C1744. PRADES FESTIVAL, Vol. I: PABLO CASALS Cond. Prades Festival S.O., w. JOSEPH FUCHS (1st Violin): Brandenburg Concerto #6 in B-flat (Bach); Symphony #5 in B-flat (Schubert); w. WILLIAM KAPELL: Piano Concerto #17 in G, K.453 (Mozart). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-879, Live Performance, 30 June, 1953, Abbaye Saint-Michel de Cuxa. [A very minor caveat is that there is the very occasional transmission problem] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"The first Prades Festival was held in 1950 to mark the bicentenary of Bach’s death and to coax Casals out of retirement. Several of the world’s most notable musicians attended, and Columbia was on hand to record the proceedings….The quality of the recorded sound is fine and the audience very quiet. The performances also have one endearing quality of broadcast recordings from the 1950s: there is no editing."
- David Radcliffe, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2007
"These historical recordings are a vital link to the 19th Century attitude toward chamber music because many of the older musicians who played at Prades in the 1950s came of age towards the end of the 19th Century [offering] a great deal of extremely creative music-making…."
- Elaine Fine, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2003
“William Kapell was one of the most promising American pianists of the postwar generation, producing a few recordings that have attained legendary status after his untimely death.
He studied in New York with Dorothea Anderson la Follett, and then at the Philadelphia Conservatory with Olga Samaroff, and then went to the Juilliard School when she relocated there. He won the Philadelphia Orchestra's youth competition and the Naumberg Award in 1941. He débuted in New York through his prize from the Naumberg Foundation; this début recital won him the Town Hall Award for the outstanding concert of the year by an artist under 30.
A national recital career quickly developed, leading to a recording contract with RCA. One of his enthusiasms was for the recently composed Piano Concerto in D flat major by Soviet composer Aram Khachaturian, which he frequently played. Because it is an extroverted and flashy work, he gained a reputation as a specialist in such music. His recorded legacy shows that he performed in the appropriate style from graceful renditions of Mozart to powerful Prokofiev.
After World War II, he expanded his touring to cover the world. It was on his return from a tour of Australia that his airplane crashed into King's Mountain near San Francisco.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“Joseph Fuchs, an American violinist long acclaimed for his vigorous, intelligent and technically assured performances of old and new music and for the quality of his teaching, was one of those select musicians admired as much by his peers as by audiences. He played not only the standard repertory but also works by such contemporaries as Stravinsky, Thomson and Hindemith. He pioneered in the performance of music by Ben Weber, Nikolai Lopatnikoff and Walter Piston. [A Ford Foundation grant in 1960 enabled him to commission Walter Piston’s Violin Concerto, the première of which he gave that year in Pittsburgh. Fuchs also gave the first performances of concertos by Lopatnikoff (1944–5), Ben Weber (1954) and Mario Peragallo (1955); of Martin’s Madrigal for violin and viola, dedicated to Fuchs and his sister Lillian (1947); of the revised version of Vaughan Williams’ Violin Sonata, with Artur Balsam (1969), and of the posthumous American première of Martin’s Sonata for two violins and piano (1974).]
‘Joseph Fuchs is the kind of violinist who makes you listen not to himself but to the music, and there is no higher compliment you can pay an artist’, Raymond Ericson wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES after a 1960 recital at Town Hall.
Joseph Fuchs studied with the noted Franz Kneisel at the Institute of Musical Art, now the Juilliard School, and graduated in 1918. He gave his New York début recital in 1920 at Aeolian Hall. In 1926 Mr. Fuchs was appointed concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, a post he held until 1940. After Cleveland, he resumed his solo career. He gave his last recital, at Carnegie Hall, in 1992 and his last public performance, at the Juilliard School, in 1995 [at age 95].
He often appeared in concert with his sister, Lillian Fuchs, a violist. Mr. Fuchs also collaborated regularly with the pianist Artur Balsam and the cellist Leonard Rose. Mr. Fuchs was a founding member of the Musicians Guild, a chamber music organization that presented many concerts during the 1940s and ‘50s. A true upholder of the Kneisel tradition, he called chamber music his 'true love’. He became a professor of violin at the Juilliard School in 1946 and held the position until his death. He was a founder of the Blue Hill Music School in Maine in 1953, a summer program that evolved into the Summer Chamber Music Institute at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y.
Mr. Fuchs made many recordings, including one of the first complete sets of the Beethoven violin sonatas, with Balsam in 1952. He also recorded Mozart's works for violin and viola, the duos and the Sinfonia Concertante, with his sister…vivid testimonials to his artistry. [He played the ‘Cádiz Stradivarius’ violin of 1722].”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 March, 1997