Reviews

Vienna 1895 / America 1896 / 1900s / 1920s / 1930s / Australia 1937 / 1940s / Neville Cardus / Alexander Ruppa

1940s

Reviews from the 1940s.

New York Times, 2 May 1940

Concert given at Royal Opera House in Cairo by Palestine Orchestra under patronage of King Farouk for benefit of the Red Crescent Society of Egypt. Proceeds donated to war sufferers of the Turkish earthquake. Huberman played Mendelssohn. Fourth annual visit to Egypt. Ninety musicians. Ignaz Neumark conduct.

Jewish Orchestra in Moslem Benefit

Palestine Musicians Donate Services to Aid Egypt’s Red Crescent Society

Huberman is the Soloist

Balance of Ensemble Receives High Praise From Critics –

King Farouk is Sponsor

By Joseph M. Levy

Special Cable to The New York Times.

CAIRO, Egypt, Feb. 20 – One of the most significant events of the past three and a half years in the Near East was a concert given tonight at the Royal Opera House in Cairo by the Palestine Orchestra, under the patronage of King Farouk, for the benefit of the Red Cresent Society of Egypt, which corresponds to the European Red Cross. The proceeds were donated to war sufferers and to victims of the Turkish earthquake.

An enthusiastic reception was accorded to this orchestra, composed entirely of Jewish refugees from Central and Eastern Europe, by tonight’s distinguished audience, which included Egyptian royalty and almost the entire diplomatic corps.

This was more than a mere appreciation of the excellent performance of this first-class orchestra, however. It was indicative of a change of heart on the part of Egypt. Less than six months ago a concert under these circumstances would have been thought impossible, for Egypt today is the leading Moslem country of the world and played one of the most important roles in support of the Palestine Arabs in their nationalist rebellion.

Many factors contributed to the huge success of the evening’s concert. Bronislaw Huberman, eminent violinist and founder of the Palestine Orchestra, canceled a concert tour in Turkey to play with the orchestra tonight.

From a musical point of view tonight’s performance left nothing to be desired. From his recent concerts here Egyptian audiences already knew Mr. Huberman’s playing and were prepared for his splendid performance of Mendelssohn’s concerto in E minor.

The orchestra likewise won high praise. On this, their fourth annual visit to Egypt, they convinced even the severest critics that they had reached the full maturity of perfection. The ninety musicians are now an impressive unit that can take a place among first-rank orchestras.

Under the baton of Ignaz Neumark, celebrated Polish conductor, the orchestra gave two concerts in Alexandria and two in Cairo besides tonight’s performance.

From the orchestra’s very inception it was generally conceded that the string section was superb, but it was felt that the brasses and woodwinds were not equally strong. Each year has shown improvement, and tonight the balance of the orchestra was unimpeachable.

Both Mr. Huberman and the orchestra donated their services tonight.

 

The Cape Argus, 2 May 1940

The Huberman Recital

A Violinist with a sense of Nobility and Power

Cape Town audiences have listened to many distinguished musicians during the last ten years – most of the great contemporary violinists, save Kreisler, have been here during that period – and each one has contributed something of his own individuality to the stock of musical memories.

But few, if any, of these distinguished men have left behind them such a vivd sense of nobility and power as last night’s audience at the City Hall carried away at the conclusion of the Huberman recital. It was as if they themselves had taken part in a work of creation, so deep was the sense of fulfilment left by the music.

SOMEHING NEW

For Huberman is not only a superb interpreter of other men’s music; he is able to take that music and, by the completely non-distorting imposition of his own personality, to create something over it which is intensely individual to himself. Interpretation and creation become fused into something new and personal to himself.

Take his playing of the Cesar Franck sonata, for instance, which followed his broad and spacious performance of the Handel sonata in D major. The Cesar Franck is one of the loveliest things in all music, and few who heard Huberman last night will every forget the manner in which he played it.

To begin wih he played it in co-operation with the piano, rather than as a work for violin with piano accompaniment, and with such a brilliant and sensitive pianist as Boris Roubakine the effect was precisely, one imagines, as Franck wished it to be. There was, too, a sense of religious awe and wonder in the music which was built up, note by note, phrase by phrase, into a cathedral of intellectual sound.

DEEP UNDERSTANDING

Huberman’s profound and creative understanding of this deeply religious French composer was one of the most moving episodes in the whole evening.

