André Gertler

Bartók: Violin Works (Complete)

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Much like Brahms kept close company with Joseph Joachim, one of the greatest violinists of his day, so too did Bartók keep ties with luminaries of his time, including Szigeti, Menuhin, and André Gertler. Although Gertler did not have the distinction of having any of Bartók's numerous works for violin dedicated to or written for him, he did have the honor of premiering several of Bartók's compositions in Europe. Gertler was also the first violinist to undertake the massive task of recording the complete violin works in the 1960s, from which the present four-disc collection has been restored. The sound quality throughout is generally quite good, a testament to the technicians who remastered the original sound recordings. Given their professional ties, it would stand to reason that Gertler would have a deep understanding of Bartók's music, and indeed his interpretations throughout capture every bit of the Hungarian flair. Where Gertler is slightly lacking, however, is with some of the technical brilliance and precision of Szigeti and Menuhin. There are some passages, particularly in the solo violin sonatas, where intonation is questionable, and Gertler's sound is generally quite thin. Still, the interpretive qualities of this collection far outweigh the technical shortcomings, and collectors will still welcome this rare, complete set.

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