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Henri Marteau (violin) - Swedish pupils and colleagues
rec. 1912-48
CAPRICE CAP21620 [4 CDs: 290:14]

This outstanding box charts the role of violinist Henri Marteau (1874-1934) in Swedish life through his own slim recorded legacy and those of his many and varied colleagues and pupils. The result is a comprehensive slice of a specific musical thread in the country spread over four CDs and documented in a comprehensive and most attractive 196-page booklet – though book would be a better word given its length.

Firstly, however, to Marteau who is probably only recalled now by violin collectors. He was born in Reims in 1874 to a French father and a German mother, studied in Paris with Léonard and gradually won renown. Tchaikovsky accompanied him in 1891, he made his American and Canadian debuts the following year and began an association with Scandinavia in 1894. He became a professor of the violin in Geneva in 1900, formed a quartet, and a strong musical friendship with Reger, and gave numerous premieres (Sinding, Aulin inter alia). He began recording just before the First World War during which, despite his prestige in Germany, he was incarcerated as an enemy alien. Thereafter he spent much of the remainder of his life based in Sweden.

This Franco-German musical and political dichotomy was to hound Marteau’s later life and one can follow much detail in the book which accompanies the CDs. Of more direct relevance is the sequence of discs, and this review can only serve to point to some of the many felicities to be found here. Marteau’s 78s occupy the first disc. He recorded two of his own pieces which were once issued on a Masters of the Bow LP, but neither is in this CD. Also missing – inevitably – are the vanished Bettini cylinders he made back in the mists of time. Marteau is principally famous discographically for having made the first full recording of one of Bach’s solo sonatas or partitas in sessions covering November 1912 to February 1913. His vibrato is sparing and so can sound rather dry even when in his prime, as here, but his rhythm is felicitous and buoyant and he employs excellent dynamics that fortunately don’t evade the acoustic horn. Otherwise the selections are some of the usual popular items that violinists were asked to record. Interestingly he badgered Electrola to allow him to re-record Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasia, as he wasn’t satisfied with the first issued version. Less than a year later they caved in and he duly recorded it again – though he needed a polishing session in 1930 to complete the job. Some of his most beautiful playing can be found in Godard’s Adagio Pathétique, one of the Morceaux from the Op.128 set. Though tonally he must have seemed retrogressive by 1927 - when such as Kreisler, Heifetz, Elman and Thibaud were recording prolifically - this piece shows how beautiful phrasing and a sympathetic ear for the genre can offer much by way of compensation.

Carl von Garaguly is best-remembered now as a quartet leader and conductor but he can be heard in 12 tracks in the second disc as a soloist. A radio broadcast catches him at the age of 83 playing a Polska by Goran Olsson-Föllinger – one of the running conceits of this set is that three of the four CDs open with the Polska. The Aquarelles of Aulin are also disc favourites throughout and Garaguly plays them well – even if his Brahms is erratic and his style rather old-fashioned for a player born in 1900. Interestingly we hear the finale (only) of the Moses Pergament Concerto live in 1950. It’s worth noting here that there are a large number of previously unpublished and off-air items scattered throughout the discs – a feast of things, in fact, for the collector. Otto Kyndel is still remembered. He had a light, bright, somewhat nervous vibrato, especially in Mozart but he plays quite charmingly. Where, I wonder, is the rest of his live 1948 performance of Nils Eriksson’s Violin Concerto, of which we hear just the Scherzo?

We hear from Olsson-Föllinger himself in the third disc, playing none other than his own Polska – a wartime radio performance. He commands the folkloric style of his fellow-composer Aulin, two of whose Aquarelles he plays. His tone is rather undistinguished and a bit dry but he can be stylish. There are also some very rare private discs of him dating from the 1936-44 period. Similarly, Ebba Nissen can be heard in rare private discs, as well as a 1937 Sonora 78 – some, almost inevitably, rather scuffy. There are no details regarding Gerhard Lundquist’s recording of the first movement of Aulin’s Violin Concerto No. 3. No conductor, orchestra or date, frustratingly. Axel Runnquist can hold his head high in this company. He essays the inevitable Aulin but he’s an idiomatic performer and well worth hearing. These 1921 HMVs were recorded in Stockholm’s Hotel Continental but he can be heard back in 1906 adding obbligato flair to a song by Adrian Dahl sung by soprano Zelma Wall. Sten Broman plays viola on a fine-sounding 1944 HMV of Gunnar de Frumerie’s vibrant Piano Quartet.