After the interval came a performance of the Mendelssohn violin concerto in which all the Mendelssohn charm and delicacy were given their fullest value. This is one of the most popular of all the concertos and last night’s audience was grateful to hear it again, played in such a manner.

And here again Mr. Roubakine distinguished himself by his sensitive accompanying, providing at times almost the illusion of an orchestral accompaniment.

Finally came a group of three shorter compositions, beginning with the lovely, atmospheric and fiendishly difficult “La Fontaine d’Arethuse” of Szymanowski, the Polish composer. Full of a delicate modernity, the music calls for infinitely subtle graduations of feeling and phrase, the cumulative effect of which is one of mysterious beauty withdrawn from this world.

Huberman played it magnificently and followed it with his own transcription of the Chopin waltz in C sharp minor and a Brahms Hungarian dance, arranged by Joachim. The Chopin was full of charm and delicacy, while the Brahms had all the fire and colour associated with Hungarian music in general and with the Brahms presentation of it in particular.

THE ENCORES

The enthusiasm of the large audience demanded encores and in his choice of these Huberman showed the same unerring taste as he showed in the main programme itself. He played the slow movement of a Bach unaccompanied sonata, a Sarasate Spanish dance and the “Moment Musical” of Schubert.

Huberman is a great artist, a great character, and it is good to know that we shall have another opportunity of hearing him – on Monday evening next. He and Boris Roubakine gave us music last night which will be long remembered.

 

New York Times, 22 Dec 1941

Huberman Soloist at Carnegie Hall

Polish Violinist Plays Joachim Cadenza in the Beethoven Concerto at Concert

Bruno Walter Conducts

Leads Philharmonic Musicians in Brahms First – Event Aids Ambulance Corps

By Noel Strauss

Ninety musicians of the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, with Bruno Walter conducting and Bronislaw Huberman, eminent Polish violinist, as soloist, were heard in a notable concert given last night in Carnegie Hall under the sponsorship of the Austrian-American League and for the benefit of the British-American Ambulance Corps. The event attracted a large audience, which was aroused to fervent enthusiasm by the superlative performances the evening brought forth.

The event marked Mr. Huberman’s return to the local concert platform after an absence of five years. He was in superb form, giving an interpretation of the Beethoven violin concerto of exceptional merits. It was a reading reverent, loft in spirit and of remarkable finesse.

Slower Pacing Adopted

If the tempi adopted were more deliberate than those usually favored by artists who attempt the concerto, the somewhat slower pacing was purposely adopted in a reading which put unusual emphasis on the meaning of the content of each movement and avoided turning the work into a display piece.

The result was one of the most musicianly and impressive renditions of the opus imaginable. Especially remarkable were the soulful perusal of the larghetto and the opening pages of the final rondo, where a fascinating contrast was made between the lyricism of the chief theme and the brighter character of the first episode. But there was not a measure anywhere that was not sensitively treated and carefully fitted into its place in the scheme as a whole.

Tone Pure and Fine-Grained

Mr. Huberman’s tone was invariably pure and fine-grained, his left hand absolutely sure in the most complicated passage work, and his bow arm extremely steady and flexible. He used the inordinately difficult Joachim cadenza in the first movement, which he performed with ease and flawless accuracy, whether in its exacting chains of trils, its double-stopping, or the speedy scales which were most evenly negotiated.

Mr. Walter, who, like Mr. Huberman, donated his services for the concert, had chosen the Brahms First symphony as his chief offering. It was accorded a noble, intense presentation. Under the conductor’s masterly leadership the orchestra sounded unusually rich and supple tonally, and it performed with a technical perfection, blemished solely by a freaky spot in the otherwise excellent solo flute passage in the finale’s introduction, which like one blatant note from the horns later in the movement resulted from overblowing.

Some of Mr. Walter’s most memorable effects were made in the development of the first theme of the finale at its restatement and in the coda of that movement, which was electrical in its emotional surge. An equally majesterial unfoldment of Beethoven’s “Egmont” overture completed the offerings.

 

New York Times, 18 Jan 1942

Huberman in Solo Recital

Bronislaw Huberman, Polish violinist, who has devoted most of his time to the founding and directing of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra in the last few years, returned to Carnegie Hall yesterday afternoon to give his first solo recital there since the eventful night of Feb. 28, 1936, when his Stradivarius violin was stolen from his dressing room. The instrument was never recovered.

