S0662. HENRYK SZERYNG, w.Rosbaud Cond.SWR S.O.: Nardini, Vieuxtemps, Ravel & Schumann. (Germany) Hänssler 94.229, Broadcast Performances, 1955-57. - 4010276027737
“Among the great violinists of the 20th century, Henryk Szeryng was once regarded as a supreme master, but has now faded from memory. Szeryng‘s fame is not comparable to that of Jascha Heifetz, David Oistrakh, Nathan Milstein or Yehudi Menuhin, although he was often mentioned along with them.
No question, his performances set standards, the major record companies vied for his favor, and he was a popular guest at major orchestras throughout the world. In the great concerti by Beethoven and Brahms, he was considered authority and even today remains a preeminent Bach interpreter.
Henryk Szeryng performed in Germany regularly over the decades. In 1955 Szeryng played with the Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks under the direction of the legendary conductor Hans Rosbaud. These live recordings of a Romantically-edited version of Nardini‘s e minor Concerto and the popular fourth concerto by Vieuxtemps was followed in March 1957 by studio recordings of Ravel's ‘Tzigane’ and the Robert Schumann‘s Violin Concerto. Szeryng had a very special sympathy for this neglected score that is heard here in one of his first recordings of it. Szeryng was the first major violinist after Kulenkampff and Menuhin to recognize the value of this grandiose masterpiece and it play publicly.
In the mid-1950s Szeryng was at his peak, and his tonal purity captivates throughout. He never recorded commercially the Nardini and Vieuxtemps heard here.”
- BBC Music Magazine, June 2015
“Henryk Szeryng, one of the more elegant representatives of a now fading school of Romantic violin playing, was known for the purity of his playing - exact intonation, well-organized phrasing and a broad, sweet, vibrato-filled tone that nevertheless did not sound oppressive. In the Romantic tradition, Mr. Szeryng applied his long, lyrical style to Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi as well as to Brahms and Tchaikovsky. The various schools of interpretation, in other words, were filtered through the single 19th-century Central European tradition that was his heritage. Among his teachers were Carl Flesch in Berlin and Jacques Thibaud and Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
Mr. Szeryng began his concert career in 1933 and spent World War II as liaison officer to the exiled Polish Premier. His musical life continued its close contact with politics and diplomacy when the Mexican Government invited him in 1943 to teach at the National University in Mexico City. He became a Mexican citizen and later traveled on a diplomatic passport as the country's Culture and Good Will Ambassador. After 10 relatively quiet years of teaching and occasional concerts, Mr. Szeryng met Arthur Rubinstein after a recital in Mexico City. With the help of his fellow pianist and Polish compatriot, Mr. Szerying developed an international career that was still flourishing at his death. While retaining his home and teaching responsibilities in Mexico City, he also kept apartments in Paris and Monte Carlo.
Mr. Szeryng also became a busy recording artist, with a discography of about 250 works. Mr. Szeryng's tastes ran to the standard literature. He was especially fond of Paganini, yet 20th-century composers like Carlos Chavez, Benjamin Lees and Michael Ponce wrote music for him. Mr. Szeryng also liked to play music by the contemporary Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. He exercised his diplomatic responsibilities in part by championing the music of Mexican composers, and he expressed his belief in the humanistic powers of music as an adviser to Unesco. He was also said to donate large portions of his income to charities. From Mr. Szeryng's collection of violins, 12 have been given away since 1975 - one a Stradivarius presented to the city of Jerusalem, another a gift to the young violinist Shlomo Mintz. Mr. Szeryng retained for himself the 1743 Guarnerius named ‘Le Duc’.''
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 March, 1988