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Bruch, Wieniawski, Michael Rabin, Sir Adrian Boult ‎– Scottish Fantasy / Concerto #1

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This week’s edition of Vinyl’s Revenge proposes a vintage recording of violin concertante works, one by Bruch and the other by Wieniawski – featuring American violinist Michael Rabin accompanied by Sir Adrian Boult and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Michael Rabin was of Romanian-Jewish descent. His mother Jeanne was a Juilliard-trained pianist, and his father George was a violinist in the New York Philharmonic. He began to study the violin at the age of seven. His parents encouraged his musical development. After a lesson with Jascha Heifetz, the master advised him to study with Ivan Galamian, who said he had "no weaknesses, never." He began studies with Galamian in New York and at the Meadowmount School of Music and the Juilliard School.

At his Carnegie Hall debut in 1950 at age 13, Dimitri Mitropoulos called Rabin “the genius violinist of tomorrow, already equipped with all that is necessary to be a great artist.” George Szell described him as “the greatest violin talent that has come to my attention during the past two or three decades.” And Artur Rodzinski added: “Rabin's is not the usual musical prodigy story. No one beat him to make him practice his scales. He was not overprotected and shut off from the world, but managed to enjoy a perfectly normal American boy hood.”

As is too often the case for precocious talents, the commitments that ensued with his prodigal launch as a teenage virtuoso had been too much for him to handle; he turned to drugs to cope with the anxieties. The coroner found barbiturates in Rabin's blood after the violinist was found dead in his apartment. He had slipped on a rug and struck his head on a table – he was only 35 years old.

The two works on this LP harken back to Pablo de Sarasate and Henryk Wieniawski, two preeminent violin virtuosi of the late Romantic period. Sarasate was the dedicatee of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and Wieniawski composed a pair of concerti for his own use – the first being featured here. Both these works feature Rabin in top form and fully display his fabulous natural technique and melancholic temperament.

Happy listening!

Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46

Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Concerto No. 1 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 14

Michael Rabin, violin
Philharmonia Orchestra
Sir Adrian Boult, conducting
(Originally released in 1958)

Label: Seraphim ‎– 60342
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, MONO)
Released: 1980

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