4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The disc conveniently collates the contents of various LPs and CDs of Perlman, made over the years, with original compositions of or arrangements by Kreisler, recorded between 1972 and 1985. The same program was first reissued in 1995 as part of the 20-CD set "Itzhak Perlman Collection", and it is good to have it individually. Not that it collects ALL the Kreisler recorded for EMI by Perlman, far from it: there would have been enough to fill at least one and a half more CDs - and there would have been a few duplications, too, Liebesfreud, Liebesleid and Schön Rosmarin among them. In fact, other than the duplications, Perlman's Kreisler HAS filled at least one and a half more CDs: see hereafter about that story. The glaring absurdity of the present collection though is to have included Liebesleid, but not its obvious companion Liebesfreud. Other than that, it is great.
Anyway, for those interested by these discographic trivia, here are the sources - oh, and it's not just trivia: it avoids duplication. I'll go not by order of the track listing, but by chronological order of the original LPs and CD.
Schumann/Kreisler's Romance [track 21], recorded in September 1972, comes from Encores, first released in 1974 and reissued complete on CD. This same LP had two more Kreisler works not collected here, Prelude & Allegro in the style of Pugnani and Variations on a theme by Corelli in the style of Tartini. Both have been gathered on an attractive twofer, Ithzak Perlman: Encores, which, as will be clear hereafter, offers a fine complement to this Kreisler CD, as it is - OK, my suspense didn't last very long - the CD and a half that collects about all the REST of Perlman's Kreisler recordings, though it is not advertized as such. Obviously EMI has taken great care NOT to duplicate the Kreisler material already published here. Hey, doesn't this sound like "consideration for the customer"? An attitude rare enough from the big labels to be noted and lauded. But the track listing on Amazon's entry has a few misleading mistakes, which left me puzzled for a while, before I checked on other websites, in particular Arkivmusic's (complete and accurate track listing, but unreliable recording dates).
Kreisler's Andantino in the style of Martini [track 14], Liebesleid , Recitativo and Scherzo Capriccio op 6  and Tambourin Chinois  and his arrangements of Albeniz' Tango  and Dovrak's Slavonic Dance No. 3  are from an LP published in 1976 (recordings from August '75, with Tambourin Chinois from September `72, same session as the Kreisler/Schumann above) and titled "Itzhak Perlman plays Fritz Kreisler", Angel S-37171 (I've uploaded the LP's photo). The LP also had Allegretto in the style of Boccherini, La Gitana, Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane in the style of Couperin, Caprice viennois, Schön Rosmarin, Liebesfreud, Rondino on a theme by Beethoven, and Kreisler's arrangement of Falla's Spanish Dance from La Vida Breve. Note that the version of Caprice viennois and Schön Rosmarin collated on the Kreisler CD [tracks 1 and 16] are not those from this album, but later remakes from December 1985 (see hereafter). All the tracks left out of the Kreisler compilation except Schön Rosmarin, Caprice viennois and Liebesfreud are now reissued on the Encore twofer, with no duplication with the present Kreisler collection (it is Perlman's later version of Liebesleid that is on the twofer). Absurd really that the Kreisler collection has Liebesleid but not its obvious companion Liebesfreud. And how, in the twofer's entry, Chant Louis XIII and Pavane in the style of Couperin became in the style of Dittersdorf (what did Dittersdorf had to do with Louis XIII?? The King of France had been dead for nearly a century when Dittersdorf was born!) offers an interesting enigma.
Kreisler's arrangement of Granados' Spanish Dance [rec. April 1978, track 6] is from an LP of Spanish Violin Music (published in 1980) which also had Falla/Kochanski's Suite populaire espagnole, Heifetz' transcription of Ernesto Halffter's Danza de la Gitana, and Sarasate's Playera op 23-1, Spanish Dance op 26-8, Malaguelia op. 21-1, Caprice Basque op 24 (all reissued with more on Itzhak Perlman - Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy ~ Zigeunerweisen and again on Virtuoso Violin). Falla's Suite is also on the Encore Twofer.
