Along with his friend Caruso, Fritz Kreisler (1875–1962) was one of the superstars of the early gramophone era. He was “the master musician among the violinists of the day” (New York Times); he died 50 years ago (29 January 1962). As a composer, he is famous for his Viennese-style melodies, such as Liebesfreud and Liebesleid, for his notorious pieces “in the style of” various 18th-century masters (which he passed off as their original works, claiming to have rediscovered them in old manuscripts), and for his arrangements of well-known works by other composers.
Deutsche Grammophon proudly presents 42 of its greatest ever recordings for violin, from its matchless catalogue of the finest violinists of the last 75 years. Fritz Kreisler began it all for the company by recording a series of his own compositions and arrangements. 31 violinists grace 111 The Violin, with recordings from the early 1900s to 2012.
Vadim Repin suggests in the booklet’s notes that he and Nikolai Lugansky chose a program for their first studio recording together that mimics a recital in this case, that would be a sonata recital. This sonata the introductory passage, Lento doloroso , of Edvard Grieg’s Second Sonata displays in the duo’s performance a haunting poignancy that their energetic reading of the movement proper hardly dispels.