Kreisler plays Kreisler
Not to be confused with the Victor records of the mid- to late-1920s, in which the accompanist was Carl Lamson, these recordings mostly date from 1930 and 1938, and the accompanists are respectively Michael Raucheisen and Franz Rupp. Aside from the violin and piano pieces there are a few other miscellaneous items of special interest, such as the Scherzo alla Ditterdorf, recorded at Abbey Road in 1935 with the Kreisler String Quartet (including William Primrose, viola) and four miniatures for trio with Hugo Kreisler (Fritz's brother) as cellist and Raucheisen as pianist, recorded at Berlin in 1927.
The first LP features Kreisler's own compositions (including the 'in the style of' works); the second his arrangements. Perhaps it is fair to say that although such favourites as Caprice viennois and Liebesfreud are recorded here with startling fidelity, it is the versions of these with Lamson that are rather more spontaneous on the purely musical plane. But of the 33 items in this album, 16 of the titles were recorded during two days in February of 1938, and it is only natural that Kreisler, already in his early sixties, should sound fresher in some items than in others. From these sesseions it is for me his two Rimsky-Korsakov arrangements that stand out; in terms of the sheer poise and generosity with which he shapes the melodic lines these are irreproachable.
The nobility of Kreisler's style puts to shame many of his imitators. Seldom do the slides and rubatos detract from the music, the only exception perhaps being a Mendelssohn arrangement recorded in 1926. Raucheisen is a much more rhythmically acute pianist than Rupp, and artistically the 1930 recordings are more consistently impressive. I would pick out the Polchinelle Serenade as being especially successful.
Keith Hardwick has managed the transfers superbly. On the Berlin recordings of 1930 the piano is rather muffled and backward, and this is sad because soloist and accompanist are musically better integrated here. The Abbey Road recordings of 1938 allow one to hear the gloriously communicative tone with extreme clarity, though the stylishly written accompaniment in Liebesfreud is too obscure for one to hear the piece as it was intended. This album is a marvellous testament to a sincere and inspired artist, and the music itself cannot be dismissed as being inconsequential.'