red line

SCHUMANN: Piano Quintet in E-flat, Op. 44; Fantasy in C, Op. 17; 2 Novelettes, Op. 21; "Er ist gekommen in Sturm und Regen, Op. 37, No. 2 (CLARA SCHUMANN); "Mit Myrten und Rosen, Op. 24, No. 9

Sviatoslav Richter, piano/Nina Dorliac, soprano/Borodin String Quartet

DOREMI DHR-7786 80:42 (Distrib. Allegro)

The seventh in Jacob Harnoy and Ates Tanin's comprehensive Sviatoslav Richter retrospective, this disc celebrates the pianist's commitment to the music of Robert Schumann, in recordings made 1948 (with wife Dorliac, also captured in the 1950 song by Clara Schumann) to 1985, with the blazing account of the E-flat Quintet. Richter (1915-1997) and the Borodin String Quartet had a long and fruitful association, and their 1948 rendition of the same Schumann Quintet will be issued on a later DOREMI project.

Both the Quintet from 1985 and the 1980 Fantasy make their first appearance on CD; and the latter, from Budapest, is Richter's last inscribed thought on this massive work, with its grand gestures and treacherous syncopations, all played with icy objectivity and fearful symmetry.

The program opens with two of the Novelettes from Dubrovnik, 1967, and both Florestan and Eusebius are in alternately aggressive and tender form. All of the live performances are in superb sound, microphone placement being cordial to the piano's mid-range and to the balance between piano and strings in the Quintet. The earliest inscription, the 1948 song from Op. 24, had pianist Vera Shubina listed on the 78 rpm shellac. Since Richter always had a way of subduing his monolithic sound in ensemble, it is difficult to tell. Then, there is the E-flat Quintet, which is an exceedingly driven affair, where even the funeral march has a haste and pressing tension, "time's winged chariot hurrying near." The respective audiences to these recitals go nuts every time, and I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't, too. General sound restoration is very good to excellent.

-Gary Lemco

Sviatoslav Richter plays MOUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition/ SCHUBERT: 2 Moments musicaux; Impromptu in A-flat/CHOPIN: Etude in E/LISZT: 2 Valses oubliee; Transcendental Etude No. 5; Transcendental Etude No. 11/RACHMANINOFF: Prelude in G-sharp Minor

Philips 289 464 734-2 76:30

The now famous 1958 Sofia concert by Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997) has had many incarnations on disc, including at least one on Philips CD. The disc appears as part of the "50 Great Recordings" series from Philips celebrating at that many years of recordings in their vaults. Richter's recital was one of those indicators to the West of the artistry still denied us until his arrival in 1960. The granite sonority; the authority of his technique, especially his 'landings' from chord to chord, the tensile strength and voluptuousness of the vocal line, all these are present in the monumentality of his Pictures, as well as in the caressingly sweet agitation of Liszt's "Harmonies du soir."

Richter takes the whole of Moussorgsky at one gulp: it is a startling revelation of the spiritual pilgrimage, permeated by the pesant, ambulatory persona's plodding through Hartmann's pictures, meditating on the strange interplay of life and death. The 'Limoges' section is colossal, brilliantly lit, and its quicksilver run through the midst of youth's gardens into the kingdom of the dead. By the time we hear the bells at The Great Gate of Kiev, we have re-entered the Kingdom of Heaven. Richter's Liszt is more earth-bound, but sweeping, passionately momentous, as in the second of the 'Forgotten Waltzes.' Moody and aggressive is Richter's Chopin, so the middle section of the E Major etude comes as no surprise. His Schubert and Rachmaninov remain transparent and light-footed. Richter never recorded the entire set of Moments musicaux ("I am not an integralist," he often exclaimed), but the clarity and fluency of tone in the two given sections are remarkable, and the Sofia audience seems alert to every nuance.

-Gary Lemco

CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11; Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21; 3 Nouvelles Etudes, Op. Posth.

