Violinist Ida Haendel's return to Chelm, Poland

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Violinist Ida Haendel's return to Chelm, Poland

Post by Lance » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:00 am

~ Mini-Review ~

Ida Haendel, violinist
The Historic Return to Chelm (Poland)
JS Bach, Tartini, Wieniawski, Sarasate, Tchaikovsky, Bruch
VAI Audio, VAIA 1264, DDD-stereo, 72:03


The recordings of violinist IDA HAENDEL are far too few for someone who has had such a glorious career as hers and for one that lasted as long hers has and continues yet. Born on December 15, 1923, Haendel performed this live concert at the Chelm Culture Center in Chelm, Poland on May 20th, 2006 at the age of eighty-two (82!), the place of her birth.

One can only imagine the nerves of coming back "home" to present a full-fledged concert, especially at this age. The warm welcoming applause as she comes to center stage only gives us an indication of how the Polish people felt about welcoming their artist back.

Ms. Haendel commences with the famous Chaconne from Bach's Partita No. 2 in D Minor (BWV 1004). It was a heartfelt performance, and, if in the beginning, she doesn't quite hit center pitch on a few notes, she brings the piece to a rousing conclusion. Tartini's "Devil's Trill" sonata, in the orchestra arrangement is performed with all the panache and enthusiasm of a much younger violinist. Haendel uses her own cadenza in the third movement. The accompaniment for piano works better, actually, but the violinist's tone rises full and rich above the entire orchestra only with slight hesitation in a few places. For any artist to play one of the most formidable violin pieces in the literature is a great accomplishment. For someone aged 82, it is a remarkable virtuosic feat.

The recital continues with the Légend in G Minor, Op. 17 of Henryk Wienieawski, followed by Pablo de Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20, the latter of which one immediately thinks of Ruggiero Ricci in this demanding repertoire, for he, among all the great violinists did much for Sarasate. Haendel needn't take a backseat to him or anyone else.

The comes Wieniawski's Polonaise de concert in D Major, Op. 4, the Danse Russe from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, for solo violin in an arrangement by Ms. Haendel, indicating yet another side of her musicality.

The Bruch Kol Nidre comes to full bloom as it is one of the staple items of the violin literature, offering all the sentimentality of great Jewish spirit and hope. Bruch, who was not Jewish, had a gift of creating music that is immediately inspiring.

Ida Haendel concludes her recital with the third movement (Andante) of Bach's Sonata NO. 2 in A Minor, (BWV 1003).

Where accompaniments are included, they are adequately performed by Capella Cracoviensis under Stanislaw Galonski's baton. What gains more than anything else one hears in this recording is masterful musicianship, something that, itself, takes years to acquire, and which Ms. Haendel still possesses in abundance.

Ida Haendel was/is among the sharpest-looking and best-dressed violinists I have had the pleasure of seeing, always looking like she just stepped out of a beauty salon. Her photo on the cover of this disc illustrates a still wonderfully attractive woman with beautifully coiffed hair, and an elegant, richly-coloured hot-pink gown. She is someone I would have loved to known.

I am delighted to have this lovely live momento of one of the twentieth century's finest violinists and wholeheartedly recommend it. It is a wonderful companion disc to VAIA 1219, a recital with Haendel and the superb young pianist, Valentina Lisitsa, for whom it was my privilege to prepare her piano for concerts on at least two occasions. This is a thrilling collaboration.
Lance G. Hill

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


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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:58 am

Great review, Lance.
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form


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