Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

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Lance
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Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by Lance » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:28 am

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... _QL65_.jpg
Photo of 2-CD set Volume 1: [482 5175]
Volume 2: 2-CD set [482 5171]
Volume 3: 2-CD set [482 5159]
Volume 4: 2-CD set [482 5151]
Volume 5: 2-CD set [482 5143]
Volume 6: 2-CD set [482 5135]

Generally the volume's catalogue numbers would be in a consecutive sequence on sets of this nature. Not in this case, as you can observe.

However, violin aficionados will certainly know the name of Alfredo Campoli [1906-1991]. Here's an artist born in the days of acoustic recordings, lived through the development of electrical recording, mono and stereo, and well into the digital era. He was also a prolific recording artist having made most of his recordings for British Decca. There were other labels that recorded the artist later in his life.

Here's the bulk of what you might like to know about the Italian-born British violinist, which all forms for an interesting biography, courtesy of Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfredo_Campoli

The man who writes the booklet notes for each volume, David Tunley, also wrote the biography of Campoli entitled: The Bel Canto Violin: The Life and Times of Alfredo Campoli published by Ashgate, Aldershot in 1999 and is now rather rare and apparently out-of-print (thus pricey).

However, this is the best compilation and most comprehensive offering to have been released on Campoli with replications of the original British-issued LP 10" and 12" LP jackets in colour all being made available through Decca's Australian branch. Eloquence has come forth with some truly wonderful recordings at very reasonable pricing.

Campoli's career had a tough start having gone through two wars and his need to play in restaurants, cafes, etc., popular tunes and music in order to just make a living. Afterwards, he returned to concert work where it became difficult to make the transition to the area of standard classical music. However, he was able to do it as evidenced by these discs.

Campoli's collaborative artists is impressive and includes Adrian Boult, Arthur Bliss, Piero Gamba, Ataulfo Argenta, Eduard van Beinum, Anatole Fistoulari, Josef Krips, Royalton Kisch as conductors. Pianists/harpsichordists include George malcolm, Eric Gritton, Daphne Ibbott, and others. Orchestra are generally top British orchestras.

Many of these recordings are being issued on CD for the first time, or are first international releases on the Decca label.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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mikealdren
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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by mikealdren » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:05 am

Hi Lance,
Most of the concertante works have been available on CD for a while but some have probably been pirated from LPs and, in all cases where I have compared, the new CDs sound as good or better. More than that, the Bruch/Saint Saens was the first LP I ever bought and it has not been available on CD before, treasure indeed.
Some of the early George Malcolm recordings are rather harsh but the later (especially stereo) recordings are everything you would expect of Decca. The showpieces with Eric Gritton are a real treat with Campoli playing superbly though some of the later recordings with Wada and Ibbott were a bit late in his career (but still worthy of attention).
Campoli has a superb singing style which I believe he claimed to have learned from his Soprano mother - he also had a characteristic, very dry, staccato.
The only disappointment is that his earlier 78 recordings are not included and there are none of his light music recordings.

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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by John F » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:40 am

Decca recorded him in everything, didn't they? But while he and his records seem to have been popular in England, here he was overshadowed by Heifetz, Milstein, and others. I never got a Campoli recording, never even considered it.
John Francis

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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by Lance » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:04 pm

Yes, Decca recorded him in just about everything, including salon music. ASV of England came out with a CD [5135] of some salon music transferred from the original shellacs. Outside of that, I don't think any of the lighter material was issued by Decca. Pearl, Dutton, Beaulah reissued material that is now among the six new Eloquence 2-CD sets.

And John F is correct. Heifetz/Milstein/Elman most certainly had an affect on Campoli's career outside of England. And there was Ricci, Stern, Perlman, Szigeti, Francescatti, Grumiaux, Menuhin, Martz, and so many others that "surrounded" Campoli for most of his active time frame.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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mikealdren
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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by mikealdren » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:43 am

Interesting view John and I agree to a certain extent. Nowadays for instance, there are so many fantastic violinists it's hard to justify yet another recording of the Beethoven/Brahms/Sibelius/Tchaikovsky etc.....

Campoli however did have a distinctive voice that made his best recordings special. For many, his Mendelssohn was simply the best available. For me, his way with shorter 'encore' pieces was on a par with Kreisler and Heifetz and there is no higher praise. His Kreisler selection is 2nd only to the composer's own. Possibly this was as a result of his time as a band leader in the 30s.

As Lance says, his Pearl and ASV disks of Salon music are superb, if you can find it, try 'Campoli's Choice' on Pearl.

As to his reputation in England, despite his Italian heritage, he was seen as (and undoubtedly was) our finest violinist and his background in popular music had made him a household name.

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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by Lance » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:00 pm

"Campoli's Choice" on Pearl [9744] contains unreleased material and 78-rpm transfers from Campoli's personal collection is worth having and enjoying. And, as Mike Aldren says, after having so many of the true masterworks by the greatest artists of the past, is it necessary to have newer recordings by today's artists. Sometimes, of course. Perhaps it is better for today's generation to acquire the artists of their own time to provide support to many of these already outstanding current-day artists. If you think about it though, who replaces people like Fournier, Heifetz, Milstein, Piatigorsky, Casals, Leonard Rose, Rostropovich, Starker ... and on and on. There are certainly outstanding ones. Insofar as pianists are concerned, one of the greats of today, Martha Argerich, Barenboim, and others are already winding down their performance careers, or doing more conducting, such as the case with Barenboim. The same with conductors: Beecham, Mitropoulos, Koussevitzky, Toscanini, Furtwangler, Szell, Bruno Walter, Reiner, Bernstein, Stokowski, Munch, Monteux, Martinon, and again, on and on ... but I ramble on.
mikealdren wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:43 am
Interesting view John and I agree to a certain extent. Nowadays for instance, there are so many fantastic violinists it's hard to justify yet another recording of the Beethoven/Brahms/Sibelius/Tchaikovsky etc.....

