Joseph Szigeti, Mieczyslaw Horszowski. Three Beethoven Sonatas (Columbia)

Joseph Szigeti and Mieczyslaw Horszowski made a number of recordings together beginning in the 1940s, including a Mozart cycle available from Vanguard, the three Brahms Sonatas (No. 2 and the Horn Trio in late recordings for Mercury), the Busoni 2nd Sonata, and five Beethoven Sonatas for Columbia Masterworks. Of the Beethoven recordings, sadly not a complete cycle, only the 5th and 6th have seen official Cd releases from Sony, and that series seems to be out of print. Biddulph has now issued the 10th Sonata, but I have presented the three works not officially reissued. Szigeti’s 1944 Beethoven cycle from the Library of Congress has been much more easily obtainable than these recordings, but I feel the partnership with Horszowski is the more satisfying one, and I feel Szigeti is at his expressive best in these performances (and then again, the Szigeti /Schnabel Frick Museum recital with Nos. 5 & 10 represent something more special than a quick acknowledgement can give due). For me, the firmly etched and energized musical line coupled with Szigeti’s plaintive lyricism is something to treasure. Has any violinist had such a vocal sense of portamento? The many slides, particularly the now unfashionable downward half and whole step ones, are never mawkish, and are always applied with an artist’s sense of what is musically most effective. In this respect, for me, Szigeti had no predecessors, peers, and has had no successors!

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D major, op. 12, no. 1
Columbia MX-312, ML-4133
Recorded May 20, 1946
New York, Liederkranz Hall

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, op. 30, no. 2
Columbia 72948/51-D, ML-2097
Recorded March 7, 1949
New York, Columbia 30th Street Studio

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, op. 96
Columbia ML-4642
Recorded January 29, 1952 (or April 18, 1951?)
New York, Columbia 30th Street Studio

Joseph Szigeti, violin
Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano

Note: Sources are not ideal, I’m sorry to say. The 1st and 10th Sonatas are from 1950s Lp copies, and the 1st is a bit blasty. The only source I had for the 7th Sonata was a cassette dubbing I made over 20 years ago. If I do manage to find better sources, I will update, of course! Also, I have not included the Schubert couplings to these Lps since they were included in that series of 5 Sony Cd reissues.

This entry was posted in Horszowski, Piano, Szigeti, Violin. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Joseph Szigeti, Mieczyslaw Horszowski. Three Beethoven Sonatas (Columbia)

  1. JC says:

    Sorry it took me so long.I now uploaded Szigeti/Horszowski BEETHOVEN Sonata op.12/2from my 78rpm records. It is available at; you for your many wonderful and rare record uploads!!

  2. Neal says:

    Thank you very much! Looking forward to hearing this!

  3. Doug Tabony says:

    We can console ourselves that Kreisler (my favorite violinist) recorded all 10 plus #8 a 2nd time with Rachmaninov and the sound quality is fine. Thanks for another fine violinist’s versions for comparisons.

  4. fattoxxon says:

    Just listening to these Szigeti recordings beside the Busch-Serkin ones – and (alarmingly for me!) coming down firmly on the side of Szigeti! I am pleased to have this chance to (re-)appraise his work especially in Beethoven, and will now keep an eye out for more! Thanks

  5. fattoxxon says:

    I’ve just listened to JC’s 78rpm transfer of no.1, and wanted to add a thank you to him. The sound comes up much brighter – if with more crackle – from the 78s; I’m happy with the fizz of the record, if that means the music fizzes too!

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