Artur Rubinstein, piano
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducts New Symphony of London (Op. 11)Alfred Wallenstein conducts Symphony of the Air (Op. 21)

RCA 09026-63044-2 76:30

Volume 44 of the Rubinstein Collection gives us the two Chopin concertos and the trois nouvelles etudes, taped 1958 (Op. 21) to 1962 (etudes). The 1961 E Minor Concerto was a famous LP in its time; it had the imprimatur of the "Dynaflex" production qualities, which was no guarantee that the disc might not be warped! The musical conception, however, is free from aberration; the lines are quite large, and the whole bears a healthy comparison with the famed Gilels/Ormandy account from around the same period. Rubinstein at 74 was still in fine form; and for those who collect his many renditions of the same work, one realizes Rubinstein's extreme flexibility of phrase and of tempo rubato, which he varies in each new incarnation of a piece.

The F Minor appeared as LM 2265 in its LP avatar: it had an extended, pictorial essay called "The Rubinstein Story" attached in its booklet form. I never found Wallenstein to be a particularly inspired accompanist, although I once saw him and the aforementioned Gilels play the Tchaikovsky B-flat Concerto in a most persuasively Gallic fashion. Even the sonics in this inscription seem cramped and stingy, with a very dry acoustic. Rubinstein played this concerto better with Steinberg and with Ormandy. The three late etudes, however, evince both Chopin and Rubinstein's full maturity: these are polished, thoughtful readings that bear infinite, repeat hearings: the D-flat just peals with a lifetime of musical wisdom.

--Gary Lemco

Rubinstein plays SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A Minor, OP. 54/LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat/SAINT-SAENS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22

Artur Rubinstein, piano
Carlo Maria Giulini conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Schumann)Alfred Wallenstein conducts RCA Symphony (Liszt) and Symphony of the Air (Saint-Saens)

RCA 09026-53053-2 73:40

The Schumann Concerto with Rubinstein and Giulini from 1967, the third of Rubinstein's authorized verswions of the workm is among his finest achievements, a real balance between solo and ensemble, a real, spiritual détente among musical collaborators.

At the time, many of us who listened with increased interest to Carlo Maria Giulini, whether in Chicago or in Los Angeles Philharmonic broadcasts, were convinced that here was an authentic European event, a piece of the South in music, and an heir to the intensity and expansive nature of Furtwaengler. That Rubinstein was himself 80 at the time made no difference: the playing possesses a joie and verve that pales his former Krips collaboration of 1956, even though that had been a competent, solid rendition.

I remain less enthusiastic about the two Wallenstein collaborations on Liszt (1956) and Saint-Saens (1958), although the coupling of repertory is exactly right. Wallenstein, too, had served with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and he had made some records on American Decca (like an unusual Liszt Dante Symphony) for that label. But aside from his competency to stay with his soloist, I find little to inspire the readings of Liszt's E-flat Concerto or the G Minor Saint-Saens, both of which Rubinstein carries on his secure shoulders. And even in the Liszt, I prefer his work with Reiner, knowing full well that Rubinstein and Reiner did not particularly like each other. The two 1950's concertos lack sonic depth; the restorations are clear enough, but spatially thin, with little resonance. Rubinstein was always comfortable in bravura pieces, but without the colossal personality of a string conductor, a Reiner, a Mitropoulos, a Bernstein, the results remain artistically askew. Buy this one for the Schumann.

-Gary Lemco

RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18/TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23

Artur Rubinstein, piano
Vladimir Golschmann conducts NBC Symphony (Rachmaninoff)Dimitri Mitropoulos conducts Minneapolis Symphony (Tchaikovsky)

RCA 09026 63015-2 62:33

Volume 15 of The Rubinstein Collection contains two concertos in their second Rubinstein inscriptions: though many know the May, 1946 Rubinstein/Golschmann (LM 1005, OP) Rachmaninoff as his first recording, he had prepared it for RCA in 1945 with Stokowski and the Hollywood Bowl, a performance withheld by RCA but released two years ago on Biddulph. Having recently reviewed Rubinstein's 1950 collaboration in this concerto with Koussevitzky (on Rockport), I do not find any major change in conception. I still find the Kapell/Steinberg performance a superior realization of this concerto, especially as the latter play it for its dark, searing intensity. When Rubinstein (and Brailowsky) do it, I often feel, as one acerbic listener put it, that they "play for the ladies." The whole just strikes me as pretty, melodic, popular music, without that extra bit of mordant passion that arrests and disturbs, rather than entertains.

