Josef Gingold            (2-Enharmonic ENCD03-015)
Item# S0248
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Josef Gingold            (2-Enharmonic ENCD03-015)
S0248. JOSEF GINGOLD: Mozart, Schubert, Maekelberghe, Bloch, Français, Arensky, Tchaikowsky & Ysaÿe; w.Hardesty Cond. Ohio State University S.O.: Concerto in D (Beethoven); interview (after Toscanini’s death) with Josef Gingold, 17 Jan., 1957.  2-Enharmonic ENCD03-015, partially Live Performances, 1942-79.


“Josef Gingold was a musician’s musician and a violinist’s violinist.... I would encourage everyone (not just violinists) to get these recordings and listen to them often. As far as I am concerned they represent the highest ideals of music-making, and they have much of what is so often missing in the playing of many high profile violinists today. One remarkable trait in Gingold’s playing is his ability to sustain attention through very long phrases. Another is his ability to get the people he’s playing with to rise to the occasion and think on the scale of the piece rather than simply on the scale of the passage, or even the phrase. This is part of what gives Gingold’s Schubert such depth and breadth. The Fantasia and the Grand Duo demand a huge amount of technical facility and strength to play at all. In these concert recordings with Walter Robert the difficulties of both instruments simply vanish, and what remains is pure musical shape, delivered with the ease of speech and the directness of song. The reading of the A-minor Sonata on the PD release is with Gyorgy Sebok. There is also a reading on the Enharmonic set with Walter Robert, which is quite different in interpretation, but just as good. It’s clear in the recording of the a-minor Quartet that all the musicians have the collective goal of seeing how beautifully they can play the music, how long they can make their phrases, and how well they can match one another in sound and style. Outside of differences in register, it is very difficult to tell the instruments apart. Ego didn’t seem to have a place in Gingold’s sphere. The Roy Harris Quintet is a totally different kind of piece from the Schubert. It has some stunning extended Ysaye-like solo passages for the first violin that sound like they could easily have been written for Gingold (he did study with Ysaye). The pianist, Johana Harris, was married to the composer, which makes this remarkable reading of this remarkable piece even more personal. This set has a few recordings with orchestra, including a 1942 radio broadcast of IV of the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole with the NBC Symphony, a broadcast of the Tchaikovsky ‘Sérénade Mélancolique’ with an unknown orchestra, an undated radio broadcast of II of the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with violist Carlton Cooley, and a 1941 broadcast of two movements from the Arensky Trio with cellist Harvey Shapiro and pianist Earl Wild. All of these were preserved on acetate . There is a reading of the Aria by August Maekelberghe from 1946 that Gingold played with the composer, and a remarkable recording he made with Beryl Rubinstein in 1938 of the Bloch Sonata 1 that was released as RCA Victor DM 498, but was never reissued on LP or CD. Another professional recording is of the deliciously difficult Françaix Sonatine, where he is accompanied by Mischa Elman’s sister, Lisa. The Beethoven Violin Concerto dominates much of the second disc. It was taped at a 1963 concert Gingold played with the Ohio State University Symphony Orchestra, and I imagine that the members of the orchestra who are still around can remember the excitement of the performance. Gingold plays like a chamber musician. He never drops from his intensely high level of playing to ‘meet’ the students in the orchestra: he elevates them to his level . Most seasoned bassoonists know that the bassoon has one of the most important voices in the piece, and this university bassoonist was very likely playing his or her part for the very first time. Gingold is gentle in his interaction, and seems to extend a figurative hand to make sure that the bassoon makes it safely through all the exposed passages. The recording ends with two particularly special treats. There is a 1957 radio interview about Toscanini and a surreal unison performance of the Ysaye ‘Ballade’ (a piece Gingold premiered in 1928) given in 1979 by the 70- year-old Gingold and six of his students.”

- Elaine Fine, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan./Feb., 2012

“Gingold was born in Brest-Litovsk, Russian Empire, and emigrated in 1920 to the United States where he studied violin with Vladimir Graffman in New York City. He then moved to Belgium for several years to study with master violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. He gave the first performance of Ysaÿe's 3rd Sonata for Solo Violin. In 1937, Gingold won a spot in the NBC Symphony Orchestra, with Arturo Toscanini as its conductor; he then served as the concertmaster (and occasional soloist) of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and later was the Cleveland Orchestra's concertmaster under conductor George Szell.

Gingold edited numerous violin technique books and orchestral excerpt collections. He taught at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music for more than thirty years, until his death in 1995. His pupils included Cyrus Forough, Elisa Barston, Joshua Bell, Shony Alex Braun, Andres Cardenes, Corey Cerovsek, Miriam Fried, Herbert Greenberg, Phillip Grossman, Ulf Hoelscher, Nai-Yuan Hu, Jacques Israelievitch, Leonidas Kavakos, Chin Kim, Jaime Laredo, Sherban Lupu, Sho-Mei Pelletier, William Preucil, Phyllis Skoldberg, Joseph Silverstein, Linya Su, Gwen Thompson, and Yuval Yaron. Gingold died in Bloomington, Indiana in 1995.”

- H. P. Casavant