Ruggiero Ricci Complete Decca Recordings (20CD)
Ruggiero Ricci
Label
Decca Eloquence
Catalogue No.
4842150
Barcode
00028948421503
Format
20-CD
Video
About

The most complete tribute ever issued to the fiendish fingers and sublime artistry of a true virtuoso, Ruggiero Ricci: a feast of concerto, solo and recital repertoire recorded by Ricci, collected together for the first time, and including a previously unpublished set of the Brahms Violin Sonatas.

Born Roger Rich to an Italian immigrant father on a Californian army base in 1918, he became Ruggiero Ricci when he was introduced to the New York musical public as a child prodigy violinist. By the time of his debut on Decca – the Tchaikovsky Concerto conducted by Sargent in 1950 – he was an experienced performer and recording artist who had already stunned audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with the solo-violin repertoire he would make his own: not only Bach but also Ysaÿe, Wieniawski and most of all Paganini, whose Caprices he was the first to record complete later in 1950. At the close of the Tchaikovsky sessions, the musicians of the New Symphony Orchestra burst into spontaneous applause.

A new and typically illuminating essay by Tully Potter on Ricci’s life and recorded legacy draws on previously unpublished correspondence and sheds light on the background to many of these recordings.

Notable records of Ricci’s famous cantabile in concerto repertoire include a hugely influential Paganini album with Anthony Collins and a gripping account of the Sibelius with Øivin Fjeldstad. There are two recordings of the Mendelssohn (1957 and 1974), the first with another ‘prodigy’, the conductor Piero Gamba, and the second recorded in Decca’s Phase 4 stereo with Jean Fournet. He strikes sparks in partnership with Ernest Ansermet for Ravel’s Tzigane and the solos in Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suites. These (Suites Nos. 3 and 4) as well as sections featuring the solo violin, from the Fistoulari ‘Phase 4’ recording of Swan Lake, are included in this collection.

Decca partnered Ricci with several notable pianists for recital repertoire, starting with his former teacher Louis Persinger and including Friedrich Gulda. Many of these chamber recordings (a Sarasate album, sonatas by Weber, Richard Strauss and Prokofiev) were made not in the Decca studios but in Ricci’s home in New Jersey. While he recorded the Second and Third Brahms Sonatas with Julius Katchen in London in 1957, he also taped the cycle of three sonatas at home with Katchen three years earlier. These 1954 performances are issued here for the first time: essential listening for all fans of great violin playing

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

CD 1
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Adrian Boult

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, TH.59
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; New Symphony Orchestra / Sir Malcolm Sargent
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 2
NICCOLÒ PAGANINI (1782–1840)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 6
Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, Op. 7
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Symphony Orchestra / Anthony Collins

MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)
Tzigane – Concert Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Ernest Ansermet
MONO RECORDINGS (Paganini) ∙ STEREO RECORDING (Ravel)

CD 3
JEAN SIBELIUS (1865–1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Sérénade mélancolique;  Scherzo (from Souvenir d’un lieu cher)
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Symphony Orchestra / Øivin Fjeldstad

ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903–1978)
Violin Concerto in D minor
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Philharmonic Orchestra / Anatole Fistoulari
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 4
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

MAX BRUCH (1838–1920)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Symphony Orchestra / Piero Gamba
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 5
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19
Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Ernest Ansermet
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 6
ÉDOUARD LALO (1823–1892)
Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Ernest Ansermet

PABLO DE SARASATE (1844–1908)
Carmen – Fantaisie de concert, Op. 25
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 No. 1

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Havanaise, Op. 83
Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Symphony Orchestra / Piero Gamba
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 7
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, TH.59

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, B.108
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Malcolm Sargent
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 8
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, MWV O14