The November 1946 Tchaikovsky with the ever-febrile Dimitri Mitropoulos is altogether a more moving account than the Rachmaninoff. Again, this is Rubinstein's second recording of the work: the first was in 1932 with John Barbirolli. The playing remains prosaic without becoming pedestrian; it rarely boils over into the pyrotechnical conflagration to which Horowitz aspires. Oddly, when the LP of this performance emerged, it caused considerable furor over the fact that one rendition (with Egon Petri) had already been available, and the American Record Guide thought vinyl could be better used for new repertory! A pity Rubinstein and Mitropoulos made only one excursion in the studio; one can glean their 1953 Saint-Saens G Minor on a pirate CD. For a lucid, 'pure' version of the Tchaikovsky, sane, unmannered, and touched by great love of the subject, this remains a strong account.

--Gary Lemco

Jascha Heifetz: Live Recordings

Donald Vorhees conducts The Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra
Emanuel Bay, piano

Cembal d'amour CD 113 73:50 (Distrib. Qualiton)

With Naxos and several other labels celebrating the centennial of Lithuanian violinist Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987), it comes as a delightful surprise to find Mordecai Shehori's independent label culling the radio vaults for unreleased treasures by this much-represented artist. In fact, these nineteen items, of which seventeen enjoy orchestral accompaniment, do not duplicate materials offered through the DOREMI or Opus One labels, both of which have delved into The Bell Telephone Hour. Happily, Cembal d'amour finally provides some indication of the recording dates, c. 1944-1951, when Heifetz was at the peak of his powers, and his easy fluency has the benefit of good sound restoration.

One of the many felicitous performances is of the Sinding Suite in A Minor, Op. 10, a kind of signature piece for Heifetz' explosive technique and his facility in presto passagework. He later commercially recorded Sinding with Wallenstein, but this take has the urgency of spontaneous combustion. Like most Heifetz experiences, the playing in the songful passages is lean and glib, with expressive tone but spare vibrato. More important is the Vitale Chaconne from December 1948, a work long associated with Milstein and which Heifetz recorded commercially with organ obbligato by Richard Elsasser. The whole piece is played as an evolving arch, with a kind of dervish evanescence. The last 'big' piece are two latter movements from the Wieniawski D Minor Concerto from the 1940's (no exact date given), another showpiece of Heifetz' capacity for perpetual motion. The real spellbinder, I think, is Wieniawski's Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16, an old staple of both Heifetz and Szeryng, here played with genuine fire.

Since it is useless to quibble over the niceties of Heifetz' technique, like his wanton application of bow pressure to accent notes, one should simply admire his fluid approach to staples like Hubay's Zephyr, Achron's Stimmung (one of two piano accompanied pieces, the other being Rachmaninoff's Oriental Sketch), and Elgar's La Capricieuse. The Habanera by Sarasate is, like all Heifetz renditions of this most 'fiddly' of composers, too refined, and he misses the coarse gypsy elements Ricci always captures. We hear one of the few moments when Heifetz played Massenet's Meditation from Thais, in the 1940's, when John Garfield's Humoresque had made it quite popular. The disc opens nicely, with a radio introduction to Heifetz and his burnished 'Dolphin' Stradivarius, and then Heifetz glides into Dvorak's G Major Slavonic Dance (misspelled on the label) from Op. 72, a good prelude to a strong survey of this artist's unique talent as any you are likely to hear.

--Gary Lemco

The Art of Zino Francescatti

Zino Francescatti, violin
Artur Balsam and Max Lanner, piano

Biddulph BID 80169 80:50 (Distrib. Albany)

Zino Francescatti (1902-1991) was one of my favorite violinists: I saw him perform the Brahms Concerto with Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1959, and his suave, passionate and infinitely sweet tone and phrasing made want to hear more of him. A quick acquisition on LP was his collaborations with Ormandy and Mitropoulos in the Paganini D Major and the Saint-Saens B Minor on CBS (ML 4315, OP); later, I came to realize how fruitful were his longassociations with both conductors (also George Szell) and with pianist Robert Casadesus. Late in his recording career Francescatti made a wonderful record of the Vitale Chaconne with Edmond de Stoutz; his last recording was for DG, the Bach "Double" Concerto with Regis Pasquier. Along the way, of course, are a series of impressive recordings--many still yet to be reissued--of the Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Walton and Bruch concertos, as well as his great penchant for his native French repertory, like Lalo's "Symphonie"(abbreviated version) and the Vieuxtemps D Minor.