It was Mr. Huberman’s second appearance of the season, for last month he was the soloist with Bruno Walter and ninety members of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra in a benefit for the Austrian-American League.

The first part of his program was devoted to two concertos. Instead of utilizing them as display pieces with a pianist struggling valiantly with the orchestral part, he engaged members of the New Friends of Music to appear with him and presented them as chamber music works.

The first was Bach’s Violin Concerto in E major, the other was Mozart’s in D major. In each of them, following the eighteenth-century practice – a practice he has revived in appearances with the Palesine orchestra – he served as both the soloist and the conductor.

As was apparent at his first appearance this season, the hand and wrist injuries he suffered in a plane crash in 1937 have not affected his playing. It was as expert and sure as ever, and he played these works with devotion and understanding, always adjusting his part with that of the orchestra to give a balanced result.

After the intermission he introduced Medtner’s Sonata Epica, which had not been performed previously in this country. Boris Roubakine, pianist, served as his partner. The work lasted forty-three minutes – longer than both the concertos combined – and for all the excellence of the playing it did not sustain the interest. The final group consisted of Szymanowski’s “La Fontaine d’Arethuse,” and the violinist’s own transcriptions of a mazurka and a waltz by Chopin.

The audience applauded warmly, many standing and cheering. Mr. Huberman responded with two encores and took four bows before the applause died down.

R.P.

 

New York Times, 14 Jul 1942

Huberman Soloist in Violin Concerto

He Plays Mendelssohn Work at Lewisohn Stadium Before Audience of 7,000

Smallens is Conductor

Leads Philharmonic in Brahms Second and the ‘Rosamunde’ Overture of Schubert

By Howard Taubman

There was distinguished violin playing at Lewisohn Stadium last night when Bronislaw Huberman appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Smallens conducting. Mr. Huberman played the Mendelssohn concerto, not as if it were a scarred warhorse of countless campaigns, but as if it were fresh from the composer’s pen. The 7,000 at the Stadium rewarded the violinist’s profound musicianship with thunderous applause.

This was Mr. Huberman’s first visit to the Stadium as a performer. Possibly the acoustical problems of the amphitheatre were difficult for him, but he did not let them worry him. His performance was set up on proportions that would have been suitable for a more intimate auditorium and the public address system did the rest. Mr. Huberman’s tone is delicate and refined, without crudity or coarseness and amplification did not harm it. His style as a musician is inward and searching and here again the conditions of the evening did not violate his intentions.

Mr. Huberman’s pacing of the music had rightness and dignity. In his hands the Mendelssohn concerto was not a showpiece for a virtuoso, but music of sweet and gentle radiance. It was like hearing the concerto anew after many years of fast and furious interpretations. The slow movement was a model of heartfelt comprehension.

Mr. Smallens and the orchestra companioned Mr. Huberman with insight. The evening began with Schubert’s “Rosamunde” overture, followed by an expansive performance of Brahms’s Second symphony and a spirited reading of the Weber-Berlioz “Invitation to the Dance.”

As encores Mr. Huberman played Beethoven’s Romance in G, with the orchestra, and works by Brahms, Sarasate and Chopin with Boris Roubakine at the piano.

 

New York Times, 19 Oct 1942

Huberman Plays Before a Throng

Art of Violinist Evokes the Enthusiasm of Audience Packing Carnegie Hall

He Interprets Masters

Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata and the ‘Chaconne’ of Bach Are Features of Program

By Olin Downes

The audience which packed Carnegie Hall and overflowed upon the stage when Bronislav [sic] Huberman played last night in that auditorium welcomed the violinist with an enthusiasm that left no doubt of its regard and appreciation of his art.

There were the best of reasons for this. Mr. Huberman interpreted the Beethoven of the “Kreutzer” sonata and the Bach of the “Chaconne” as a great musician absorbed in his message and on fire with its meaning. It was not by means of merely sensuous beauty of tone, in which quality moments of his performances were meager, or through impeccable virtuosity as such, that he revealed his authority, his profound understanding, feeling and sense of style. He seized and impressed the listener by the classic proportion and beauty of his conceptions, and the vitality of his spirit in presenting familiar masterpieces, in a way not soon to be forgotten.