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, TH.59
Swan Lake, Op. 20 (excerpts)
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra / Jean Fournet (Concertos); Anatole Fistoulari (Swan Lake)
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 9
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Suite No. 3 in G major, Op. 55
Suite No. 4 in G major, Op. 61 ‘Mozartiana’
Ruggiero Ricci, violin; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Ernest Ansermet
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 10
NICCOLÒ PAGANINI (1782–1840)
Caprices, Op. 1 (1950 Recording)
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 11
NICCOLÒ PAGANINI (1782–1840)
Caprices, Op. 1 (1959 Recording)
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 12
BÉLA BARTÓK (1881–1945)
Sonata for Solo Violin, Sz.117

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882–1971)
Elégie for Solo Violin

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Sonata in D major for Solo Violin, Op. 115

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895–1963)
Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 31 No. 1
Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 31 No. 2
STEREO RECORDINGS

CD 13
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685–1750)
Sonata No. 1 in G minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1001
Partita No. 2 in D minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1004

ANTON WEBER (1883–1945)
Six Sonates Progressives for Violin and Piano, Op. 10
Carlo Bussotti, piano
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 14
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864–1949)
Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94a
Carlo Bussotti, piano
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 15
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30 No. 2
Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 96
Friedrich Gulda, piano
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 16
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1883–1897)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
Julius Katchen, piano
PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED 1954 RECORDINGS
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 17
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1883–1897)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
Julius Katchen, piano
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 18
PABLO DE SARASATE (1844–1908)
8 Danzas Españolas
Caprice Basque, Op. 24
Introduction et Tarantelle, Op. 43
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
Louis Persinger, piano
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 19
NICCOLÒ PAGANINI
(1782–1840)
Le Streghe, Op. 8 (arr. Kreisler)
Fantasia on the G string (after Rossini’s ‘Mosè in Egitto’)
Moto perpetuo, Op. 11
Introduction and Variations on ‘Nel cor più non mi sento’ for solo violin
Variations on ‘God Save the King’, Op. 9
La Campanella (arr. Kochanski)
Sonata in E minor, Op. 3 No. 6
I Palpiti, Op. 13 (arr. Kreisler)
Louis Persinger, piano
MONO RECORDINGS

CD 20
HENRYK WIENIAWSKI (1835–1880)
Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16

EDWARD ELGAR (1857–1934)
La Capricieuse, Op. 17

FRANZ VON VECSEY (1893–1935)
Caprice No. 1 for Violin and Piano: Le Vent

WILLIAM KROLL (1901–1980)
Banjo and Fiddle

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810–1849)
Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. posth. (Trans. Milstein)

BEDŘICH SMETANA (1824–1884)
Andantino (Z domoviny)

JOSEF SUK (1874–1935)
Burleska (Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 17 No. 4)

JOSEPH ACHRON (1886–1943)
Hebrew Melody

PABLO DE SARASATE (1844–1908)
Jota aragonesa, Op. 27                                                                                                                                                           

JENŐ HUBAY (1858–1937)
Der Zephir (from 6 Blumenleben for Violin and Piano, Op. 30 No. 5)

MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI (1854–1925)
Guitarre, Op. 45 No. 2 (arr. Sarasate)                                                                                                                                  

ANTONIO BAZZINI (1818–1897)
La Ronde des Lutins – scherzo fantastique, Op. 25
Ernest Lush, piano
STEREO RECORDINGS

Recording information

CD 1
Recording Producers: Victor Olof (Tchaikovsky); John Culshaw (Beethoven)
Balance Engineers: unknown (Tchaikovsky); Kenneth Wilkinson (Beethoven)
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 26–27 January 1950 (Tchaikovsky), 18, 19, 22 January 1952 (Beethoven)
Original Decca Releases: LXT 2509 (Tchaikovsky): June 1950; LXT 2750 (Beethoven): November 1952

CD 2
Recording Producers: Victor Olof (Paganini); James Walker (Ravel)
Balance Engineers: unknown (Paganini); Gil Went, Roy Wallace (Ravel)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 14 February 1955 (Paganini: Concerto No. 1), 18 February 1955 (Paganini: Concerto No. 2); Victoria Hall, Geneva Switzerland, 27–28 March 1959 (Ravel)
Original Decca Releases: LXT 5075 (Paganini): September 1955; SXL 2155 (Ravel): March 1960