The Biddulph CD restores two entire CBS LP's from the 1950's (ML 4219, ML 4310, both taped1946-47) of short pieces by a range of virtuoso-composers, especially Paganini and Kreisler.Although a direct artistic and spiritual descendant of Paganini, Francescatti plays eight of the Op. 1 Caprices in a piano-accompanied arrangement by Pilati rather than as solos (which even the young Michael Rabin had dauntlessly taken on). The piano version, either by Pilati or by Ferdidand David, seems typical of the period. FRancescatti likewise plays eight Kreisler pieces, again in blazingly beautiful renditions, like the Recitative and Scherzo. Francescatti and Kreisler had been good friends since WW I days, and Francescatti re-recorded and expanded this repertory in 1955 (ML 5255, OP), a disc that ought to be reissued. But even for 1947 these inscriptions have great clarity and loving, lovely intonation. The remainder of the program consists of old favorites like the Albeniz Tango, Debussy's Minstrels and Girl with the Flaxen Hair, Schumann's Prophet Bird, Tartini's Corelli Variations, some Wieniawski, the Shostakovich Polka, and the big piece, Paganini's "I Palpiti" Variations. Francescatti's instrument, by the way, is the "Hart" Stradivarius I heard in Carnegie Hall, and its burnished, singing tone could not be in better hands.

-Gary Lemco

Stokowski conducts: VAUGHN-WILLIAMS: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor/BUTTERWORTH: A Shropshire Lad/ ANTHEIL: Symphony No. 4 "1942"

Leopold Stokowski conducts NBC Symphony Orchestra

Cala CACD 0528 74:37

Another powerful addition to the recorded legacy of Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977), this disc adds some "once-only" performances by the master colorist, in live 1943-44 broadcasts. Typical of the Stokowski of the 1940's, the program and the musical means display both his strengths and weaknesses after the relatively salutary days before his fateful excursion to Hollywood and its 'popularizing' of his approach to sound. On the one hand, we have a fiercely dynamic F Minor Symphony of Vaughn-Williams, with its harsh portrait of the age of its birth (1935) and its temperamental creator. The NBC had already played it under Adrian Boult in 1938, but it would not be until 1956 that a non-British conductor, Mitropoulos, would inscribe it for posterity. In four movements and an Epilogue, the symphony still lashes out in snarling outbursts and sudden longings. On the other hand, the post-Fantasia Stokowski occasionally permits an orchestral slide that would raise purists' eyebrows.

The elegiac side of Stokowski has free rein in George Butterworth's 1913 pastoral A Shropshire Lad, a tone-poem in the same lyrical vein as much of Delius, with an even more lush sense of post-Debussian color. Here is Stokowski the sentimentalist, but restrained and poised in more rigid, aesthetic taste. Rarely did the NBC achieve a lush sonority in the 1940's inscriptions, but this 1944 performance, which also included the Antheil 4th Symphony, pulses with sensuous life. The Antheil symphony is a direct response to the tensions and horrors of the Second World War, and the second movement has an irony that finds its literary kindred in Stephen Crane. Even with the sonic limitations of the period, including some dropout and shatter in loud passages, this performance captures the passion and hysteria of a superheated moment in history.

A fine production, and collectors should support Cala and the Leopold Stokowski Society in their truly unique series devoted to this wayward, brilliant artist.

-Gary Lemco

JOHANN STRAUSS II: Wiener Blut and Eine Nacht in Venedig--Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, sop/Nicolai Gedda, tenor/Emmy Loose, sop/Erich Kunz, bar/Karl Dönch, bass/Otto Ackermann, cond/Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus--EMI 4532 567532 (2 Cds):

This welcome release gives us two of the wonderful series of operettas by Léhar and Strauss produced by Walter Legge for EMI in the early 1950s, the first years of the LP era. The performers he assembled were outstanding: his wife, Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, in her prime; the young Nicolai Gedda in splendid voice; the bubbling soubrette Emmy Loose, the great comedian Erich Kunz, and other expert actor-singers from the Vienna Staatsoper; the experienced Otto Ackermann, conductor of the Staatsoper since the late 1940s; and the talented musicians of Legge's Philharmonia Orchestra. These two amiable tales of romantic intrigue aren't as well-known as earlier releases in the series (e.g., Der Zigeunerbaron), but they're delicious confections--the most frothy of Viennese schlag, light, witty, effervescent, and altogether delightful. Ackermann and his colleagues bring out their charm with obvious enjoyment that's transmitted effortlessly to the listener in excellent sound; they shouldn't be missed.

