Classical Reissue Reviews

PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6; MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Ricardo Odnoposoff, violin/ Radio Sym. of Radio Geneva/ Gianfranco Rivoli – Doron

Two concertos from Argentine virtuoso Ricardo Odnoposoff in 1962 testify to a flawless master of his instrument who deserves more credit.

Published on February 2, 2013

PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6; MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Ricardo Odnoposoff, violin/ Radio Sym. of Radio Geneva/ Gianfranco Rivoli – Doron

PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6; MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – Ricardo Odnoposoff, violin/ Radio Sym. of Radio Geneva/ Gianfranco Rivoli – Doron DRC 4022, 56:35 [Distr. by Qualiton] ****:

Ricardo Odnoposoff (1914-2004), Argentinian violin virtuoso, may best be recalled for his classic 1935 recording of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Felix Weingartner, but he led a distinguished career as a concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, hand-picked at age nineteen by Clemens Krauss. In 1934 Wilhelm Furtwaengler designated Odnoposoff specifically for Ein Heldenleben, and in 1936 Odnoposoff helped the Vienna Philharmonic and Felix Weingartner celebrate the centennial of composer Camille Saint-Saens. After WW II, Odnoposoff taught in various venues, extending his work with the VPO through conductors Josef Krips and Carl Schuricht.

The performances inscribed here, from Geneva, date from 1962. Odnoposoff plays a sterling 1735 Guarnerius del Gesu that provides a ravishing luster to the Paganini Concerto. The orchestral introduction to the first movement is abbreviated, much as Francescatti preferred; but the violin artistry, the slides, registrations shifts, high harmonics, and various double and triple stops glide with seamless authority. The silken Adagio, even more than the robustly athletic first movement, enjoys a suave eroticism girded by a lilting tone and effortless trills. Some studied tempos at the end of the movement add to the lyrical, “operatic” drama of the moment. The Rondo: Allegro spirituoso has, predictably, the impish delight in sheer pyrotechnics that circus music of an exalted character can provide. Odnoposoff can transition between staccati, spiccati, and whistling flute harmonics in a heartbeat, the long slender line of the music unbroken.  The cavalier, boulevardier approach to the various hurdles in the movement’s progression communicate a debonair dexterity that beguiles even as it awes. A pupil of Carl Flesch and Otakar Sevcik, Odnoposoff maintained a fierce digital command throughout his career, always generous to the teachers who bestowed their wisdom on his style.

The innate sweetness of Odnoposoff’s instrument has a natural vehicle in the 1845 Mendelssohn Concerto, a brilliant combination of glamour and sensitivity.  The melodic line remains long and elastic, supported by elegant woodwind work from conductor Rivoli. Rather than indulge an icy jarring series of brilliant attacks, the Odnoposoff opts for gentle, unforced lyricism of expression, reminiscent of the equally elegant art of the Belgian master Arthur Grumiaux. Finesse and cultivated taste mark this conception, in which no false note or undue histrionics appear. The single thread of melody in the bassoon transitions to the arioso Andante movement, in which Odnoposoff sings with beguiling grace the tune that lilts in major-minor subtleties. The last movement, with its glittery fairy-land filigree, moves in charming, swooping figures, aerial and immaculately realized. A happy disc, indicative of a major talent whose work in Europe won far more appreciation than that gleaned domestically.

—Gary Lemco




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