The last disc collects recordings made by Swedish players born before 1914. The oldest is Lars Zetterquist (born 1860) but one of the very best is Charles Barkel who plays – yes, again – an Aulin Aquarelle. Barkel had a successful career and shows real elegance here. Some of the examples reveal players as part of ensembles – of string trios, for instance, or orchestras, as in the case of William Damme. Of archival interest is the 58 seconds of Allan Pettersson – yes, that Allan Pettersson – playing a slice of the Canzonetta from Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in 1939. If I’m reading things correctly this was taken from a film track. One can’t hear too much of Tobias Wilhelmi from this Stravinsky Soldier’s Tale extract and Einar Groth is saddled with an organ for his soupy performance of Frans Grothe’s Illusion. Mario Galli plays sweetly in Becce’s Legende d’amour on a 1927 Polyphon whereas Giovanni Turicchia is teamed with Jussi Björling in a 1944 performance of Gounod’s Salut. Congratulations to the programmers at Caprice for favouring Francesco Asti’s performance of Moszkowski’s Serenata. There’s an extract from a sonata – quite a rarity in the context of vignette pieces and extracts from concertos – in the shape of the Allegretto from Sjögren’s excellent Sonata Op. 24. It’s played well by Tage Broström with Wiatcheslaw Witkowski accompanying. The set ends with the well-known Endre Wolf and an HMV Paganini of 1947.

There is a huge amount to read in the book. Some of the essays are in Swedish only but there is a biographical overview of Marteau, biographies of his students and colleagues, a chronology of Marteau’s Swedish concert engagements with full programme details, from 1894 to 1934, and numerous fine photographs throughout.

If you have any interest at all in Swedish string playing, then this is the archive set to end all archive sets.

Jonathan Woolf
Full track-listing
CD 1 [74:25]
Polska [1:45]
Johann Sebastian BACH
Partita III, BWV 1006 [15:21]
Quintet op. 13:5 in E: Minuett [2:51]
Friedrich HEGAR
Sechs Waltzes op. 14: Waltz No. 2 [2:38]: Waltz No. 4 [3:06]
Carmen Fantasia op. 25 after Bizet [8:28]
Sonata in A op. 162 “Duo” (D574), Movement 4 [3:35]
Benjamin GODARD
(Six) Morceaux op. 128: No. 3 Adagio path. [4:10]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Adagio in E, KV 261 [4:14]
Quintet op. 13:5 in E: Minuett [3:16]
Johannes BRAHMS
Hungarian Dance No.6 [3:10]
Danza española nr 2: Habanera op. 21 No 2 [4:00]
Carmen Fantasia op. 25 after Bizet [8:33]
Schwanengesang No.4, Ständchen [4:11]
Johann Sebastian BACH
Suite No. 3 BWV 1068, Air [3:51]
Henri Marteau (violin) with Pancho Wladigueroff, Okänd and Clemens Schmahlstich (piano), recorded 1912-30

CD 2 [72:45]
Polska [2:10]
Georg Frideric HANDEL
Sonata No. 9, Larghetto [3:06]
Jean Baptiste LULLY
Ballet du Roy, Gavotte en rondeau arr Willy Burmester [2:48]
Johannes BRAHMS
Hungarian Dance No.2 [2:43]
Ferenc von VECSEY
Valse triste [2:39]
(4) Aquarelles: No.2, Humoresque [2:47]: No.3 Vaggsång [2:57]
Mustalainen [3:04]
Londonderry Air arr. Fritz Kreisler [3:53]
Ungersk fantasi [4:02]
Csardas [3:18]
Violin Concerto; 3rd movement [6:25]
Carl von Garaguly (violin) with Tore Wiberg, Sten Frykberg (piano); Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Stig Westerberg, recorded 1929-83
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Violin Sonata no. 6 in G K301 [13:18]
Intermezzo “Souvenir de Vienne” [3:17]
Melodi [2:45]
Romance in F, op. 5 [3:07]
Sentimental romance No. 2 in F, op.28:2 [6:22]
Violin Concerto: Scherzo [2:38]
Otto Kyndel (violin) with Sten Frykberg and Sune Waldimir (piano): Radio Orchestra/Sten Frykberg (Stenhammar) and Radio Orchestra/Stig Rybrant (Eriksson), recorded 1936-48

CD 3 [76:50]
Polska in A [2:14]
Nejlikan [2:27]
Jämtsägen [1:48]
(4) AquarellesMusic: No. 4 Polska [2:45: No 1 Idyll [3:08]
Georg Frideric HANDEL
Sonata op. 1 no. 5 in G: Minuett arr Willy Burmester [2:39]
Johann Sebastian BACH
Partita III in E BWV 1006: Preludio [3:00]: Gavotte en rondeau [2:40]
Charakterstücke, no. 2 Mazurek in E [3:49]
Göran Olsson-Föllinger (violin) with Carl Edvard Tollvik and Hjalmar Meissner (piano), recorded 1915-44
Mazurka [1:28]
Souvenirs IV op. 41:14, Poem arr Jan Kubelik [3:13]
Liebeslied [3:21]
Berceuse op. 18 [3:13]
César CUI
Kaleidoscope op. 50:9, Orientale [3:00]
Ebba Nissen (violin) with Oscar Nissen-Salomon and Herbert Nissen (piano), recorded 1930s-1953
Scherzo-Tarantelle op. 16 [4:22]
Violin Concerto No.3 in C, op.14, movement 1 Molto moderato [10:55]
Gerhard Lundquist (violin) with Berl Botschinsky (piano) and unknown orchestra and conductor, recorded 1947
(4) Aquarelles. No. 3 Vaggsång [3:07]
Petite Suite no 1: En bateau arr Gaston Choisnel [3:13]
(3) Gottländische Tänze op. 23: I Maestoso [3:09]
Svensk dans [3:16]
Adrian DAHL
Lofsång [3:03]
Axel Runnquist (violin) with Natanael Broman (piano) and Zelma Wall (soprano) and Martha Ohlson (piano) in the Dahl, recorded 1906-21
Den gamla sekretären [3:24]
Fritz Ahlberg (violin) with Olle Strandberg (tenor) and Åke-Gösta Bratt (piano) recorded 1924
Gunnar de FRUMERIE
Piano Quartet no. 1, Intermezzo [2:00]
Sten Broman (viola) with Gunnar de Frumerie (piano): Sven Karpe (violin): Gustav Gröndahl (cello), recorded 1944

