S0704. BENNO RABINOF, w.Alfred Wallenstein & Robert Stanley Cond.: Paganini, Lotto, Sarasate, Rimsky-Korsakov, Saint-Saëns, Wieniawski, Tschaikowsky, Rachmaninoff, Novácek, Achron & Bruch. (Canada) 2-Yves St Laurent YSL 78-411, Live Performances, 1943-44 [all from Rabinof's private acetates, not duplicated by the old out-of-print Pearl issue]. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“In his playing, Benno Rabinof represented the continuation in America of Auer’s most brilliant pupils from Russia, perhaps more so than any of the numerous other hopefuls who flocked to the Auer banner after his American arrival. Auer conducted the 19-year old Rabinof’s 1927 Carnegie Hall début in the Tschaikowsky and Elgar Concerti….like so many others in the Heifetz shadow, Rabinof was unable to generate a top-level career despite encouraging reviews. In the early 1940s he played a 28-week cycle of nationwide radio broadcasts [above] with Alfred Wallenstein conducting. I recall being thoroughly impressed….he understood and employed the expressive devices in position changes of both Heifetz and Kreisler with good taste. Technically, he could handle any genre of music in the staple repertoire with ease. In the hierarchy of ear-titillating vioinists, Rabinof ranks among the elite. It was essentially instinctual, spontaneous, visceral playing.”
- Henry Roth, VIOLIN VIRTUOSOS, p.246
“Cellist and conductor Alfred Wallenstein was a prodigy on his instrument, and later became the principal cellist in two of America's finest orchestras. As a conductor, he made music over the radio on a regular basis, using that ‘podium of the air’ to perform neglected works and those written by contemporary composers.
Soon after his birth, the family moved from Austria to Los Angeles. At age eight, Alfred was given a cello by his father and began lessons with the mother of composer Ferde Grofé. Following further studies with Julius Klengel, he made his début in Los Angeles and swiftly gained a reputation as a child prodigy. After touring the country through the Orpheum theatre network, he returned to California and, at the age of 17, was appointed to the San Francisco Symphony. Subsequently, he was engaged by the famous dancer Anna Pavlova to perform as solo cellist in a South and Central American tour.
In 1919, Wallenstein joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming that ensemble's youngest member. Engaged by the Chicago Orchestra in 1922, Wallenstein traveled back to the city of his birth to perform under Frederick Stock, often as featured soloist, and to take up a teaching position at the Chicago Musical College. In 1929, Arturo Toscanini engaged Wallenstein as principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic, a post he held until the Italian conductor's departure in 1936. There, too, Wallenstein was frequently presented as soloist in many of the most important cello concerti. From Toscanini, he also received the advice that he employ his exceptional musicianship as a conductor rather than remaining an instrumentalist. In 1931, therefore, Wallenstein entered the conducting phase of his career by directing for a radio broadcast. The year following, he was appointed leading conductor for the Hollywood Bowl and, in 1933, he began conducting his own Sinfonietta on New York's radio station WOR. In 1935, he was made the station's music director. Wallenstein held to the high road in matters of musical quality with both his Sinfonietta and the Symphony of Strings. Many neglected masterworks were revived and newly composed works were given a hearing, given exposure to audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands. In addition to his regular orchestral programs, he undertook several special series. Wallenstein's guest appearances included those with the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and the NBC orchestras. Columbia Records issued several Mozart works with Wallenstein directing his Sinfonietta. In 1943, he returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic as its music director, a post he held until 1956. In 1968, he joined the faculty at the Juilliard School of Music, becoming head of the orchestral department in 1971. During the latter part of his conducting career, Wallenstein often accompanied some of the world's most distinguished artists, such as Arthur Rubinstein and Jascha Heifetz.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011