CD 3
Recording Producers: John Culshaw (Sibelius, Tchaikovsky); Christopher Whelan (Khachaturian)
Balance Engineers: Cyril Windebank, Alan Reeve, Gordon Parry (Sibelius, Tchaikovsky); Kenneth Wilkinson, Roy Wallace (Khachaturian);
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 2–3 July 1956 (Khachaturian), 10–15 February 1958 (Sibelius, Tchaikovsky)
Original Decca Releases: LXT 5259 [mono]: February 1957, ECS 641 [stereo]: June 1972 (Khachaturian); SXL 2077 (Sibelius, Tchaikovsky): March 1959

CD 4
Recording Producers: James Walker, Erik Smith
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Cyril Windebank
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 15–16 January 1957
Original Decca Stereo Release: SXL 2006: August 1958

CD 5
Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineers: James Timms, Roy Wallace
Recording Location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 1–23 April 1958
Original Decca Releases: LXT 5446 (mono): November 1958; ECS 746 (stereo): July 1974

CD 6
Recording Producers: James Walker (Lalo, Saint-Saëns), Ray Minshull (Saint-Saëns, Sarasate)
Balance Engineers: Gil Went, Roy Wallace (Lalo), James Timms, Alan Reeve (Saint-Saëns, Sarasate)
Recording Locations: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 27–28 March 1959 (Lalo); Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 28–29 September 1959 (Saint-Saëns, Sarasate)
Original Decca Releases: SXL 2155 (Lalo): March 1960; SXL 2197 (Saint-Saëns, Sarasate): November 1960

CD 7
Recording Producers: Christopher Raeburn, Ray Minshull
Balance Engineers: Alan Abel, Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 5, 6, 11 January 1961
Original Decca Release: SXL 2279: September 1961

CD 8
Recording Producer: Raymond Few
Balance Engineer: Arthur Bannister
Recording Location: AVRO Studio, Hilversum, The Netherlands, August 1974 (Concertos), 20–22 December 1972, 4–9 May and 12, 13 & 27–29 September 1973 (Swan Lake)
Original Decca Release: PFS 4345 (Concertos): November 1975; 10BB168–70 (Swan Lake): August 1974

CD 9
Recording Producer: John Mordler
Balance Engineer: James Lock
Recording Location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 9–11 December 1966 (Suite No. 3), 15, 17 December 1966 (Suite No. 4)
Original Decca Releases: SXL 6311 (Suite No. 3): March 1968; SXL 6312 (Suite No. 4): November 1967

CD 10
Recording Producer: unknown
Balance Engineer: unknown
Recording Location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, July 1950
Original Decca Releases: LK 4025 (Nos. 1–12): March 1951; LXT 2588 (Nos. 13–24): June 1951

CD 11
Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineers: Gil Went, Roy Wallace
Recording Location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 1–9 April 1959
Original Decca Releases: SXL 2194: April 1960

CD 12
Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineer: Roy Wallace
Recording Location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 7–9 April 1960
Original Decca Releases: SXL 2240: October 1960

CD 13
Recording Producers: James Walker (Bach); Ruggiero Ricci (Weber)
Balance Engineers: Arthur Lilley (Bach); Ruggiero Ricci (Weber)
Recording Locations: Decca Studio 2, West Hampstead, London, UK, 22–24, 29 January 1957 (Bach); New Jersey, USA, 17 March 1954 (Weber)
Original Decca Releases: LL 1706 (Bach): May 1958 (LXT 5340 was allocated, but the LP was not released in the UK); LXT 2959 (Weber): October 1954

CD 14
Recording Producer: Ruggiero Ricci
Balance Engineer: Ruggiero Ricci
Recording Location: New Jersey, USA, 22 June 1953
Original Decca Release: LXT 2818: September 1953

CD 15
Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineer: unknown
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 24–26 February 1954
Original Decca Release: LXT 2942: June 1954