Perhaps this statement should be qualified, because these remarks are only concerned with Mr. Huberman’s playing of the Beethoven sonata, in which he was ably and warmly assisted by Boris Roubakine, pianist, and in the unaccompanied “Chaconne” and the unaccompanied air from the A minor sonata which he played as an encore before the intermission. What Mr. Huberman did with the Lalo “Symphonie Espagnole” or the later works announced on the program may not be narrated here. But in the noble music that he interpreted with such communicativeness and understanding his fervor and idealism took his listeners with him far from the world of exterior events and into the realm of true art, in such a way that their comprehension of the music was renewed and increased, and they, with him, conversed face to face with masters.

This was Mr. Huberman’s contribution to the occasion and to the troubled period in which he acts as an artist. The effect of this contribution was evident.

 

New York Times, 17 Jan 1943

Huberman Gives Recital

Bronislaw Huberman, Polish violinist, who at a recital last season engaged a small chamber orchestra and appeared with it as soloist-conductor in two concertos, last night at his second Carnegie Hall recital of the season extended the practice. He engaged virtually the entire New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra and appeared with it in three concertos.

This time, however, he engaged a conductor to assist him in the task, Gregor Fitelberg. But, even so, it was an enormous undertaking, for he chose the two biggest works written for violin and orchestra, the Beethoven Concerto and the Brahms Concerto. The other one, which opened the program, was the Bach Concerto in A minor.

An audience of 3,000 jammed the hall and greeted him like a well-known friend on his first appearance. The enthusiasm mounted throughout the evening, and at the end he received a four-minute ovation, which necessitated him returning to the stage seven times to acknowledge the applause.

The ovation was certainly not undeserved. It was an evening of exceptional musicianship. There were sometimes lapses in quality of tone, but the vigor, the intensity and the rare comprehension and grasp of the music swept everything before it. Each work got progressively better. Seldom has the stature of the great Brahms work been revealed in such magnitude and in this concerto the conductor played a large part in the joint achievement.

R.P.

 

New York Times, 11 Jul 1943

Huberman is Soloist at Stadium Concert

Tchaikovsky Work Is Heard by 10,000 – Smallens Directs

Bronislaw Huberman, Polish violinist, played the Tchaikovsky concert in D major before an audience of 10,000 persons last night at the Lewisohn Stadium, with the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Smallens conducting. It is probably safe to say that the Tchaikovsky concerto has never had a finer or greater performance in this city.

The opening movement, Allegro moderato, displayed a dazzling exhibition of pyrotechnics, with a virtuosity unexcelled in the world today. The ravishing tone resulting from consummate mastery of bowing, the perfection of phrasing and the left-hand technic made up a combination rarely heard. The second movement, Canzonetta, andante, was sung with a remarkable purity of design, and the Finale, Allegro vivacissimo, seemed even to surpass the first movement in technical prowess, with an added charm of extraordinary rhythm. The whole reading was richly and deeply felt.

In response to the enthusiasm of the audience, Mr. Huberman played three encores. The first was Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade Melancholique,” Opus 26, where again the bowing especially stood out; the second, Smetana’s “Aus der Heimat,” with piano, and the third, “Hungarian Dance,” by Brahms, also with piano.

Mr. Smallens opened the program with the Brahms “Academic Festival Overture,” which was excellently performed. The final number was the Second Symphony of Sibelius, in D major.

R.L.

 

New York Times, 17 Oct 1943

Huberman heard in Violin Recital

Polish Artist Receives Ovation for Bach Interpretation in Carnegie Hall Program

By Noel Straus

Bronislaw Huberman, the Polish violinist, gave a recital last night in Carnegie Hall which attracted an unusually enthusiastic audience of good size. Despite the unfavorable weather for strings, Mr. Huberman, who was in top form, produced a tone of marked beauty, power and sensitiveness in performances remarkable alike for technical mastery and depth of insight.

With Boris Roubakine at the keyboard, Mr. Huberman opened his extensive program with a most ingratiating unfoldment of the Handel sonata in D major. The initial movement of this work, designated as “Largo maestoso” on the printed list, was originally inscribed “Affettuoso” by the composer, and it was in this mood of tenderness that the violinist negotiated its impressive content. There was a nobility of utterance, a perfection of phrasing and a complete capturing of the Handelian style in this part of the sonata, which made it notable.