Siciliano and Rigaudon in the style of Francoeur , Toy Soldiers' March , Syncopation , and Kreisler's arrangements of Chaminade's Serenade espagnole , Lehar's Serenade from his opera Frasquita  and Grainger's Molly on the Shore [13, a marvelous piece], recorded in May 1978, came from "Itzhak Perlman plays Fritz Kreisler Album 3" (Angel SZ-37630, see upload), released at the end of 1980. On the LP were also Aubade provencale in the style of Couperin, La précieuse in the style of Couperin, Menuet in the style of Porpora, Scherzo in the style of Dittersdorf, and Kreisler's arrangements of Paderewski's Melody op. 16-2, Tchaikovsky's Andante Cantabile op. 11 and Chanson sans paroles op. 2-3, Dvorak's Slavonic Dance No. 1, Paganini's Caprice No. 20. All are on that same twofer of Encores linked above. Too bad EMI lost the opportunity of doing on CD what that LP had begun: releasing on a single disc all those Kreislers "in the style of" that Perlman recorded: Allegretto-Boccherini, La Chasse-Cartier, Sarabande and Allegretto-Corelli, Aubade provençale-Couperin, Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane-Couperin, Précieuse-Couperin, Scherzo-Dittersdorf (ah! here's where Dittersdorf came from), Sicilienne and Rigaudon-Francoeur, Andantino-Martini, Preghiera-Martini, Rondo from Mozart's Haeffner Serenade, Menuet-Porpora, Prelude and Allegro-Pugani, Menuetto-Pugnani, Variations on a Theme by Corelli in the style of Tartini. The "Encore" twofer comes close, with 12 out of 15 (the three others being on the Kreisler CD). Still on the chapter of the mislabellings on the twofer's entry: it is NOT the Tempo di Menuetto in the style of Pugnani that comes on CD 1 track 13, but the Menuet in the style of Porpora. It took me a while to realize this, wondering why the Porpora Menuet seemed to have been reisued nowhwere that could be localised on Amazon.
Last source and already the CD era: My Favorite Kreisler from 1987 with Caprice Viennois  and Schön Rosmarin  (prefered to the 1975 recording), Tempo di Menuetto in the style of Pugnani , and Kreisler's arrangements of Dvorak's Songs my Mother Taught me op. 55-4 , Slavonic Dance No. 2 , Gluck's Mélodie  and Chopin's Mazurka op. 67-4 , recorded in December 1985. The same CD had Kreisler's Romance op 4, La chasse in the Style of Martini, Preghiera in the style of Martini, Liebesleid and Liebesfreud (but it's the 1975 version of Liebesleid that is on this Kreisler CD), and his arrangements of Tartini's Fugue in A, Paganini's Moto Perpetuo op. 11, Rachmaninoff's Daisies Rachmaninoff, Gaertner's Viennese Melody. All those are on the Encore Twofer (but "Encores" seems to botch the recording dates, giving them as May 1978 - which would make them part of the Kreisler-3 LP, and they never were - rather than December 1985 as those collated here; see my review of the twofer for the details on that).
All this boils down to the conclusion that, if you have this Kreisler disc, adding the Encore twofer will give you about all of Perlman's Kreisler, with very little duplication (Liebesleid - and not the same version) and little loss (the 1975 Caprice Viennois, Schön Rosmarin and Liebesfreud). The rest of the contents of the twofer comes essentially from Perlman's missing Kreisler link, "Itzhak Perlman plays Fritz Kreisler Album 2", Angel S-37254 (see upload), a 1977 album, all of which is on "Encores" (something you won't know reading the track listing, because somehow Kreisler/Brahms' Hungarian Dance in F minor became a second version Kreisler/Tchaikovsky's Andante cantabile, and Kreisler/Mendelssohn's Song without words op.62-1 "May Breezes" another take on Kreisler/Tchaikovsky's... Song without words op. 2-3). Add to these again the original Encore CD from 1972/4 and the Spanish CD (see links above), and you'll collect the near-complete contents of all the original LPs and CD, with no additional loss, and limited duplication (Falla's Suite populaire espagnole). Got it? If not, read again.
Now that these not so essential matters are sorted out, time to get to the essentials: Perlman plays with his customary combination of dazzling, Heifetz-like virtuosity and unique charm and sweet tone. There is always an underlying smile in his playing, and a supreme elegance, by which he never over-milks the kitsch and/or sentimentality of all these Kreisler bonbons. At times, this can come with a certain placidity, as in Kreisler's arrangement of Chaminade' Serenade espagnole, which Christian Ferras in 1968 with Jean-Claude Ambrosini tossed off with more swagger and purer whistling harmonics (Romantic Violin Music). But if you are ready for 67 minutes of candy, you've got just about the best here. Be sure to brush your teeth after. Mind you, the disc's TT is 71 minutes. But Recitativo & Scherzo Capriccioso op. 4 [track 18] is the one piece that stands out. First, it is written for solo violin. Second, it is no bonbon, but as serious - grim even in Recitativo - as anything written by Ysaye or Nielsen. A great piece and a real find, that deserves to be more often played and recorded as a complement to the Ysaye sonatas. Too bad Kreisler didn't write more of those. Because of the various recording dates the sonic perspectives vary from track to track, but the violin is always present and vivid.