S0050. JOSEPH SZIGETI & MYECZSLAW HORSZOWSKI: Sonata #6 in A (Beethoven); w.FÖLDES: SUITE BERGAMASQUE - Clair de lune (Debussy); La Follia (Corelli); w.HARRY KAUFMAN: Valse sentimentale (Tschaikowsky); LE ROI D'YS - Aubade (Lalo); w.BUSSOTTI: Sonata #3 (Hindemith); Violin Sonata (Ravel). (Austria) Sony MPK 52569, recorded 1940-53. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 5099705256923
“Joseph Szigeti, one of the titans of the violin in this century, a pioneer of contemporary music and a jealous guardian of the classic tradition, was a stylist with rare delicacy of tone and directness of feeling. A close friend of Bela Bartók, Szigeti helped to introduce his fellow Hungarian's music to new audiences. He was also a pioneer in presenting the music of Serge Prokofiev, the Soviet composer, whose Violin Concerto in D he played and recorded. He is credited, moreover, as the first to record Darius Milhaud's ‘Le Printemps’ and Ernest Bloch's ‘Nigun’. At the same time that Szigeti was making concertgoers familiar with new and difficult music, he was rewarding them with such staples of the violin diet as the concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms, which he tended to play with elegance.
Szigeti's surface calm and gracious manner, underscored by his impeccably tailored dark blue pinstripe suits of the type once in vogue among diplomats, masked his intensely high-strung and temperamental nature. For all this, the violinist was accounted a modest man.
Shortly after his 1905 Berlin debut, Szigeti moved to London, where he performed at concerts of the National Sunday League and at private musicales. There followed tours with Nellie Melba, Blanche Marchesi and a joint recital with Myra Hess. By 1909 he was fairly launched with a concert directed by Bloch, and his recordings, including Bach's Prelude in E, began to sell.
Szigeti's American debut came in 1925 at the invitation of Leopold Stokowski, the conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. After that, he played with every major orchestra in this country and gave solo performances in all the major cities. Indeed, he was almost constantly on tour here and abroad until his retirement. One of his final appearances was at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico in 1957, where he played Mozart's Concerto in D and the Adagio in E. Commenting on the concert, Howard Taubman, THE NEW YORK TIMES critic wrote: ‘[Szigeti] understands Mozart. It is an honest Mozart. The flash and flare that a young virtuoso would bring to the task are not there. Instead, there is the transparent simplicity that only an experienced and subtle artist knows how to evoke’.
Yehudi Menuhin, also a wunderkind violinst, wrote ‘We must be humbly grateful that the breed of cultured and chivalrous violin virtuosos, aristocrats as human beings and as musicians, has survived into our hostile age in the person of Joseph Szigeti. Perhaps he may be the string that will attach some chosen newborn reincarnation to his spiritual ancestor - to an Enesco, a Kreisler, a Joachim or an Ysaye’.”
- Alden Whitman, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 Feb., 1973
"Mieczyslaw Horszowski, a pianist whose performances were admired for their elegance, reflectiveness and clarity of musical intent in a career that lasted more than nine decades, made his debut as a child prodigy, playing a Beethoven concerto in Warsaw in 1901, and continued giving concerts and making recordings until last year. He was not so famous as Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz or other elder statesmen of the keyboard in the late 20th century. But he always had a strong cult following, and in recent years his reputation and audience blossomed anew as a younger generation discovered him through a recent series of recordings that reveal his special mastery of the works of Chopin, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy and Bach.
He was also greatly esteemed by his colleagues. He was a frequent chamber-music partner of the cellist Pablo Casals. He first performed with Arturo Toscanini in 1906 and continued appearing with him until 1953. When he was seeking an American foothold at the start of World War II, Rudolf Serkin invited him to join the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Throughout his career, he gave recitals with the violinists Joseph Szigeti and Alexander Schneider, the cellist Janos Starker and the tenor Askel Schiotz. And he outlived them all, winning a place in the musical record books for the span of his career.
In 1899 he began his formal studies with Theodor Leschetizky, a legendary virtuoso whose students included Ignace Paderewski, Artur Schnabel, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Ignaz Friedman and other great pianists who flourished in the first half of the 20th century. By 1903 Mr. Horszowski, then 11, was touring Europe and making an impression on some of the great musicians of the day. Around this time he became friendly with Casals, Rubinstein and the violinist Jacques Thibaud, and he performed for the composers Ravel and Fauré.
At the start of World War II, Mr. Horszowski came to the United States by way of Brazil. He eventually settled in Philadelphia, where he joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute. Among his more distinguished students were Seymour Lipkin, Anton Kuerti, Peter Serkin, Murray Perahia and Richard Goode.
Mr. Horszowski performed widely from the 1940s on, and he undertook a few marathon projects. In the 1954-55 season, for example, he played all of Beethoven's solo piano works in 12 recitals. In 1960 he played all the Mozart sonatas in four concerts.
From the 1940s through the early 1970s, Mr. Horszowski collaborated with other musicians nearly as much as he performed as a soloist. He was a regular visitor to the Casals festivals in the village of Prades, France, and in San Juan, P.R., and he performed with Casals at the United Nations in 1958 and in a televised concert at the White House in 1961. His collaborative performances were often as impressive as his solo recitals. When he accompanied the Polish bass Doda Conrad in Schubert's WINTERREISE in 1942, for example, he played the lengthy, detailed cycle from memory.
Listening to even his very last recordings, one would not have had the impression that he was ever unsure about anything. Among his finest recordings are a set devoted to the first book of Bach's ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’ released by Vanguard in 1981, and a series of mixed recitals recorded by Nonesuch in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In recording the Nonesuch series, and in presenting his final recitals, Mr. Horszowski rarely provided a program in advance, but instead played the works that moved him at the moment. The result was the kind of pure, unforced musical expression that gave the impression that the music was being improvised on the spot.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 May, 1993