János Starker is one of the 20th century's greatest cellists. Hungarian born, Starker was a child prodigy touring Europe and the United States by the time he was 12 years old. Starker is a perfectionist and his tireless practice sessions are legendary. The man is a genius with his instrument. His technique is brilliant and his playing passionate.

These sessions were recorded in New York in the 1950's for the small label, Period. With no producer on hand, the musicians and engineers collaborated on the sound and mic placement. Starker himself helped in the editing process taking a razor blade to the session tapes. I guess that shows what can be done when you take the marketing people out of the creative process. As LP's these recordings were among those most prized by collectors. Sadly, they have been out of print for over 35 years. This is the first time they are available on CD.

This set is marvelous for its diversity, ranging from Boccherini and Mozart to Bartok and Kodaly is amazing.

I have to say that I usually dislike Bartok, but in Starker's hands Bartok becomes fascinating. If a musician can do that with Bartok, imagine how well the Mozart sounds!
thx edo
- bill 6-07-2009 6:36 pm

Another remarkable cellist was Janos Starker (born July 5, 1924) who was principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner, and concertized throughout the world. He was recognized as one of the truly great cellists and although he retired from giving concerts a few years ago, he continues to teach and give master classes. Here is a 2-CD set, Volume I of a projected series, offering some of Starker's "legendary" Period LPs (he recorded 15 records for the label). Hearing them it is easy to understand why their release catapulted the young cellist to international recognition. Some of the LP notes are included in the accompanying booklet, and we also find that Starker was personally very involved in the technical side of the recordings. Peter Bartók (son of Bela) was the engineer, and provides a very close-up sonic picture of the solo cello including fingerboard and bow noises as well as Starker's breathing. Surprisingly, no specific recording dates are provided, just "in New York in the early 1950's." This set is released on EMG Classics, a division of Essential Media Group, but I haven't been able to discover anything about this company or their distribution process—so it may be difficult to find this set.
this is called the being able to smell the resin on the bow effect. a terrific case for monaural recordings, some say best audiophile approach to classical music.

another review
- bill 6-07-2009 7:02 pm [add a comment]

his willful magic
- bill 6-07-2009 10:57 pm [add a comment]

add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:

Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.