S0535. RICARDO ODNOPOSOFF, w.Rivoli Cond.Radio Genève S.O.: Concerto #1 in D (Paganini); Concerto in e (Mendelssohn). (Switzerland) Doron DRC 4022, recorded 1962. - 7619924740225
“Ricardo Odnoposoff (1914-2004), Argentinian violin virtuoso, may best be recalled for his classic 1935 recording of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Felix Weingartner, but he led a distinguished career as a concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, hand-picked at age nineteen by Clemens Krauss. In 1934 Wilhelm Furtwängler designated Odnoposoff specifically for EIN HELDENLEBEN, and in 1936 Odnoposoff helped the Vienna Philharmonic and Felix Weingartner celebrate the centennial of composer Camille Saint-Saëns. After WW II, Odnoposoff taught in various venues, extending his work with the VPO through conductors Josef Krips and Carl Schuricht.
The performances inscribed here, from Geneva, date from 1962. Odnoposoff plays a sterling 1735 Guarnerius del Gesu that provides a ravishing luster to the Paganini Concerto. The orchestral introduction to the first movement is abbreviated, much as Francescatti preferred; but the violin artistry, the slides, registrations shifts, high harmonics, and various double and triple stops glide with seamless authority. The silken Adagio, even more than the robustly athletic first movement, enjoys a suave eroticism girded by a lilting tone and effortless trills. Some studied tempos at the end of the movement add to the lyrical, ‘operatic’ drama of the moment. The Rondo: Allegro spirituoso has, predictably, the impish delight in sheer pyrotechnics that circus music of an exalted character can provide. Odnoposoff can transition between staccati, spiccati, and whistling flute harmonics in a heartbeat, the long slender line of the music unbroken. The cavalier, boulevardier approach to the various hurdles in the movement’s progression communicate a debonair dexterity that beguiles even as it awes. A pupil of Carl Flesch and Otakar Sevcik, Odnoposoff maintained a fierce digital command throughout his career, always generous to the teachers who bestowed their wisdom on his style.
The innate sweetness of Odnoposoff’s instrument has a natural vehicle in the 1845 Mendelssohn Concerto, a brilliant combination of glamour and sensitivity. The melodic line remains long and elastic, supported by elegant woodwind work from conductor Rivoli. Rather than indulge an icy jarring series of brilliant attacks, the Odnoposoff opts for gentle, unforced lyricism of expression, reminiscent of the equally elegant art of the Belgian master Arthur Grumiaux. Finesse and cultivated taste mark this conception, in which no false note or undue histrionics appear. The single thread of melody in the bassoon transitions to the arioso Andante movement, in which Odnoposoff sings with beguiling grace the tune that lilts in major-minor subtleties. The last movement, with its glittery fairy-land filigree, moves in charming, swooping figures, aerial and immaculately realized. A happy disc, indicative of a major talent whose work in Europe won far more appreciation than that gleaned domestically.”
—Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, 2 Feb., 2013
“One of the finest violinists of all time, Ricardo Odnoposoff was born in Buenos Aires on 24 February, 1914, the son of Russian immigrants. Following early studies in Buenos Aires and Berlin, he was accepted at thirteen to the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where he studied violin with Carl Flesch from 1928 to 1931 and composition under Paul Hindemith. At the end of these studies, his career was inaugurated by an appearance, at 17, as a featured soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Erich Kleiber. Shortly afterwards, he took the first prize at the 1932 Vienna Competition, and followed up this triumph five years later winning the second prize of the 1937 legendary Queen Elisabeth Competition in Bruxelles - a notable achievement since it was the great David Oistrakh who won the first prize. At the time, he was concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic (a position he held for several years). In this period, he also taught at the Vienna Conservatory, where one of his students (1933-1935) was Norbert Brainin, later leader of the famed Amadeus Quartet.
Odnoposoff had a brilliant career as a concert soloist, performing extensively on five continents. In the early 1940s he moved to the USA where his Carnegie Hall début took place in 1944. Among the conductors he worked with were Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Ernest Ansermet, Leonard Bernstein, Fritz Busch and André Cluytens. In 1956 he returned to Vienna, where he again taught in the Vienna Conservatory. From 1975 to 1984 he was professor of violin performance at the Zürich Hochschule für Musik in Switzerland.
An examination of his recorded legacy reveals a supreme artist, equipped with a brilliant technical command. His sonority was astonishingly beautiful, big and round, with an exciting, penetrating quality. He was an electrifying artist, a virtuoso who must be accorded a place of honour in the pantheon of twentieth century violin legends.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron