Fritz Kreisler: The Complete RCA Recordings
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A Fritz Kreisler recording can always be recognized by the violinist's beefy, baritonal sonority, inimitable portamento, and communicative warmth. Most of the repertoire here consists of the short, encore pieces that prevailed in the era of 78rpm records, many penned or arranged by Kreisler, who was always on the lookout for memorable tunes. Familiar classics like the duets with John McCormack, and Schubert, Beethoven, and Grieg sonata collaborations with Rachmaninoff turn up alongside rare alternate takes and Kreisler's lone recording as a piano soloist in Dvořak's Humoresque. One should savor these musical sweetmeats in small portions, rather than wolfing down each disc in chronological gulps. Ward Marston's transfers are beyond praise. -- Jed Distler
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Top Customer Reviews
First, there's the playing. This is a professionally ebullient fiddler. Technically astounding, but with the communicative warmth the other reviewers seem to uniformly note. I find violin tiring to the ear sometimes, but not this guy's violin. A joy to listen to.
Second, the selection. Fairly much 11 discs of solid "pop" music--a kind of Fiedlerian dream world where every piece catches the attention usually because of potent melodic pungency. I found myself looking forward to each cut, knowing I would be well-rewarded. Kreisler chose his repertoire well.
Third, oh yeah sure, nostalgia. Everything here is an echo of a world that passed largely by 1914 and was already deep nostalgia for many by the time these last recordings were made in the 1940s. I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that, it's a kind of longing not for an idealized past but for aspects of that past that are clearly missing in the world today (or even back in 1948 when the last tracks were set down). Heck, I listen to Beethoven and find myself getting nostalgic for an era when my local department store music department would make a big deal out of a new Bernstein release and a major network would actually give Lennie time to talk about classical music to the masses.
Anyway, I never intended to own the collection, now I do and I'd replace it in the blink of an eye. Charming and entertaining from disc one to disc eleven.
The remastering is not likely to be improved upon. It is from the mid-1990's and is a perfect balance between suppressing surface noise to a reasonable level, and yet preserving every bit of Kreisler's glorious tone.
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