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Martzy/Mann: Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings

PLU: 28948432998
Format - 2CD
Genre - Classical
Release Date - 09/04/21

Not yet reviewed.

Complete on CD for the first time, the Deutsche Grammophon legacy of cult violinist Johanna Martzy, and of violist Michael Mann. Five original DG albums complete on two CDs.

The brilliant tone and discriminating taste of the recordings made by Johanna Martzy (1924-79) mark her out among the finest violinists of her generation. Her EMI albums, supervised by Walter Legge, were once highly prized rarities.

However, her recording career began with DG, who partnered her with two of their star conductors, Ferenc Fricsay and Eugen Jochum, in concertos by Dvorák (1953) and Mozart (No 4, from 1955). She had performed the Dvorák with Fricsay in concert, and their recording preserves a harmonious meeting of two fierily temperamental artists, widely rated among the best of the non-Czech recordings of the work.

Plans for Martzy to record Tchaikovsky's concerto were abandoned when Legge poached her for HMV/EMI but subsequently lost interest. We are left with a small, precious legacy which opened in 1951, in the dying days of 78rpm recording, with her most constant recital partner, Jean Antonietti, at the piano. Encore pieces by Ravel, Milhaud, Falla and Szymanowski capture her Hungarian fire but do not represent her inclination away from virtuoso repertoire and towards the great sonatas and concertos. Mozart's F major Sonata followed, and then Beethoven's Op. 30 No. 3 as a coupling for the Mozart.

When Martzy's encore pieces were reissued on LP, they were coupled in original fashion with two modern viola sonatas played by Michael Mann (1919–76), son of the novelist. Mann's DG recordings were completed a few months later in May 1952 with the Quatre visages of Milhaud, issued on a seven-inch 45rpm disc; with this release they reach CD for the first time. In his time Mann was recognised as a fine musician in his own right and not merely his father's son. He played in the San Francisco Symphony before teaching German literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tully Potter provides the fascinating background note.

"Johanna Martzy acquits herself admirably in the Dvorák Concerto ... Her assured technique, mellow tone, and sympathetic interpretation make this one of the best versions of the Dvorák available." High Fidelity, January 1957

"Martzy plays … with all the spirit and elegance one could hope for … the relationship between her and the orchestra sounds unusually natural … a most rewarding issue." Gramophone, March 1960 (Mozart: Violin Concerto No.4)

"Accomplished and stylish performances… Michael Mann, backed splendidly by Dika Newlin, gets right to the heart of Honegger's Viola Sonata… With Yaltah Menuhin as an equally sympathetic partner, he deals faithfully with the less significant Krenek Sonata." Gramophone, August 1960

"For a listener of catholic tastes desperately torn between the four girls [of Milhaud's Quatre visages], perhaps the easiest way is to love all of them. Michael Mann and Dika Newlin play seductively enough to make this seem the obvious solution." Gramophone, September 1958

Primary Format - MusicCD
LabelDeutsche Grammophon
Music GenreClassical
Music Genre PrimaryClassical
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