Friday, June 8, 2018

The early days of the Marco Polo label

Belgian composer Charles Auguste de Bériot had a successful career, but a rather sad life. After difficulties getting his new style of violin playing accepted in the 1820’s, he enjoyed succes with his many violin concerto’s. He declined an offer to lecture in Paris, but started to teach in Brussels, where he founded the Belgian violin school, where his pupil Henri Vieuxtemps and Eugene Ysaye are the best known examples of. After a couple of years he lost his eyesight and became blind. His left arm was paralyzed and cut off (!) to relief him from the pain. Brrr….
Of his concerto’s, no 7 and no 9 are played most often, but I have a weak spot for no 8, composed in 1856. 

Anton Rubinstein (no relation to the pianist) was one of the most important Russian composers and pianists, according to the 19th century critics. Yet he was outshined by his pupil Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky. Both men had a rocky relationship, but always stayed in touch, or went to parties together, as this unique 1890 phonograph recording shows. Nope, not a hoax, in the house of Julius Block Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky can be heard speaking and whistling (!).
Anton Rubinstein’s last symphony, his Symphony no 6 was written in 1886. 

Alexander Borodin wrote his piano quintet in Italy, 1862, when his fiancee, the pianist Yekaterina Protopopova, was there for the recovery of a disease. The 28 year composer would meet with Balakirev soon after the couple returned and this fine quintet was the last work of his early period. 

Charles-Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870)
Tracks 01-02 Violin Concerto No. 8 in D major, Op. 99 (1856)

Takako Nishizaki, violin
RTBF Symphony Orchestra; Alfred Walter; 
Rec: 14 to 19 July 1986;

Anton Rubinstein (1824- 1894)
Tracks 03-06 Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, Op. 111 (1886)

Philharmonic Hungarica
Gilbert Varga, conductor
Recorded in Marl, FRG from 16th to 18th July, 1986

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
Tracks 07-09 Quintet in C Minor for Two Violins, Viola, Cello and Piano (1862)
Ilona Prunyi, piano
New Budapest Quartet
Recorded 1991
(Webplayer link)

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