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Eidus played for Frank Sinatra's 1950-52 Columbia (New York) recording sessions; while other Sinatra sessions players included cellists Eleanor Slatkin and Beaux Arts Trio's Bernard Greenhouse.

The Opus 8 vies with Bach's celebrated cello suites in its constructional genius and wealth of feeling. Indeed it's as fulfilling in content and technically stupefying as anything in the cello repertory and here Starker's blistering account is equally alive to numerous nuances throughout its length.

Among others who've recorded the Kodály unaccompanied sonata Op 8 are Alexander Michejew, with Bridge (Nimbus 1992); Lluis Claret, also Kodály Op 4 (Harmonia Mundi 1995); Yo Yo Ma, with O'Connor, Sheng, Wilde, Tcherepnin (Sony 1999); Maria Kliegel, Complete Kodály cello works (Naxos); Colin Carr, with Britten, Crumb, Schuller (GM Recordings 1995); Pieter Wipselwey, with Crumb, Escher (Globe 1995) and also with the Shostakovitch Concerto No 1 (Channel Classics 2000).

None of these can wholly replace Starker's original recording; but the pick of the 'modern' bunch are Lluis Claret and Pieter Wipselwey or, if you're after all of Kodály's cello works, there's the ever-reliable Maria Kliegel on two budget discs (see above).

The composer reportedly called Starker's interpretation (the unaccompanied sonata) while in his mid 20s 'The Bible Performance', rightly so, for each of the three Kodály performances are indisputable classics. Four decades later while recording Op 8, János Starker was joined in the Duo by legendary violinist and teacher Joseph Gingold (Delos 1015, early 1990s).

A Gingold-Starker Concert took place on 11 January 2003 at Le Petit Trianon, San Jose. Each of the featured guest artists had been students of Gingold's and/or Starker's and in a video presentation preceding the memorial event Starker shared some recollections of Gingold (1909-1995), plus insights into his music.

The filler items on disc 1 are Bartók's Rhapsody for Cello No 1 (1928) (arranged from the Rhapsody for Violin No 1 and Lakodalmas [listen -- CD1 track 8, 0:00-0:52] by Leo Weiner (1885-1960), an engaging Hungarian Wedding dance for cello and piano (with Otto Herz).

Copyright © 25 September 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


János Starker's Legendary Period LPs Vol 1

942 311 021-2 Stereo REISSUE (2 CDs) 54'/66' - TT 120' 2007 EMG Classical

János Starker, cello; Castle Hill Festival Orchestra; Maximilian Pilzer, conductor; Arnold Eidus, violin; Otto Herz, piano

Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) arranged by Friedrich Grützmacher (1832-1903): Cello Concerto in B flat (Allegro moderato; Andantino grazioso; Rondo: Allegro); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Cello Concerto in E flat (arrangement of Horn Concerto No 3 K447 by Fischer) (Allegro; Romance (Larghetto); Allegro); Béla Bartók (1881-1945): Rhapsody for Cello No 1 (1928) (arrangement by Bartók of the Rhapsody for Violin No 1) (Lassu (lento); Friss (Allegretto)); Leo Weiner (1885-1960): Lakodalmas, Hungarian Wedding Dance for Cello (arranged Weiner from a movement of his Divertimento for Orchestra) (Lassu/Friss); Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967): Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello Op 8 (1915) (Allegro maestoso ma appassionato; Adagio (con gran espressione); Allegro molto vivace); Duo for Violin and Cello Op 7 (1914) (Allegro serioso, non troppo; Adagio; Maestoso e largamente, ma non troppo lento); Sonata for Cello and Piano Op 4 (1910) (Fantasie, Adagio di molto; Allegro con spirito)


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