The Bel Canto Violin Volume 4
Alfredo Campoli (violin)
London Symphony Orchestra, Ataúlfo Argenta, Eduard van Beinum, Piero Gamba, Anatole Fistoulari
One of the most significant violinists in gramophone history, Alfredo Campoli enjoyed tremendous success in the 1930s as a purveyor of light music, both in concerts with his own salon orchestra and on Decca. A series of six 2CD reissues from Eloquence focuses on the violinist’s postwar reinvention of himself as ‘Campoli’, the classical soloist.
When Campoli made this recording of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto at the very end of 1956, he had lately returned from a tour of the Soviet Union which had been facilitated by the temporary thaw in Cold War relations. Also on the tour, Gerald Moore later recalled that in Russia, Campoli had been spoken about in the same breath as Oistrakh. In stereo and in partnership with the Spanish conductor Ataulfo Argenta, the Tchaikovsky sessions catch the violinist on masterful form, imbuing the concerto with every shade of subtle rubato.
Campoli is hand in glove with several other Decca house conductors on four more complete long-play and medium- play discs featuring concertante bow- and showstoppers: there is the sophisticated playfulness of the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns, his habanera-like Havanaise leading smoothly into the gypsy fire of Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, the gymnastics of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole and the melodic composure of Wienawski’s Légende. Campoli is accompanied by the young Piero Gamba in a concerto of particular significance for him, Kreisler’s one- movement arrangement of Paganini’s First Concerto. When he played it at a Henry Wood Promenade concert in the summer of 1938, the violinist later told Gramophone, ‘it was one of the proudest moments of my life when the Queen’s Hall audience recalled me six times.’
Lalo: Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Paganini: Violin Concerto in One Movement
Saint-Saëns: Havanaise, Op. 83
Saint-Saëns: Introduction & Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28
Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61
Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35
Wieniawski: Légende in G minor, Op. 17