Bronislaw Huberman

Short Pieces

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While two world wars, a plane crash, and a fatal illness before the rise of the long-playing record necessarily diminished the number of recordings made by Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, he did make enough recordings to guarentee himself immortality. His 1934 Beethoven concerto with Szell and the Vienna Philharmonic, his 1946 recording of Tchaikovsky's concerto with Ormandy and the Philadelphia, and his 1945 recording of Mozart's Fourth Concerto with Walter and the New York Philharmonic are all truly in a class of their own. Part of the reason for this is that Huberman's clean, sweet tone is unlike any other violinists and part of the reason is that Huberman's technique, while certainly virtuosic, is also curiously uneven. In longer works, Huberman would suddenly and surprisingly falter, slipping out of tune and dropping notes. No such problems, however, occur in this superlative collection of shorter pieces recorded in the late '20s and early '30s. In everything from solo works by Bach to transcriptions of Chopin, Schubert, and Brahms, Huberman's tone is sweet and full, while his intonation is practically impeccable and virtually flawless. Listen just to his 1931 recording of Schubert's Ave Maria. What in lesser hands could have been pathetic and bathetic is in Huberman's hands sublime and transcendent. Opus Kura's sound is like listening to the best preserved '78s: antique and a bit noisy, but undeniably real.

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