Zimbalist - two concertos from one of the all-time greats
Very, very rarely recorded - superb Obert-Thorn broadcast transfers
FLAC downloads include full score of Brahms' Violin Concerto
Although the most memorable performance of the Sibelius Concerto I have experienced was by a young Perlman in 1969, my favorite recordings have been (in no particular order) Heifetz/Hendl, Wicks/Ehrling […] and a 1944 Zimbalist live performance that is not generally available […]
Although Heifetz’s Andante is ridiculously fast, his Allegro finale is dynamite, and Zimbalist’s is even more thrilling. I was playing the finale from several recordings; when Zimbalist came on, my wife burst into the room, exclaiming “Wow! Who’s that?”
James H. North, Fanfare, September-October, 2008
(in a review of the Hahn/Salonen recording of the Sibelius)
Notes on the recordings:
For all his importance in the musical world as a violinist, composer and head of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, it is remarkable that Efrem Zimbalist left only a single commercial recording of any violin concerto – an acoustic Bach Double with Kreisler, backed by a string quartet. We are particularly fortunate, then, that these two broadcast recordings exist. While the Brahms has been issued before on LP and CD, the Sibelius appears here for the first time in a commercial release.
The source for the Brahms was a CD-R copied from a tape transfer of the original broadcast acetates. Although there are some intermittent problems, the basic sound quality is notably above average for broadcast transcriptions of that era. There is a wealth of audible detail, including Koussevitzky’s spoken “Bravo” at the end of Zimbalist’s sublime performance of the second movement.
UPDATED 10 FEBRUARY 2012:
Most of the Sibelius was taken from an open-reel tape containing rough, unjoined transfers of eight 78 rpm acetate sides. Due to a defect in this source, however, the first side (up to 4:07 on Track 5) came from a CD-R copy of a tape transfer of another set of acetates. I have tried to match the sound on the two sources the best I could, and have also attempted to correct the severe pitch fluctuations which plagued both sets of originals.
N.B. Our downloads and CD masters were updated 10 February 2012 to include Mark's revised first movement of the Sibelius. If you have already purchased this recording as a FLAC download you can get the revised movement by clicking here - FLAC. If you purchased the MP3 version of this recording prior to 10 February 2012 please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a replacement MP3. If you purchased the CD version of this recording prior to 10 February 2012 please contact email@example.com for a replacement CD.
notes from Wikipedia
Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. (21 April [O.S. 9 April] 1889 or 1890 – February 22, 1985) was one of the world's most prominent concert violinists, as well as a composer, teacher,conductor and a long-time director of the Curtis Institute of Music.
Zimbalist was born in the southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don (Rostov-na-Donu), the son of Jewish parents Maria (née Litvinoff) and Aron Zimbalist, who was a conductor. By the age of nine, Efrem Zimbalist was first violin in his father’s orchestra. At age 12 he entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and studied under Leopold Auer. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1907 after winning a gold medal and the Rubinstein Prize, and by age 21 was considered one of the world's greatest violinists.
After graduation he debuted in Berlin (playing the Brahms concerto) and London in 1907 and in the U.S. in 1911, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He then settled in theU.S. He did much to popularize the performance of early music. In 1917, he was elected as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national fraternity for men in music, by the fraternity's Alpha Chapter at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. In 1928, Zimbalist began teaching at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He was director of the school from 1941 to 1968. His pupils included such distinguished musicians as Aaron Rosand, Harold Wippler, Oscar Shumsky, Felix Slatkin, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and Hidetaro Suzuki.
He retired as a violinist in 1949, but returned in 1952 to give the first performance of the Violin Concerto by Gian Carlo Menotti, which is dedicated to him. He retired again in 1955. He served as a juror of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962 and 1966.
His own compositions include a violin concerto, the American Rhapsody, a tone poem called Daphnis and Chloe, a Fantasy on themes from The Golden Cockerel by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and a piece called Sarasateana, for violin and piano. He also wrote an opera Landara, which premiered in Philadelphia in 1956.
He married the famous American soprano Alma Gluck and they toured together for a time. Alma Gluck died in 1938. In 1943, having been a widower for 5 years, he married the school's founder, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, daughter of publisher, Cyrus Curtis, and 14 years his senior.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efrem_Zimbalist