--Alex Morin

Stokowski conducts: GABRIELI: Sonata pian e forte/ LISZT: Mephisto Waltz/ TIPPETT: Concerto for Double String Orchestra/ NIELSEN: Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia semplice"

Leopold Stokowski conducts London Symphony Orchestra and New Philharmonia Orchestra (Nielsen)

BBC Music BBCL 4059-2 72:40 (Distrib. Koch)

Culled from two distinctly successful Stokowski concerts, this disc gives us a number of new pieces for the Stokowski discophile, wherein the Tippett and the Nielsen are especially welcome. Stokowski had a strong sympathy for Carl Nielsen; he made a commercial record of the Symphony No. 2 (yet to be reissued) much admired in its time.

The tricky Symphony No. 6 is seductively facile in its appearances, but its interwoven, rondo structures and evasive, harmonic syntax keep many interpeters at a distance. Stokowski's breezy, studio rendition comes from 12 September 1965, a carefully shaped, often opulent reading in liquid sound that has strings and winds working through taxing problems in meter and orchestral tone. As the composer said of the Humoreske movement, "Whither is music going?"

The remainder of the program derives from 22 August 1961 Edinburgh concert, extremely exciting, and filled with all kinds of Stokowski mannerism. The ultimate colorist, Stokowski lavishes tender care on the Gabrieli and Tippett works, the latter among the most accessible of his polyphonic compositions. Round brass tone and delectable 'organ' sonority mark the Gabrieli. The Liszt Mephisto Waltz remains the kind of show-stopper in which Stokowski's flair for the dramatic, the lavish, and the garish could revel. Flute solo Alexander Murray and solo harp (Ossian Ellis) elicited special mention in Andrew Porter's timely review, and their playing still mesmerizes. Experience the whirlwind yourself; this is an eminently playable disc!

- Gary Lemco

HOLST: Beni Mora/BRIDGE: The Sea/BLISS: Conversations/VAUGHN-WILLIAMS: The Wasps-Overture/HARTY: With the Wild Geese/SMYTHE: The Wreckers-Overture

Gustuav Holst conds. London Symphony Orchestra
Frank Bridge Conds. London symphony Orchestra
Arthur Bliss conds. Orch.
Ralph Vaughn-Williams conds.The Aeolian Orchestra
Hamilton Hartyconds. Halle Orchestra
Ethyl Smythe conds. British Symphony Orchestra

Symposium Records 1202 75:00 (Distrib. Albany)

A unique sound document of recordings made 1922 (The Wasps) to 1930 (The Wreckers), we have another in the"composer conducts" legacy, here of music created 1908-1920, and capturing the British spirit before and just after the Great War. Holst, bliss and Vaughn-Williams achieved some note as a conductor of their own and others' works, but it was really Hamilton Harty who excelled in the art, and his craft as a spokesman for the Irish spirit remains considerable. Like Joyce, Harty seems to think that Ireland is "a sow that eats her farrow," and an Irish artist is never so at home as when he is away from Ireland! 'The Wild Geese' are an Irish military regiment that fought in the War of the Austrian Succession (1745); some may the recall vivid, action movie of the same name with Richard Harris and Richard Burton, about mercenaries fighting in Africa. The melodies in this strong piece from 1910 sound like folksong, but they are Harty's; and the early electrical recording (1926) bears up well in remastering.

