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Violin My Love: Hommage a Va Prhoda
Jen HUBAY (1858-1937)
Scne de la csrda No.4 Hejre Kati Op.32 No.4 [5:34]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Salut damour Op.12 (1888) arr. Va Prhoda [3:03]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Rosenkavalier: Waltzes (1911) arr. Va Prhoda (1928) [7:16]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Vocalise [5:17]
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Romanza Andaluza Op.22 (1879) [4:25]
Franz DRDLA (1868-1944)
Souvenir in D major (1904) [3:12]
Ede POLDINI (1869-1957)
Poupe valsante arr. Fritz Kreisler (1924) [2:16]
Antonn DVORK (1841-1904)
Humoresque No.7 Op.101 B187 (1894) arr. August Wilhelmj (1845-1908) [3:09]
Violin Sonatina in G major Op.100 B183 (1893) [18:47]
Symphony No.9 in E Op.95 From the New World Op.95 B178 Melody from the Largo (1893) arr. Va Prhoda [5:01]
Tom Vinklt (violin)
Martin Fila (piano)
rec. April 2011, Martinu Hall, Liechtenstein Palace, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague
ARCO DIVA UP 0153 - 2131 [59:10]

Experience Classicsonline

Czech violinist Tom Vinklt dedicates his disc to a great compatriot and predecessor, Va Prhoda (1900-60), the dashing virtuoso who flourished in the pre-war years, faltered amidst accusations of wartime fraternisation with the Germans, but recovered in time for triumphant visits back to Prague. Fortunately he made many recordings on 78, a number for Cetra in Italy on LP, which I have reviewed here, and a tranche of largely German radio broadcasts have survived and been released.
This hour-long recital isnt slavish in its homage. Prhoda didnt record everything here, though he did record almost everything. We can hear from the start that Vinklt is not interested in aping Prhodas very particular style, and nor should he be. No Prhoda studio performance of Hubays Hejre Kati exists, so far as Im aware, and Hubay, who made recordings, didnt set it down either. Vinklt, as he does throughout, proves a clean-limbed, somewhat arms-length exponent. Elgars Salut damour chugs away quite happily, making one wonder why its credited to a Prhoda arrangement. Then we hear why: double-stops, an interpolated cadential passage, changed note values and register alteration too. The ethos is now School of Raffs Cavatina. Double-stopping his way through a piece was a staple for the Czech fiddler who did the same sort of thing in his arrangement of Sarasates Zigeunerweisen. Prhoda recorded Salut damour twice for Polydor, armed with resplendent portamenti and ripe rubati at a slower tempo than Tom Vinklt and Martin Fila. Prhodas double-stops are remarkably gulped and expressive.
Prhodas most famous arrangement was of the Rosenkavalier Waltzes, and its probably the one piece of his editorial work to have survived. Vinklt had to play it, naturally, and does so attractively but the knowing, showy rubatos of the original performer and his slyly capricious phrasing are not part of the younger mans arsenal. Sarasate wrote his Romanza Andaluza for the Moravian violinist Wilma Norman-Neruda (1838-1911), perhaps better known as Lady Halle. This decent performance lacks the tonal vitality of Prhodas mid-30s disc, and I dont feel that Fila is terribly interested in the piano part. He reminds me of the words of the critic who once said of a Gerald Moore record that he sounded as if he were playing with a cigarette dangling out of the side of his mouth.
Dvork is the composer most closely associated with Prhoda. His studio recording of the Concerto is still one of the greatest ever committed to disc, but listening to his surviving examples of both the Concerto and the Sonatina, which Vinklt plays, its valuable to note just how eventfully changeable could be the interpretations. Live, post-war, he could really speed up, whether through nerves or a kind of showing-off Im not quite sure. He certainly speeded up in the first movement of the Sonatina in his last 1956 Prague Spring appearance which was fortunately taped. In his studio reading hes a lot more reserved in the first movement. Vinklt and Fila are not quite risoluto enough but they are tasteful exponents if rather expressively neutral ones. Finally, we dont hear much of Prhodas arrangement of the slow movement of the New World Symphony. Here it is for new generations.
The recording is just a touch expansive for my tastes. This is a pleasing disc, though I wish the performers had been more expressively engaged.
Jonathan Woolf

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