The ensuing allegro was brilliantly set forth, and the larghetto given with a wealth of poetic eloquence was an outstanding example of soulful cantilena. In the Grave and Fugue from the unaccompanied sonata in A minor of Bach, fascinating details, especially in the several episodes of the fugue, held the interest to such an extent that the excerpts brought on an ovation necessitating an encore. Mr. Huberman responded with the Andante from the same sonata, played in such magisterial manner that it proved one of the high lights of the recital. It was not only superb in treatment of melodic outline, but in its skill in management of the repeated tones in the lowest voice as well as in the ease with which all of the difficulties were surmounted.

The Gallic refinement of Franck’s sonata in A major was as surely captured as the contrasted style of the preceding classics. The first movement and the Recitativo-Fantasia called for special mention in this offering. Bother were imaginatively interpreted with profound understanding of their movements tonally and in regard to the poetry of the music. The second division of the opus, however, where the accompanist had his troubles, and the finale were less completely satisfying. But at all times, here, as elsewhere, Mr. Huberman’s subtlety of nuances and molding of phrase made every moment of his playing grip the attention.

The rest of the program was given over to Carl Goldmark’s once popular but now neglected Suite in E major, Op. 11; two pieces by Nin, and Mr. Huberman’s own transcriptions for unaccompanied violin of the Chopin mazurkas Op. 67, No. 2 in G minor; Op. 68, No. 1, in C major, and Op. 68, No. 2, in A minor, which because of the lateness of the hour could not be heard by this reviewer.

 

New York Times, 21 Jan 1944

Roszinski Offers Hindemith Music

Hubermann Heard in Brahms Concerto – Nies-Berger at Organ in Handel Piece

By Olin Downes

The program and the performances given by Dr. Rodzinski and the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra last night in Carnegie Hall were uncommonly interesting and provocative.

There was a novelty, a “Symphonic Metamorphosis” on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber, by Paul Hindemith, and it was one of the most entertaining scores that he has thus far given us, a real jeu d’espirt by a great master of his medium in a singularly happy mood.

There was a performance of the Brahms violin concerto with Bronislaw Huberman as soloist, and Mr. Huberman, with some stridency of tone and roughness of style, played in a great spirit, with a splendid grasp of the music’s essence and a virile spirit that inspired his audience.

The orchestra, if we except the effect of the Handel organ concerto, with Mr. Neis-berger as organist, a performance which, in the sense of instrumental balances and well-matched tone colors, did not come off so well (through no fault of the performers), was in excellent form. Witness the playing of the oboe solo of the slow movement of he concerto; the virtuoso brilliancy and glow of the performance of Hindemith’s music; the noble and mellow tone of the trombones in the music from Wagner’s “Meistersinger” which concluded the occasion!

Composer Is Present

As for what Mr. Hindemith, who was present, has done with the themes of von Weber, he must take the full responsibility. He has remarked that since these are by no means the best of Weber’s themes, he has felt the freer to treat them as he pleases! Nothing like frankness between friends, and the wonderful Carl Maria is safe in his grave! We confess that we have no knowledge of the themes used for “homage to Weber” in the peculiar manner of Hindemith.

But we must also confess to finding the music diverting and delightful. Its wit and its mastery alike intrigue us, and suggest a fresh if not a new departure by this composer.

Sometimes the Hindemith counterpoint has been as busy and energetic as the works of an automobile and as meaningless. Sometimes it has been thick and overstuffed in its style. This metamorphosis employs counterpoint as a matter only incidental to the gay development of the ideas, and there is sunshine in every nook and cranny of the transparent, debonair score.

It is music, one would say, that has gained by human contacts. It is without pompousness or dead weight. The Chinoiserie of the second movement, based upon oriental motives that Weber shaped for incidental music to Schiller’s “Turandot,” is patent and intentional absurdity, with waggish nonsense of percussion instruments, from summoning bells to thuds of drums and clucks of xylophones.

Diverting Fugue

For quite a while there is no fugue, but of course Hindemith ahs to come to a fugue before he has gone too far without one and the fugal business in this movement does not cease to be diverting. His andante is in singing style, with broad developments and proper contrast to the other movements. His final march has ah umor and gusto which does not come as an anticlimax after all the capital fooling and perspicacious music-making which has preceded. How delightfully is learning carried in these pages!

