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A posthumous NEW CD from Alfredo Campoli, with Peter Katin, who is very much alive and working as always.

September 10, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Sonata for piano and violinNo. 35 in A, K526 (1787)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30 No. 2 (1801/02)

Recorded live in the Fairfield Halls Croydon. c.1972
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108 (1888)
Recorded at Campoli’s Southgate home, c.1973
Alfredo Campoli (violin)
Peter Katin (piano) 
ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS CD3/2009 (69 minutes)
 
Campoli received acclaim for many of his performances, but there is almost nothing in the recording catalogue of the great man other than the well-documented concerti he recorded.
 
The few CDs that do exist of works other than the concertos of, Mendelssohn, Elgar, Beethoven, Bliss, Moeran etc., are also generally ‘old’ with regard to sound quality, as is normally expected. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as has been demonstrated on this new CD.
 
It is almost a miracle that a recording made in the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, circa 1972, should sound today as though it were a performance of yesterday - and yet that is the case.
 
Joined by the formidable British pianist, Peter Katin for a lunchtime recital, Alfredo and Peter give a virtually perfect performance, in front of a spellbound and silent audience.
 
The Fairfield Halls proved an ideal venue in which to undertake a commercial recording. I should perhaps add that the recording was made in accordance with CNSTR, certified, natural, sound, technique, recording criteria. The Brahms, which was recorded later, in a drawing room, reflects accurately what one might expect of such a situation with regard to sound. Again Alfredo is joined by Peter Katin in what was a play-through following their rehearsal of the piece for public performance.
 
The first movement of the Mozart is most definitely Molto Allegro, the tempo indicated by Mozart. The duo exhibits it’s dexterity and yet maintain a fine tone throughout.
The Andante is slightly melancholic, defined here with warmth and the final movement, Presto, becomes Hey, presto with a magical touch. The finale was modeled on a piece for Keyboard, violin and cello by K.F Abel.
 
Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, is the second of his opus 30 set, and was composed between 1801 and 1802. It was published in May 1803, and dedicated to Czar Alexander I of Russia. It has four movements:
  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Adagio cantabile
  3. Scherzo: Allegro
  4. Finale: Allegro; Presto
The first movement is in sonata form, without a repeat of the exposition and the development section contains a theme not found in the exposition (this happens in earlier compositions such as the fourth violin sonata). Tension is the keyword for the rendition of this movement.
The second movement was originally sketched out in G major before taking its current form. Campoli’s fine tone shines through and Katin continues to maintain a delicately balanced dynamic approach, as in all the works on this CD
The Scherzo and Finale concur with the first two movements in the approach to the work which is a powerful performance, full of energy and polished artistry. (Partly from Wikepedia).
A sound sample can be heard on http://www.orchestralconcertcds.com/cd/cd003.html
 
BRAHMS Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108 is the last in a triptych of violin sonatas composed between 1878 and 1887. Unlike Brahms' two previous violin sonatas it is in four movements (the others are in three movements). The sonata is dedicated to Brahms' friend and colleague Hans von Bülow, and was premiered in Budapest in 1888 with Jeno Hubay on violin and the composer at the piano. (Wikepedia).
It is immediately evident that Alfredo has a particular feeling for Brahms and Peter weaves around in perfect harmony with his friend. I recall Alfredo’s comment at the time, “That’s real Brahms”.
The sound is an indication of how the piece would have been heard in Brahms’s day; in elegant Viennese houses, played by professionals and amateurs alike.
On this occasion the drawing room was in Alfredo’s home in Southgate, North London and the piano was a Bluthner, chosen by Peter for Alfredo.
Since there are two sound samples available, providing an adequate indication of the performance and sound quality for the CD, I think it would be superflous for me to attempt to offer a review in the regular sense, particularly since members are almost certainly more knowledgeable than I. In fact a review has already been published by Music Web International:
 http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Aug09/campoli_Katin_CD32009.htm
An extended sound sample of the Beethoven is available by visiting http://www.orchestralconcertcds.com/info/samples.html
And clicking on the 4th sample down.
I'm currently planing to release the Beethoven Violin Concerto I recorded in 1960.

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