The greater portion of these recordings is acoustic, made 1922-24, and so Holst through Vaughn-Williams suffer that hollow reverberation endemic to the process, with winds and strings having that tinny quality. Still, the works shine through: Holst's is an Oriental Suite in E Minor (1909) that has obsessive melodies and mantras running through it, taken from his sojourn to Algeria. It is a cross of Ippolitov-Ivanov and Debussy, fertilized by Korsakov's Antar Symphony. Frank Bridge's The Sea enjoys the same musical antecedents, a foamy and busy piece in four movements, easily the model for Britten's later sea-pictures in Peter Grimes. More forward-loking are the Bliss Conversations (1920), for a mixed ensemble of flute, oboe and string trio. There is something of T.S. Eliot or Sartre in these little tone-pictures of frustrated communications and thwarted or fractious encounters. Most exciting are the two overtures, to The Wasps (1909, rec. 1922) and to The Wreckers (1908, rec.1930). Vaughn-Williams rushes through his piece, and his urgency makes the rhythmic lines and syncopations sound more or less like Stravinsky. Smythe's piece makes a powerful impression: set along the Cornwall coast, it has a tension and muscularity reminiscent of Wagner's Tristan and his Dutchman. No wonder Bruno Walter was a great admirer of this composer, who has yet to be fully acknowledged for her intensely (Teutonic) musical culture.

--Gary Lemco


Clara Haskil/Dinu Lipatti: Hommage

Tahra 366/367 69:36; 60:36 (Distrib. Harmonia Mundi)

This is a very special reissue, a celebration of two kindred Roumanian musicians, Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950) and Clara Haskil (1895-1960), each a protege of Georges Enescu and each gifted in the worlds of Bach and Mozart. The 2-disc set includes a lengthy essay by Jerome Sprycket, "Clara et Dinu: Deux etres de Lumiere," testimony well documented of the respectful relationship between these musical "luminaries," who despite their artistic, interpretive differences, shared a common aesthetic and reverence for the creative and recreative experience.

The Haskil tapes are the more revelatory: they derive from archival 78's and home tape-recordings; the former are in poor, electrical sound 1928-1948 and the latter are c. 1958, made when Haskil was convalescing from heart problems and practicing pieces (from Scriabin and Rachmaninov) rare in her standard repertory. Besides a soft, crackly dynamic range, these pieces suffer some drop-outs, like the final bars of Liszt's La Leggierezza. But the 'meditation' on Beethoven's B-flat Concerto (splicing bits of each movement into a personal cadenza) is priceless, a gift to author Sprycket from Haskil's sisters. The big work comes from Dutch Radio: the Concerto No. 9 in E-flat by Mozart, with Eugen Jochum and the Bavarian Radio-Symphony from the Hague, March 1954. "Clarinette" (Lipatti's fond designation) was never in better form. A little piece like the unknown Gigue by Graun (from 1936) reveals a world of finger dexterity and dynamic nuance we might associate with Backhaus or Horowitz.

The musical "link" for both artists is the Bach Choral, "Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland," BWV 599 in the Busoni arrangement. Haskil's comes from Ludwigsburg 1953, Lipatti's from HMV 1947. How frail and ethereal is Lipatti's version next to Haskil! Lipatti receives three taped 1950 interviews from Geneva and Lausanne: he speaks about some repertoire, even commenting upon Roussel's 4th Symphony as well as his working methods. Haskil had been involved in Bartok's Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion (with Magaloff), whose rehearsals Lipatti attended. His passion for new music, as well as his own penchant for composition are amply documented in these interviews (English translations provided) and Lipatti's own 1943 rendition of his devilish Sonatine for Left Hand. The big work here is a goodrestoration (also offered on EMI) of Bartok's Third Concerto with the Southwest Symphony-Orchestra under Paul Sacher from May 1948. The sound remains distant and the acoustic dry, but one still feels the classical restraint and fervor in this performance.

Finally, there is Sprycket's essay: it traces the evolution of Lipatti and Haski, respectively and then in tandem, from 1934 through the bitterness of WW II, until their untimely deaths. It is a reverent, poetic outpouring, using letters and narration. It openly addresses the political and artistic issues that obsessed and (in Haskil's case) haunted them: anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, Anna Lipatti (Dinu's protective mother who saw Haskil as a rival)), the interventions of wife Madeleine Lipatti to keep the bond between him and Haskil from breaking because of Haskil's neurotic possessiveness. All is told lucidly, candidly, without sacrificing the "holy dread" that surrounds such mystical personages. This is fine writing accompanied by marvelous music, a polyphonic experience in every sense.

-Gary Lemco

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