CD 16
Recording Producer: Ruggiero Ricci
Balance Engineer: Ruggiero Ricci
Recording Location: New Jersey, USA, 17 December 1954
Original Decca Release: unpublished

CD 17
Recording Producer: Christopher Whelan
Balance Engineer: unknown
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 22–24 and 27 July 1957
Original Decca Release: LXT 5270: March 1957

CD 18
Recording Producer: Ruggiero Ricci
Balance Engineer: Ruggiero Ricci
Recording Location: New Jersey, USA, January 1954
Original Decca Release: LXT 2930: May 1954

CD 19
Recording Producer: Ruggiero Ricci
Balance Engineer: Ruggiero Ricci
Recording Location: New Jersey, USA, 17 March 1954
Original Decca Release: LXT 2808: July 1954

CD 20
Recording Producers: Erik Smith, Ray Minshull
Balance Engineer: Gordon Parry
Recording Location: Decca Studio 1, West Hampstead, London, UK, 5, 7, 9 May 1958
Original Decca Releases: LXT 5460: January 1959, ECS 595: May 1971

Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer

Reviews

“This young American’s really remarkable accuracy in playing the most difficult passages is certain to cause many a trained fiddler to mop his forehead in amazement.” American Record Guide, July 1951 (Paganini Caprices)

“I look forward to more discs by this first-rate duo … His natural elegance … stands him in good stead in the Prokofiev, where his partner at the piano also distinguishes himself by some most artistic leggiero playing.” Gramophone, October 1953 (Prokofiev & Strauss Sonatas)

“There is some truly amazing fiddling here … combining faultlessly brilliant technique with unusually warm tone … A ‘must’ for all violinists.” High Fidelity, October 1954 (Paganini Concertos)

“Mr. Ricci plays them smartly, giving full value to their daring and rather insolent romanticism of 1810.” High Fidelity, December 1954 (Weber Sonatas)

“In a class by itself aloof from the competing editions. Persuasive lyricism from the soloist, very sensitive orchestral leadership, and gracious sound at all points of its range.” High Fidelity, January 1955 (Beethoven Concerto)

“Ricci’s ease of execution has already established him as a first-rank violinist despite his relative youth, and this is displayed here to a remarkable degree. Fistoulari and his Londoners play with precision and feeling throughout, and the balance between soloist and orchestra is well-nigh perfect.” American Record Guide, July 1957 (Khachaturian Concerto)

“[Ricci’s Bruch Concerto] has dignity of conception, an appropriate romantic flow, a glowing tonal characteristic, and an easy command of the mechanics involved. Ricci’s Mendelssohn is also excellently done.” High Fidelity, September 1957 (Bruch, Mendelssohn – Gamba)

“Ricci and Katchen display an impressive understanding of this literature, and the ability to handle the intricate problems of technique, weight, colour and texture with finesse and astute interpretative insight.” American Record Guide, November 1957 (Brahms: Sonata No 2)

“In beauty of tone and in technical address Ricci is near the top among the many fiddlers who have recorded these works … Excellent recording.” High Fidelity, March 1958 (Bach)

“This, the first stereo representation of the Sibelius Concerto, is likely to remain unchallenged for a long time … Ricci is second only to Heifetz in his intrepid technical and virile interpretative traversal.” High Fidelity, August 1959 (Sibelius)

“Astonishingly assured combination of virtuosity and poetic sensibility … so fresh and vivacious that it might have just been composed for Ricci himself. His uncanny technical security has never been more electrifyingly demonstrated.” High Fidelity, April 1962 (Tchaikovsky Concerto – Sargent)

“Ruggiero Ricci is still a prodigy, but a manure one. A violinist possessed of a flawless technique and a silvery tone, Ricci is today a master of rare interpretative skills, and ills: present recordings bear eloquent testimony in this regard.” Stereo Review, April 1962 (Tchaikovsky Concerto – Sargent)

“Ricci’s performance is close to perfection throughout, and so is the recording.” High Fidelity, May 1965 (Hindemith, Bartók, Stravinsky)