Kolisch: In America (Beethoven Violin Sonatas "live") - Archiphon ARC-130/31 (2CD set)
MINT / made in the EU
This remarkable MINT condition 2CD set from Archiphon (ARC-130/31, manufactured in Germany, ADD mono, total playing times 68:02 and 73:48) preserves two legendary artists – violinist Rudolf Kolisch and pianist Gunnar Johansen – in performances of six Beethoven Violin Sonatas recorded 'live' at the Music Hall of the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1963 and 1966.
A pupil of Frederic Lamond, Egon Petri, and Victor Schioler, Johansen remains one of the great 'unknown' pianists of the 20th Century. Although he recorded prolifically for his own label, Artist Direct, his many discs – encompassing all of Bach, Busoni, most of Liszt, and much else besides – never enjoyed widespread distribution nor the acclaim they deserved.
Nor have they seen issue on CD. Kolish was an equally comprehensive musician, the string quartet that bears his name making the first – and in some ways, still unsurpassed – traversal of Schoenberg's Quartets on disc (also issued by Archiphon). Here, they are heard together to extraordinary effect.
Disc 1 features the Violin Sonatas No. 5 in F Major Op. 24 'Spring' (rec. 1 May 1966), No. 6 in A Major Op. 30 No. 1 (rec. December 1963), and No. 7 in C minor Op. 30 No. 2 (rec. December 1963).
Disc 2 includes the Violin Sonatas No. 8 in G Major Op. 30 No. 3 (rec. December 1963), No. 9 in F Major Op. 47 'Kreutzer' (rec. 16 January 1966), and No. 10 in G Major Op. 96 (rec. 1 May 1966).
These extremely rare performances constitute a major contribution to the recorded legacy of the violin and their importance cannot be overestimated. Archiphon has provided detailed and extensive documentation, the whole beautifully presented with handsome archival photos of the artists and reproductions of scores Kolish used. For anyone who cares deeply about the art of the violin, great violinists, Beethoven, and/or historic recordings, this amazing set will prove a fascinating and in some ways a quite moving find.