P0966. WILLIAM KAPELL, w.WILLIAM PRIMROSE: Viola Sonata in f (Brahms), recorded 29 Nov., 1950; w.Rodzinski Cond. NYPO: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Rachmaninoff), recorded 28 Oct., 1945. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-116. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
gWilliam 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.h
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
"William Primrose was to the viola what Heifetz was to the violinc.Think of Tertis as a Rolls Royce and Primrose as a Ferrari. This nimbleness of left and right hand made him Jascha Heifetzfs favorite alto-clef partner in chamber music and Mozartfs Sinfonia Concertante."
- Joseph Magil, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2006
"William Primrose was not the first viola virtuoso of the 20th Century, but he was certainly the best known. Born in Glasgow, he trained and performed as a violinist until switching instruments in 1926c.His early experience as a violinist undoubtedly influenced his approach to the viola and recalls the great violinists of his generation: his sound was bright, his manner was high-strung, and he tossed off anything put before him with apparent ease and grace. What could this man not do?"
- David Radcliffe, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2005
"The great Scottish violist William Primrose revolutionised the playing of his instrument through both his virtuosity and the myriad colours he could evoke. Fully the equal of his colleagues Heifetz and Feuermann, he recorded a number of concertos and sonatas. However he also committed a substantial number of shorter pieces to disc, from Chopin and Dvorak to Kreisler and Arthur Benjamin. They reveal his lustrous, vibrant sound in some of the most beautiful pieces in the repertory. Two feature the great singer Marian Anderson."
-Zillah Dorset Akron