Campoli however did have a distinctive voice that made his best recordings special. For many, his Mendelssohn was simply the best available. For me, his way with shorter 'encore' pieces was on a par with Kreisler and Heifetz and there is no higher praise. His Kreisler selection is 2nd only to the composer's own. Possibly this was as a result of his time as a band leader in the 30s.

As Lance says, his Pearl and ASV disks of Salon music are superb, if you can find it, try 'Campoli's Choice' on Pearl.

As to his reputation in England, despite his Italian heritage, he was seen as (and undoubtedly was) our finest violinist and his background in popular music had made him a household name.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

mikealdren
Posts: 285
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by mikealdren » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:09 pm

Not really my area of expertise but there are some really fantastic younger pianists around.

There are a quite few other established (older?) artists who I rate very highly e.g. Uchida, Kovacevitch, Perahia, Pollini, Pires.

It's always interesting when you start with those who start as exceptional technicians and you ask, 'are they really great artists'?

For me:
Lang Lang, failed musically, doesn't understand many famous composers' styles and doesn't add anything with those he can identify with.
Pletnev, I like, a really interesting artist although a deeply flawed man
Kissin, still not sure, variable
Volodos, a great artist
Trifonov, As far as I have heard, also superb
Wang, Fascinating, maybe too early to tell?
Frith, again maybe too early to say

or those who start with a reputation as musicians and who generally last longer: Fliter, Lewis, Hough

For violinists, I have heard lots of them and we are in a golden age. Yes, I love Oistrakh, Heifetz, Grumiaux, Kreisler, Milstein etc but I have also heard, and have DVD recordings of, amazingly poor performances by so many renowned artists of the past. We have many fascinating musicians before use now, as a single example, I heard an amazing recital by Patricia Kopatchinskaja last week. One of the most fascinating musicians, wild card and also a fabulous violinist. A modern day Enescu? She plays a lot of his music.

barney
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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by barney » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:52 pm

I remember hearing Campoli more than once in New Zealand,when I was growing up. I had no discrimination then (age about 10 or whatever) but thought he was pretty good. I didn't know much about him, such as is contained on this thread (band leader etc). Once I did have (some) discrimination Grumiaux, Oistrakh, Heifetz and younger violinists such as Perlman became my inspiration.

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Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by Lance » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:25 pm

Mike, agree on your findings below for Lang Lang (doesn't get it), Pletnev (wonderful but odd somehow), Kissin (getting better all the time with maturity), Volodos - absolutely, as is Trifonov. The others you mention not sure about yet either, though excellent in many ways. Hough, and Hamelin still rank high in my mind and ears, the latter most of the time, though I was not impressed by Hamelin's approach to Schumann, as least on recordings. We have probably lived through an "extended golden age" with the demise of Horowitz, Rubinstein, Moiseiwitsch, Richter, Gilels, Serkin, Casadesus, Bolet, Wild, Arrau, and others of that ilk. And of course, there are numerous other great pianists in front of us today especially from the Russian school, Lugansky, Ax, Katsaris, Perahia, Fleisher (still going!), Ashkenazy ... too many to name in either deceased or present-day artists. But you get the idea.
mikealdren wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:09 pm
Not really my area of expertise but there are some really fantastic younger pianists around.

There are a quite few other established (older?) artists who I rate very highly e.g. Uchida, Kovacevitch, Perahia, Pollini, Pires.

It's always interesting when you start with those who start as exceptional technicians and you ask, 'are they really great artists'?

For me:
Lang Lang, failed musically, doesn't understand many famous composers' styles and doesn't add anything with those he can identify with.
Pletnev, I like, a really interesting artist although a deeply flawed man
Kissin, still not sure, variable
Volodos, a great artist
Trifonov, As far as I have heard, also superb
Wang, Fascinating, maybe too early to tell?
Frith, again maybe too early to say

or those who start with a reputation as musicians and who generally last longer: Fliter, Lewis, Hough

For violinists, I have heard lots of them and we are in a golden age. Yes, I love Oistrakh, Heifetz, Grumiaux, Kreisler, Milstein etc but I have also heard, and have DVD recordings of, amazingly poor performances by so many renowned artists of the past. We have many fascinating musicians before use now, as a single example, I heard an amazing recital by Patricia Kopatchinskaja last week. One of the most fascinating musicians, wild card and also a fabulous violinist. A modern day Enescu? She plays a lot of his music.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

John F
Posts: 19620
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Alfredo Campoli, violin on 12 Decca Eloquence CDs

Post by John F » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:37 am

I've heard an outstanding performance by Lang Lang - the Emperor Concerto with Yuri Temirkanov and the Baltimore Symphony about a decade ago. I have to attribute its excellence largely to Temirkanov's influence; he also drew a very fine Brahms 2 from Kissin, and generally worked wonders in Baltimore during his six years there. Temirkanov is surely one of the most important conductors alive, though at 79 and with health problems he may not be alive much longer. We don't hear him enough in the U.S. these days.
John Francis

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