C1832. WILLIAM STEINBERG Cond. Kölner Rundfunk S.O.: Symphony #2 in B-flat (Schubert); Roméo et Juliette - Excerpts (Berlioz); w. ZINO FRANCESCATTI: Violin Concerto in D (Tschaikowsky). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-949, Live Performance, 11 Dec., 1967, Köln. [An outstanding concert featuring Francescatti at his most glorious!] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Zino Francescatti (1902-91) was a musician's musician who won over audiences more by charm than prowess. His unmistakably French manner was out of vogue in an era-dominated by Russian-trained violinists, but so much the better for him. He was trained by his father, a concertmaster in Marseilles, and performed in the Straram Orchestra of Paris before coming late to a career as a soloist and chamber musician. He was not the last French violinist standing, though in the 1950s it could seem that way.
While his repertoire was wide, Francescatti's recordings naturally emphasized French music, where he figures as a latter-day Jacques Thibaud. He has the same rich, dark tone; but while his phrasing is also very lyrical, it tends to be more tempered and neoclassical. This seems more of a generational difference than anything else."
- David Radcliffe, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2012
"Everything about Francescatti's approach to every piece he plays is unique. He does not follow any 'school' of interpretation, and the only similarities that I noticed from piece to piece is that he is an impeccable violinist, and as a musician he stretches the boundaries of expression while always playing with exquisite taste. There is something regal about his playing, and at the same time there is a deep sense of musical integrity - a kind of moral directive from within that compels him to play beautifully and honestly for the sake of the music and the sacred nature of the performance."
- Elaine Fine, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2006
"In 1960 Steinberg scored a great success guest-conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was the preferred choice of its board for their next music director, as Charles Munch was stepping down from the position. However RCA, the orchestra's record company, successfully pressured them to appoint Erich Leinsdorf, already on their roster of conductors. After Leinsdorf's tenure, one of mixed success ended, they did appoint Steinberg to the post, effective 1969."
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
"William Steinberg is one of those conductors highly respected by musicians and critics familiar with his work, but who never developed the kind of public acclaim accorded to some of his contemporaries. His relative neglect is partly due to Steinberg’s long association with the Pittsburgh Symphony, an orchestra whose reputation, while good, was not seen as front rank. Many collectors prized his recordings with Pittsburgh on the Command label (and his EMI discs too), but in those days there was more glamour associated with Charles Munch in Boston, George Szell in Cleveland, and Fritz Reiner in Chicago."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE