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Steven Staryk: A Retrospective, Vol. 2 - Violin Gems

Schubert / Staryk
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3203   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz SchubertFritz KreislerSergei RachmaninovHenri Wieniawski,   ... 
Performer:  Steven Staryk
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"One of my most distinguished predecessors at Fanfare, George Jellinek, said of Steven Staryk, “I have such a high opinion of your playing that it would pain me to no end if artistry of such caliber would not have the recognition it deserves.” On the occasion of Centaur releasing this six CD retrospective of Staryk’s career, I wish I could summon George Jellinek’s ghost to do justice in describing it. The very best of the items on these CDs rank among the greatest violin recordings in existence. What makes Steven Staryk so special? First of all there is his technique, which at its best may be compared to Perlman, Ricci, and Milstein’s. I hesitate to compare Staryk to Heifetz; however one feels about Heifetz’s sound, I have no doubt Read more that his technique was something perfect unto itself. Staryk’s tone is simply remarkable. It is radiant, with a feeling of sinew subsumed in its glorious texture. Staryk has no weaknesses. You simply are amazed that a man can draw such a tone from an inanimate object; the sound seems to possess a life of its own. All this would amount to nothing were it not matched by Staryk’s musicianship. He exhibits a musicality marked by a laser like precision of meaning. At any point in a phrase, you know exactly what Staryk’s intent is. Somehow, had the composer played the violin, you feel he would want to sound like Steven Staryk, so close is the identification between creator and soloist. The present retrospective is the nearest thing I know to discovering music all over again. In a nutshell, Steven Staryk is a phenomenon.

Volume 2 of this retrospective is one of the finest collections of short works for violin I know of. Staryk approaches them like a storyteller, making of each a narrative jewel. Pride of place goes to the six Kreisler originals he plays. They are marked by daredevil nonchalance of technique and a subtle, expressive rubato. Staryk always suggests the vein of melancholy beneath the brilliant exterior of these works, something Pinchas Zukerman also does on his early LP of Kreisler (which Sony should rerelease). The three Tchaikovsky selections receive readings of Mozartian elegance, making me wish we could hear Staryk in the concerto. Three French works by Massenet, Fauré, and Ravel are marked by grace and Gallic taste. Staryk shows a robust approach to two pieces by Henryk Wieniawski. Lovely curios are two selections played with a gypsy band, one of which is inserted into its appropriate place in Pablo Sarasate’s Gypsy Airs, to telling effect. Of the remaining works, perhaps the most radiant performance is of the second movement of Robert Schumann’s rarely heard Violin Concerto, making me wish we had the whole thing.

After spending about 40 hours listening to Steven Staryk—A Retrospective, I am loathe to put aside these CDs and file my review. Staryk is revealed here not just as a great musician but also as a trusted friend of the listener. Few artists give of themselves so wholeheartedly to their audience. Even though many of these recordings are monaural and less than state of the art, I guarantee that they will entrance you infinitely longer than the latest PR confections on CD of our pretty young violinists. Perhaps it is not too late to provide Steven Staryk with the major international reputation he so richly deserves. Compared to him, nearly all other violinists indeed sound like children."

FANFARE: Dave Saemann
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonatina for Violin and Piano in A minor, D 385/Op. 137 no 2: 4th movement, Allegro by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
2. Tambourin chinois, Op. 3 by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
3. Schön Rosmarin by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
4. Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
5. Transcription of Kreisler's "Liebesfreud" for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1921 
6. Gypsy Caprice by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
7. Caprice viennois, Op. 2 by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
8. Mazurkas (2), Op. 19: no 2 in D major "Le ménétrier" by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1860; St. Petersburg, Russ 
9. Concerto for Violin no 2 in D minor, Op. 22: 2nd movement, Romance by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; St. Petersburg, Russ 
10. Pičce en forme de Habańera by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; France 
11. Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 51: no 6, Valse sentimentale by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
12. Morceaux (12) for Piano, Op. 40: no 2, Chanson triste by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
13. Songs (6), Op. 6: no 6, None but the lonely heart by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
14. Marguerite by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
15. Concerto for Violin in D minor: 2nd movement by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
16. Thaďs: Meditation by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
17. Berceuse for Violin and Piano in D major, Op. 16 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1879; France 
18. Gloomy Sunday by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
19. Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878 
20. Romanian Folk Dances: Pe Loc by Béla Bartók
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Budapest, Hungary 
21. Romanian Folk Dances: Buciemeana by Béla Bartók
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Budapest, Hungary 

Sound Samples

Violin Sonata (Sonatina) in A minor, Op. 137, No. 2, D. 385: IV. Allegro
Liebesleid
Liebesfreud
Schon Rosmarin
2 Mazurkas, Op. 19: No. 2. Le menetrier, "Dudziarz"
Piece en forme de habanera
12 Morceaux, Op. 40 (arr. J. Moelker for violin and orchestra): 12 Morceaux, Op. 40: No. 2. Chanson triste (arr. J. Moelker for violin and orchestra)
Gypsy Caprice
Tambourin chinois, Op. 3
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 3. Margaritki (Daisies) (arr. F. Kreisler): 6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 3. Margaritki (Daisies) (arr. F. Kreisler for violin and piano)
Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22: II. Romance: Andante
6 Romances, Op. 6 (arr. J. Moelker for violin and orchestra): 6 Romances, Op. 6: No. 6. None but the Lonely Heart (arr. J. Moelker for violin and orchestra)
6 Morceaux, Op. 51 (arr. R. Klopcic for violin and piano): 6 Morceaux, Op. 51: No. 6. Valse sentimentale (arr. R. Klopcic for violin and piano)
Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23: II. Langsam
Thais: Act II: Meditation
Berceuse, Op. 16 (version for violin and piano)
Caprice viennois, Op. 2
Roman nepi tancok (Romanian Folk Dances), BB 68 (arr. Z. Szekely): Roman nepi tancok (Romanian Folk Dances), BB 68: No. 3. Pe loc (In One Place) - No. 4. Buciumeana (Horn Dance) (arr. Z. Szekely for violin and piano)
Gloomy Sunday (arr. for gypsy ensemble)
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 (arr. for violin, orchestra and gypsy ensemble)

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