MAINDARDI, HAENDEL Dvořák: Cello and Violin Concertos (1955/47) - PASC308

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MAINDARDI, HAENDEL Dvořák: Cello and Violin Concertos (1955/47) - PASC308

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DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto

Recorded in 1955 and 1947
Total duration: 69:00

Enrico Mainardi, cello
Ida Haendel,
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Fritz Lehmann,
National Symphony Orchestra

Karl Rankl,

This set contains the following albums:

Superb 32-bit XR remasters of the Dvořák string concertos

Mainardi and Haendel on top form for these excellent studio recordings

  • I had two LP copies of the Mainardi to work from - the original DGG issue and the mid-60s Heliodor fake-stereo reissue. In terms of surface quality and fidelity the later pressing was infinitely preferable to the original, in near mint condition and with superb sound quality. I was able to strip out the Heliodor stereo processing and remove any phasing artefacts prior to 32-bit XR remastering, which proved highly successful in bringing further treble clarity to the recording.

    From the LP the recording was pitched at A=451Hz. However, analysis of mains electrical hum suggested a true tuning of A=450Hz and this has been used for the final remastered version. Likewise the Decca Haendel 78s transferred at around A=451Hz but electrical hum indicated a performance pitch of A=445Hz, which is what is heard here.

    Decca's ffrr 78s date from the final months of direct-to-disc recording, prior to tape, and here indicate just how successful this method had become by 1947. The sound is clear, the frequency range well-extended, and with XR remastering little hint remains of the shellac origins of the concerto, which stands up very well in comparison to the cello recording.

    Andrew Rose

  • DVORAK Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104
    Recorded 24 January 1955
    Jesus Christus-Kirche, Berlin
    First issued as DGG 18236
    Transfer from Heliodor LP 89 520

    Enrico Mainardi cello
    Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 
    Fritz Lehmann conductor

  • DVORAK Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
    Recording producer: Victor Olaf
    Recording Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
    Recorded 30-31 July 1947
    Kingsway Hall, London
    First issued September 1948
    Transfer from Decca 78s AK.1744-47
    Matrix Nos: AR.11472-79
    Takes 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2

    Ida Haendel 
    The National Symphony Orchestra 
    Karl Rankl conductor

    XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, September 2011
    Cover artwork based on photographs of Enrico Mainardi and Ida Haendel
    Pristine Audio is grateful to Al Schlachtmeyer for the generous donation of the Haendel discs
    Total duration: 69:00

    MusicWeb International Review

    Her playing of the finale’s folk incidents, and associated crisp chording, is a pleasure to hear

    These two concerto performances make contrasting claims on the listener. Ida Haendel’s 1947 recording of the Violin Concerto was made in Kingsway Hall, accompanied by the pick-up National Symphony Orchestra under Karl Rankl. This was composed of first-rate musicians, but they didn’t always form a first rate orchestra. There are moments of rhythmic uncertainty, and a slight feeling of under-engagement from time to time which, whilst hardly an impediment to the soloist, means that the recording as a whole is slightly less impressive than it might have been. Haendel’s tone is quite fervent, but it’s well controlled, and never seems out of scale - albeit her vibrato has a tendency to seem a touch fast on occasion. Her phrasing is eloquent, maybe a touch unidiomatic at a few paragraphal points, but her playing of the finale’s folk incidents, and associated crisp chording, is a pleasure to hear. Dutton issued this recording well over a decade ago, as part of an all-Haendel disc - the Tchaikovsky with Basil Cameron was the other main work. The transfers represent the divergent aesthetics of these two labels - a somewhat dampened treble from Dutton, a more expansive top to bottom range from Pristine.
    I know two of Mainardi’s other performances of the Concerto. I’ve reviewed the live one with Jochum on Tahra 638-39; then there’s the wartime inscription with van Kempen and the Staatskapelle Berlin, on 78s. On neither of these occasions has he ever much impressed. He always started with a sluggish, wan, almost sullen first entry, and things progressed from there. It may chart some kind of emotive development for him, but it rather flies in the face of the composer’s express markings He never had an especially beautiful tone but he was always a tactful player, even if he is raspily-toned here in places and his downward scale is ponderous. In fact Lehmann and the orchestra prove to be luxury casting - outstanding winds, commanding bass line - and rather upstage the dogged soloist. It’s telling that one listens to little rhythmic emphases from Lehmann and to the contributions from the orchestra’s principals with as much interest as one does to the soloist. I do admire Mainardi - just not in this work.
    Coupling historical performances like this makes some sense, but to saddle a good performance of the Violin Concerto with a rather (soloistically) nondescript one of the companion work will cause problems for potential purchasers.
    Jonathan Woolf