C1893. ARTUR RODZINSKI Cond. RAI S.O., Roma: Concerto Grosso in d (Vivaldi); Symphony #10 in e (Shostakovitch); w.HENRYK SZERYNG: Violin Concerto #2 in c (Szymanowski). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-1142, Live Performance, 18 Match, 1955. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"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
"Although Rodzinski conducted most of the Country's major orchestras, his tenure often ended in a huff. In 1947 he had quit the coveted job of boss of the New York Philharmonic because, he said, he felt hemmed in and hampered by the Philharmonic's businesslike manager.
Rodzinski was known as a great builder of orchestras. Time and again he took over run-down orchestras and in a few years, by cajolery, psychology and almost ruthless dedication, built them into the finest of artistic groups."
- LOS ANGELES TIMES, 28 Nov., 1958
"Artur Rodzinski, a conductor of incandescent talent and an equally brilliant gift for self-destruction, cut a scandalous path through American music a generation ago. A long with Toscanini and Stokowski, the bushyhaired Polish musician summed up in the public's eyes all that a real maestro was supposed to be: preening, arbitrary, dictatorial, unpredictable, driven by ambition. Rodzinski was all these, as his widow Halina freely documents in her fascinating memoirs. And more: Rodzinski during significant portions of his career was mentally ill, dependent on drugs and in thrall to all sorts of spiritual fads and fancies. That a man as disturbed as Rodzinski could operate, often dazzlingly well, during his relatively untroubled moments is perhaps a tribute to the stability of the domestic life he had built around himself. Mrs. Rodzinski, in the way wives of great men once were expected to act, put her life entirely at the disposal of her master.
Both Rodzinski and his wife came from a culture and a time (Poland before World War II) when such an arrangement was accepted as normal. 'I come before everything and everyone else', Rodzinski told Halina before their wedding, and he left her in no doubt of it by thereupon spending his wedding night without her, on the town. His wife, with less outward resentment than one would expect, depicts herself as hardly more than a servant. She sharpened his pencils, changed his shirts and brushed his hair at intermissions. Oh, yes, and it was her duty, too, to lay out the loaded revolver along with the maestro's tails before a concert. This bizarre story, which has long been talked about in disbelief In the orchestra world, can now be certified as true. Rodzinski carried the weapon - loaded - in a hip pocket whenever he faced an orchestra, even during rehearsals. Learning of this later, many a player who had displeased Rodzinski at one time or another must have experienced a slight frisson."
- Donal Henahan, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 23 May, 1976