S0404. DEVY ERLIH: Violin Concerto #1 in a; HENRI MERCKEL: Violin Concerto #2 in E; DEVY ERLIH & HENRI MERCKEL: Double Violin Concerto in d; REINHOLD BARCHET & KURT KALMUS: Violin & Oboe Concerto in e (all w.Kurt Redel Cond. Pro Arte Chamber Orch., München) (all Bach). (Japan) Opus Kura 7043, recorded Ducretet Thomson. - 4582158687433
"Born in Paris in 1928 to Romanian–Jewish parents, Erlih played in his father's café orchestra as a child. After living in hiding during the war, he joined the class of Jules Boucherit at the Paris Conservatoire, and soon won that institution's Premier Prix. A recital debut followed, and in 1955 Erlih won first prize in the Long–Thibaud Competition, which helped launched his international career.
An early interest in Bartók, Stravinsky and Prokofiev led Erlih to become passionate about contemporary music, and he premiered concertos by Milhaud, Bruno Maderna, Henri Sauguet, Henri Tomasi, and others. He also championed the works of André Jolivet, including the 1972 Violin Concerto and the Suite rhapsodique. After Jolivet's death, Erlih married the composer's daughter, Christine.
Erlih joined the teaching staff of the Marseille Conservatoire in 1968, and the Paris Conservatoire in 1982. He formed Les Solistes de Marseilles in 1973, and from 1977 directed the Centre provençal de musique de chambre. He was president of the jury for the 2010 Jacques Thibaud Competition."
- The Strad, 9 Feb., 2012
“Merckel pursued a career as soloist but maintained positions in French orchestras, eventually becoming longtime concertmaster at the Paris Opéra. Having been trained in France before WW I and having served there for so long, he might be expected to be representative of a French school of violin-playing; and while his sound may be sparer than Jacques Thibaud’s, his manner really does almost ideally suit Saint-Saëns’ Concerto, which he plays with Francescatti’s clarity but also with a modicum of Grumiaux’s atmospheric warmth and even a suggestion—especially in his leisurely way with portamentos—of Thibaud-like opulence. The [latter]presents his reedy, soaring tone in striking profile; although the orchestral part may not come through with the depth and clarity of a more modern recording, a listener might easily obtain the impression from it that Merckel sounds much as he must have sounded live: a quite surprising suggestion in view of the performance’s date of 27 June, 1935. In general, he seems able to extend the strength of his Gagliano’s middle two strings to the top of the upper string. Still, his tone…if he didn’t employ it so seductively, might even seem somewhat abrasive. The warmth lies, then, in the manner rather than in the matter. Except for several very slight lapses during which he very, very briefly seems to have lost control of tone production, he remains technically confident throughout, though hardly a razor-sharp virtuoso or a showman given to effects for their own sake.
If Russian violinists dominated the period between the two world wars, reaching their primes almost exactly at this time, others retained a clear individuality: Flesch’s students and Hubay’s come immediately to mind. But Henry Merckel spoke cogently as well, exuding the atmosphere of his time and place. As a historic testament and material ideally suited to study, his recordings, in surprisingly revealing recorded sound, deserve to be heard.”
- Robert Maxham, FANFARE