilities in both the original and in Auer’s arrangement that Heifetz’s more highly charged reading precluded.

Hungaroton’s collection should be required listening for violin students, all of whom either have, or should have, encountered this repertoire. But the quality of the transcriptions and, especially of the playing, earns it almost as strong a recommendation to more general listeners.

Robert Maxham, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42: no 3, Mélodie by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Jószef Balogh (Piano), Antal Szalai (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in D major, Op. 11: 2nd movement, Andante cantabile by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer
Composition written: Russia (1871).
Composition revised: Russia (1888). 
3.
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Lensky's aria by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Written: 1879 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
4.
Valse bluette by Riccardo Drigo
Performer:  Jószef Balogh (Piano), Antal Szalai (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
5.
Harlequin's Millions: Notturno d'amore "Serenade" by Riccardo Drigo
Performer:  Jószef Balogh (Piano), Antal Szalai (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
6.
Waldszenen, Op. 82: no 7, Vogel als Prophet by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1849; Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
7.
Myrthen, Op. 25: no 3, Der Nussbaum by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
8.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 64 no 5/H 3 no 63 "Lark": 4th movement, Vivace by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Notes: Arranged: Jószef Szigeti 
9.
Nocturne for Piano in E minor, B 19/Op. 72 no 1 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Poland 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
10.
Capriccio-Valse in E major, Op. 7 by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
11.
Melodies (2) for Piano, Op. 3: no 1 in F major by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; Russia 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
12.
Hebrew Pieces (2), Op. 35: no 2, Lullaby by Joseph Achron
Performer:  Antal Szalai (Violin), Jószef Balogh (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Poland 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
13.
Hebrew Pieces (2), Op. 35: no 1, Sher by Joseph Achron
Performer:  Jószef Balogh (Piano), Antal Szalai (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Poland 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
14.
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 24 in A minor by Niccolň Paganini
Performer:  Jószef Balogh (Piano), Antal Szalai (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Auer 
15.
Rhapsodie hongroise for Violin and Piano, Op. 2 by Leopold Auer
Performer:  Jószef Balogh (Piano), Antal Szalai (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 

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