Joseph Szigeti. Prokofiev Sonatas, Five Melodies (Columbia)

Here is a collection of Joseph Szigeti’s Prokofiev recordings made for American Columbia between 1945 and 1954. I have transferred these from (very good!) Japanese Lp pressings.

Even though these recordings represent various stages of Szigeti’s technical decline (his bow arm was never the steadiest), it is such idiomatic and absorbing music making that I would forgive even more. And his control of nuance, color and portamento is breathtaking. The sound he gets in the rapid pizzicati (evoking the rattling of bones?) at the end of the 1st movement of the first Sonata is unique, haunting effect.

I remember (from a spoken introduction to the work for radio broadcast) hearing him compare his long association with the 1st Prokofiev Concerto (arguably, no one has ever surpassed his recording with Beecham) to raising a child……the composer gives birth, but eventually casts off the offspring in a sense, but the performer “raises” the child. Certainly he takes the sense of ownership seriously! The 2nd Sonata is interesting also, for the liberties he takes with what is a transcribed violin part (from the flute original). In the last movement he plays chords formed from several broken chords in the part, and uses an interesting “ricochet” bowing for the alternating half steps on the first page of that movement as well.

Prokofiev: Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, op. 80
Recorded March 4, 8 & 9, 1949
New York, Columbia 30th Street Studio
Columbia MM-875, ML-4257
with Joseph Levine, piano

Prokofiev: Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, op. 94b
Recorded December 7 & 8, 1945
Burbank, Warner Bros. Stage 3
Columbia MM-620, ML-4251
with Leonid Hambro, piano

Prokofiev: Sonata for Violin Solo, op. 115
Recorded April 1, 1954
New York, Columbia 30th Street Studio
Columbia ML-5178

Prokofiev: Five melodies, op. 35
Recorded April 1, 1954
New York, Columbia 30th Street Studio
Columbia ML-5178
with Carlo Bussotti, piano

 

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One Response to Joseph Szigeti. Prokofiev Sonatas, Five Melodies (Columbia)

  1. Jerry says:

    Thank you very much for these transfers. I am a big fan of Szigeti’s playing and welcome every opportunity to hear recordings I’m not familiar with. I hope you can continue to share your transfers in some form or fashion and would like to be part of that.
    All the best,
    Jerry

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