The Gramophone, April, 1928
I! CHAMBER MUSIC Seven Variations by Beethoven on an Air from Mozart's "Magic Flute" for Piano and 'Cello. Cortot and Casals (H.::\LV. D.A.915 and 916, lOin., 12s.) ';,
I t is perfectly hopeless to go on spending adjectives and superlatives on all these masters. Suffice i t to say that the combinatio.n of the two performers is no less glorious than that of the two composers, These rarely-heal'd variations prove a lovely work. · They are founded on a duet from The Magic Plute between Pamina and Papageno (soprano and baritone) and these characters are most amusingly carried out by the piano and the 'cello, which converse in an entertaining manner on the gay and tuneful subject. The recording giving full justice to the performance, this is the sort of thing everyone should buy.
The Budapest String Quartet plays Mozart's Quartet in B f lat major (The Hunting Quartet) (H.M.V., D.1387-9, three 12in., 19s. 6d.). The label on these records gives the key as B instead of B flat. I have always admired the Budapest String Quartet, partly for i ts superiority in allowing each instrument to be individually felt within what is a perfect ensemble, and partly for i ts vigorous and manly playing. Both qualities are in full evidence in this performance, which in this recording is a perfect Mozartian joy from beginning to end.
Two rather curious combination.'! have recorded for .Parlophone. · The Kotanyi Trio (three pianos) and The London Flute Quartet. The first-named play very efficiently with a fine sweep. Whoever is responsible for that arrangement of a Faust Fantasia which they play (E.I0677, 12in., 4s. 6d.) seems to have a great affection for extended pedal points. The Flute Quartet consists of very able players indeed (E.I0678, 12in., 4s. 6d.). They perform the wedding of Mendelssohn's immortal bee with 'much decor, but the l imitations of an ensemble of this kind are rather painfully clear in Melody by Schubert which, frankly, sounds l ike a glorified hurdy-gurdy.
nical wizard, but I cannot truthfully say that I am very much interested in his Patluftique. Admitted; every tone is there more clearly than from many great players, but where is Beethoven?
Irene Scharrer gives us a very fine performance of Mozart's G ma}or Sonata (D.1372-73, 12in., 68. 6d.). She is both deeply musical and intelligent, and has a rich variety of colours of which, much to the benefit of the sonata, she is not afraid to make free use. On the second side of the last record she plays an arrangement from a most charming Harpsichord Suite by Purcell, an idiom in which she seems to be still more at home, and renders in a truly beautiful manner.
Harriet Cohen's Bach playing is now an established success all over musical Europe. She may have one or two details about recording to find out yet, but when she plays the m'1'angem ent of two Choral Preludes (Columbia 4740, lOin., 3f!.) i t is wonderful how she makes us realise that, above everything, Bach wrote~xquisitemusic.
For those who connect piano playing chiefly with Chopin, there is the Ballad No.3 (D.1370, 12in., 6s. 6d.) in Moiseivitch's famous world-tour style, and the Nocturne in E rna.ior by Mark Hambourg's efficient but somewhat aggressive style (D.1454, 12in., 6s. 6d.). On the same record he also plays Liszt: Au Bard d'une Source, and on C.1439, Rakoczy March by the same composer, plus Mendelssohn's Auf FlUgeln des Gesanges.
A beautiful record in every respect is H.M.V. D.1397 (12in., 6s. 6d.) on which Erica Morini plays Dvorak's Slavonic Dance No.2 in a KreLgler arrangement, and Air from Goldmark's Concerto in A minor. I think I prefer this excellent violinist on the gramophone because in the concert-hall her tonethough clear and of fine quality-hardly seems so full and rich as when recording. The two i tems in question get their full share of i t .
That Isolde Menges gives us the two Brahms-Joachim G minor and B minor Hungarian Dances in the right manner is not to be wondered at (H.M.V. E.496, lOin., 4s. 6d.). Her firm attack and broad phrasing are very effective, and I particularly admire the way in which she avoids overdoing the rubato in the second part of the G minor Dance, while her " open" tone in the gypsy lament of the last Dance is very convincing. She records superbly.
I t seems all out of proportion that an eminent 'cellist l ike Gaspar Cassado should give t ime and touch to such hackneyed things as Glazounov's M elodie Arabe and Le Cygne by SaintSaens (Columbia D.1600, lOin., 4s. 6d.). One marvels that there is a market for these constant repetitions, but when i t must be so, i t is, of course, an asset that the performances are of a high standard.
Out of several fine His Master's Voice records definitely the most arresting is that of Paderewski in a N octume by his pupil Schelling (D.B.I029, 12in., 8s. 6d.). When he chooses, this great Pole is unlike any other piano player in the world. We know that in the concert hall he may let us down, but that is certainly not the case on this record. His playing is far beyond mere technique, and breathes the very spirit of the piano-- " das Urklavier," as the Germans would call i t . I recommend this to all lovers of Paderewski.
Backhaus plays Beethoven's Sonata . Patluftique on . two records, D.B.I031-32 (12in., 8s. 6d.), and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. ·2, D.B.I013 (12in., 8s. 6d.). The Rhapsody is, of course, as brilliant as could be expected from this tech-
The . important instrumental achievement this month is that H.M.V., with great success, has issued eight organ records mainly of classical works. This is truly an event that calls for attention.
Much has lately been discussed in this journal about the organ, i ts music and the playing thereof, and I do not feel the need of adding to what has already been said. The occasion, however, is tempting to emphasise once more the important fact that the organ is an instrument with an individuality all i ts own, and that only music written with due regard to this nature will ever convince.
But modern commerce has made modern technique turn the organ into a musical-box in order to make i t "sound l ike" an orchestra (which i t never does) and perform all sorts of music but organ music so as to afford a one-man relief in cinemas and restaurants when the musicians of the band