An inspiring concert. Vigorous music, full-bloodedly played. Some might prefer more polish, maybe more of Olympian balance and suavity in the playing of the noble, rugged music of Brahms. We would rather hear the dramatic fire of Mr. Huberman, feel the exaltation of his sentiment, hear him scratch in his excitement, or ask more than one stringed instrument can readily give in the course of some grand pronouncement. Here, too, was superb coordination of the orchestral and solo parts, when soloist and conductor completed each other’s ideas, united in the service of the composer. Mr. Rodzinski’s tempi in the “Mesitersinger” excerpts were brisk, but his reading was structural as well as vivid in color, and suggestive of Wagner’s theatre.

 

New York Times, 14 Mar 1944

Students Hear Huberman

Violinist Plays With Group From Philharmonic – Beckett Conducts

Bronislaw Huberman, violinist, was guest artist yesterday afternoon at the concert for high school students given by seventy members of the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, Wheeler Beckett conducting, at the Hutner College Auditorium. He played the Tchaikovsky D major concerto, Opus 35, and received an ovation from the young audience at the end of the first movement and again at the end of the whole work. The violinist played an encore, giving the first public performance of his transcription of a Chopin mazurka for the piano, G minor, without accompaniment.

The rest of the program, the fourth of the series, consisted of Handel’s “Water Music,” Beckett’s “Reverie” and Prokofieff’s “Classical” symphony in D major. The next concert will be given on Monday afternoon, April 17.

 

New York Times, 5 May 1944

Polish Music Festival

A Festival of Polish Music was presented at Carnegie Hall last night by the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America. The concert, which commemorated the Polish Constitution of May, 1791, featured eighty members of the New York Philharmonic – Symphony under the direction of Gregor Fittelberg. Bronislaw Huberman, violinist, and Witold Malcuzynski, pianist, were soloists.

The major works were Chopin’s F minor piano concerto, which was played by Mr. Malcuzynski, and the rarely heard Szymanowski violin concerto No. 1, Op. 35, which served as Mr. Huberman’s vehicle. The program also included the first New York performance of a suite for string orchestra by Felix R. Labunski, who was present to acknowledge the enthusiastic applause. Stojowski’s suite in E-flat major, Op. 9, and Szymanowski’s “Harnasie” ballet music, Op. 55, completed the list. Both the American and Polish national anthems were played before the concert.

The festival was arranged by a committee under the honorary chairmanship of High Gibson, first United States Ambassador to Poland. Mrs. Vernon Kellogg and Mrs. Sylwin Strakacz served as chairmen, and there was a lengthy list of patrons and patronesses, headed by the Polish Ambassador and Mrs. Jan Ciechanowski.

 

New York Times, 4 Jul 1944

Golschmann Leads Stadium Concert

Conducts Weber and Brahms Works – Huberman Is Soloist

Plays Beethoven Concerto

Vladimir Golschmann, French conductor, last night made his first appearance at the Lewisohn Stadium since 1937, and an audience estimated at 9,000 was on hand to greet him. Mr. Golschmann devoted the first half of the program to Weber’s “Oberon” Overture and Brahms’ First symphony, while the second half listed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Bronislaw Huberman as soloist.

Mr. Golschmann’s conducting is that of a skillful, intelligent musician, though last night’s program did not seem particularly well suited to his talents. He directs with vigor and style, and his beat is clear and energetic. The Brahms Symphony, however, demands a grander, more impassioned interpretation than Mr. Golschmann gave it, so that, despite the niceties of detail, the performance was not wholly convincing. The accelerando leading to the final coda, for example, seemed, under Mr. Golschmann’s direction, to be an impetuous hastening rather than a gathering of musical force for the final pages of the symphony.

The Beethoven Concerto did not find Mr. Huberman at his best. Though the broad lines of the work were as usual clearly projected, the violinist played with a tone which was often hard and unpleasant, and his intonation was not above reproach. Mr. Golschmann provided him with forceful though uneven accompaniment.

M. A. S.

 

New York Times, 31 Oct 1944

Huberman Presents An Arduous Program

Bronislaw Huberman, the veteran violinist, made his first local appearance of the season in recital at Carnegie Hall last night. Despite some uneven playing, the concert found Mr. Huberman in excellent form, tackling an arduous program with zest and vitality.

