C1664. NICOLAI MALKO Cond. Danish National S.O.: Symphony in Three Movements; Symphony of Psalms; The Firebird - Suite; w.IDA HAENDEL: Violin Concerto in D (all Stravinsky) [Riveting performances, recorded in excellent sound!] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-709, Live Performance, 29 Jan., 1959, Copenhagen. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Malko completed his studies in history and philology at Saint Petersburg University in 1906. In 1909 he graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he had included Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov and Lyadov among his teachers. He published articles on music criticism in the Russian press and performed as a pianist and later as a conductor. In 1909 he became a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre and, six years later, the head conductor there. From 1909 he studied conducting in Munich under Felix Mottl. In 1918 he became the director of the conservatory in Vitebsk and from 1921 taught at the Moscow Conservatory. From 1921 to 1924 he shuttled between Vitebsk, Moscow, Kiev and Kharkiv, conducting in each of these cities. In 1925 he became a professor of the Leningrad Conservatory. He became conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra in 1926 and conducted the world première of the Symphony #1 by his pupil Dmitri Shostakovich that same year, and the premiere of Shostakovitch's Symphony #2, dedicated to him, in 1927. Malko also conducted the premiere of Nikolai Myaskovsky's 5th Symphony. Myaskovsky's 9th Symphony was dedicated to Nikolai Malko. He was succeeded as director of the Leningrad Philharmonic by his pupil Yevgeny Mravinsky in 1938, and continued to teach at the Conservatory. With the outbreak of World War II in 1940, Malko settled in the United States, where he also taught conducting. His thoughts on conducting technique were gathered together and published in a volume entitled, THE CONDUCTOR AND HIS BATON (1950).
Malko recorded extensively for EMI in Copenhagen and then with the Philharmonia, in London. In 1951 he premiered Vagn Holmboe's 7th Symphony with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 1954 he came to Britain as principal conductor of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra. In 1956 he moved to Australia, becoming chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra following the hurried departure of Sir Eugene Goossens. In 1960, the Danish King Frederick IX named Malko a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog. Malko continued in his position as Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra until his death in Sydney in 1961.”
- Ned Ludd
"Ida Haendel is one of the few instrumental prodigies to have achieved and then sustained a top-class international career lasting several decades. In a world dominated by male violinists, Haendel emerged on the scene playing with a scorching imperativeness and tonal opulence that rendered issues of gender a glorious irrelevance. A natural performer with a captivating stage presence, she filled even the largest of halls with waves of unbridled sound, enveloping her audiences in a sonic cocoon. When watching and listening to Haendel play, one is immediately struck by the naturalness and spontaneity of her musical thinking. In her hands the violin appears a natural extension of her being, a soulmate in which she confides and through which she projects her most intimate thoughts. Full bows speed through with a rapier’s thrust, articulated by an exceptionally strong left hand and finger-tip precision to enhance tonal clarity. The unmistakable impression created of someone born to play the instrument is no fanciful illusion. Even by prodigy standards, the rate at which Haendel mastered the violin - both technically and musically - borders on the miraculous.
Reflecting on her time with Flesch, Haendel felt that ‘he did not protect his students but spoke his mind, faults and all’. On the other hand ‘he was extremely kind to me and would kiss me on the forehead whenever I played well’. However, even that didn’t preclude a temporary falling-out between the two and during the hiatus that followed Ida headed for Paris seeking advice from Georges Enescu, a much gentler man and the polar opposite of Flesch being more preoccupied with the musical result than the means taken to achieve it. Another major milestone occurred in September 1935 when Haendel made her Proms début at the Queen’s Hall aged 9 - the first of 68 appearances at the British festival so far - playing the Beethoven Concerto under Sir Henry Wood. The DAILY TELEGRAPH reported that she possessed a command that most players achieve ‘only after long and industrious study’, while the OBSERVER commented that ‘no prodigy since Menuhin has shown such a sense of fitness, or played with such glow, such dignity’. Haendel spent the war years based in Britain, making the transition from prodigy to a maturing artist of the first rank while contributing to the war effort by performing to allied troops and appearing at Myra Hess’ famous National Gallery concerts. Following the war, she made her US début in 1946, and in 1948 became the first soloist to perform with the re-named Israel Philharmonic. She went on to establish a reputation second to none as a concerto soloist and became a notable champion of the Sibelius Concerto, then a comparative rarity. After hearing her give a radio broadcast of the work, the composer wrote to her personally congratulating her on what he felt was a defining interpretation.”
- Julian Haylock, Cremona Musica, 8 June, 2015