CD 4 [76:14]
Edvard GRIEG
Brudefølget drar forbi op. 19:2 arr Emile Sauret[2:47]
Lars Zetterquist (violin) with ?Hjalmar Meissner, recorded 1915
Som stjärnan uppå himmelen så klar arr Herman Behrens[1:33]
Gösta Björk (violin) with Hjalmar Meissner, recorded 1916
Menuett [3:09]
Ernest Törnquist (violin) with Natanael Broman (piano) recorded 1929
Aquarelles no. 2: Humoresque [2:56]
Charles Barkel (violin) with Natanael Broman (piano) recorded 1929
Jean-Marie LECLAIR
Sonata in C op. 5 no. 10, Tambourin arr Fritz Kreisler [2:59]
Lottie Andréason (violin) with ?Martin Andréason (piano) recorded 1929
Säterjentens søndag arr. Johan Svendsen [2:50]
Folke Englund (piano) with Axel Flyckt (piano) recorded 1930
Etude no. 35 arr Jenö Hubay [1:29]
Ernest Källberg (violin), recorded 1964
Erland von KOCH
Dance no. 2 in A [2:33]
Sven Karpe (violin) with Erland von Koch (piano) recorded 1939
Polska [1:48]
Sven Kjellström (violin) with Olof Anderson (violin) and Johnny Schönning (viola) recorded 1940
Charakerstücke no. 2, Mazurka no. 2 in E [3:55]
Julius Ruthström (violin) with Anita von Hillern-Dunbar (piano), recorded 1931
Mellanspel 7 b ur teatermusik till Kejsaren av Portugallien [3:01]
William Damme (violin) with Carl Thelin (cello) and Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Fritz Busch, recorded 1939
Violin Concerto in D op. 35, Canzonetta [0:58]
Allan Pettersson (violin) with orchestra/Håkan von Eichwald, recorded 1939
Histoire du soldat: Tango (takt 43–73) & Valse [3:07]
Tobias Wilhelmi (violin) and ensemble directed by Kurt Bendix, recorded 1936
Illusion [3:09]
Einar Groth (violin) with William Lind (Hammond organ), recorded 1944
Giuseppe BECCE
Legende d’amour op. 11 [3:08]
Mario Galli (violin) with Helge Bonnen (piano), recorded 1927
Thaïs, Méditation (Intermezzo) [3:47]
Oluf Nielsen (violin) with Radio Orchestra/Ivar Hellmann, recorded 1935
Charles GOUNOD
Faust act 3, Salut! Demeure chaste et pure [1:55]
Giovanni Turicchia (violin) with Jussi Bjorling (tenor); Orchestra/Nils Grevillius, recorded 1944
Tonerna [2:39]
Karl Bornfors (violin) with Stig Hansson (Jules Sylvain), recorded 1923
Georg Frideric HANDEL
Xerxes: Ombra mai fu [2:43]
Harry Fritz-Crone (violin) with Inger Fritz-Crone, recorded 1925
Gottländische tänze op. 23:1 Maestoso [3:09]
Nora Duesberg-Baranowski (violin) with Easili Baranowski (piano) recorded 1930
Serenata op. 15:1 [3:20]
Francesco Asti (violin) with Sten Frykberg (piano) recorded 1930
Romance in G, op. 26 [3:25]
Walfred Andersen (violin) with Okänd (piano), recorded 1936
Violin Sonata no. 2 in Em op. 24, movement 2 Allegretto Scherzando [6:11]
Tage Broström (violin) with Wiatcheslaw Witkowski (piano), recorded 1944
Johannes BRAHMS
Hungarian Dance No.2 in D [2:57]
Issay Mitnitzky (violin) with ?Olof Widbergh (piano) recorded 1934
Schön Rosmarin [2:07]
Alice Benkö-Karlander (Alice Lindblom) (violin) with ?Hjalmar Meissner (piano), recorded 1922
Caprice op. 1:5 in A arr Roman Maciewski [2:48]
Endre Wolf (violin) with Antoinette Wolf (piano) recorded 1947



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