Beethoven’s C Minor Sonata Op. 30, No. 2, which opened the program, proved an engaging vehicle for Mr. Huberman’s talents. The Adagio section particularly received expert treatment, with the violinist’s playing distinguished by a fine legato and an unfailing knack for projecting the long lines of the music. This quality, as a matter of fact, characterized much of Mr. Huberman’s playing, as it was obvious that the violinist has a mature and knowing grasp of the over-all structure of the music and of its content. The opening Allegro and the Scherzo of the sonata were deftly handled, while the finale was given suitable brilliance.

The remainder of the first half of Mr. Huberman’s program was devoted to Bach’s lengthy and difficult Adagio and Fugue in C Major for violin alone, which did not prove Mr. Huberman’s best offering. It is a somewhat unrewarding work at best, and though Mr. Huberman read passages with considerable grandeur, the performance as a whole seemed unsatisfying. Brahms’ G Major Sonata, Op. 78, which followed the intermission, fared much better, as Mr. Huberman’s style is admirably suited to the romantic sweep of the work, particularly in the opening movement.

Three shorter works brought Mr. Huberman’s program to a close: Schubert’s “Rondeau Brilliant” in B Minor, Op. 70, “Marche Caracteristique,” of the same composer, and Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances.” The last two works were played in arrangements by the violinist. A large audience, which obviously included many ardent Huberman devotees, applauded the artist’s efforts, and was rewarded with numerous encores.

M. A. S.

 

New York Times, 3 dec 1945

New Friends Hear A Superb Concert

Saidenberg Symphony, With 3 Assisting Artists, Present an All-Bach program

By Noel Straus

The all-Bach concert presented late yesterday afternoon in Town Hall by the New Friends of Music was a red-letter event in the organization’s annals. Each of the three masterpieces put forth received a noteworthy performance, remarkable for rhythmic incisiveness, balance and blending of tone, technical perfection and interpretive insight. The program was given by the Saidenberg Little Symphony, under Daniel Saidenberg, with Bronislaw Huberman, violin; Ralph Kirkpatrick, harpsichord, and John Wummer, flute, as assisting artists.

First on the list came the splendid concerto for harpsichord, violin, flute and orchestra, in A minor, accorded an unfoldment deserving the utmost praise. This seldom-heard masterpiece consists of a magnificent elaboration of the independent Prelude and Fugue in A minor for clavier and the central adagio movement of the sonata for two manuals and pedal-board in D minor. It is one of the most ingenious, melodious and effective of Bach’s concertos, deserving far more frequent presentation.

Finely Adjusted Solos

All three movements represent Bach at the height of inspiration, and remain on an equal plane of excellence. The opening allegro and the final alla breve have a special character of their own, due to the constant employment in them of complicated and difficult rapid passagework for the harpsichord, which on this occasion was superbly handled by Mr. Kirkpatrick, who overcame all its exactions with ease and admirable precision. Mr. Huberman and Mr. Wummer, in their respective contributions in this work, kept their playing in admirable relation to the rest of the ensemble, and were especially to be lauded for their sensitive and finely adjusted solos in the adagio, a trio without orchestral support, in which the harpsichord again was deftly managed.

In this concerto the orchestra, directed by the keenly comprehending and richly gifted Mr. Saidenberg, played with distinction in the corner movements, which were projected with brilliance, clarity and decided “go” by all concerned.

Sixth Brandenburg Concerto

The performance of the Sixth Brandenburg concerto, which followed, was noteworthy not only for the polished and deeply impressive nature of its presentation, but also because it was given in the way Bach undoubtedly intended, as a string sextet with harpsichord continuo. The performance, which proved how much more elastic and subtle this music sounds when gambas are employed and there are no doublings of the instruments, was entrusted to William Lincer and Joseph vieland, violas; Janos Scholz and Otto van Kopenhagen, violas da gamba; Mr. Saidenberg, ’cello; Anselm Fortier, double bass, and Mr. Kirkpatrick, continuo.

The concert concluded with the violin concerto in E major, with Mr. Huberman as soloist. Mr. Huberman gave a masterly account of the music, which reached its climax in the soulful slow movement, the crown of the work, where his playing was memorable for its tonal warmth, soulfulness and intensity. Throughout the concerto the artist moved with his accustomed scholarliness and musicianship and received highly efficient and knowing orchestral support.

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