These recordings of the Bartok sonatas by André Gertler and Edith Farnadi have long been among my favorites. Both musicians had full European careers and tended to be under-rated here in the States. Gertler, however, was one of the finest fiddlers of his generation, graced with an intensely focused intonation and indulging few histrionics, and Farnadi is a pianist to contend with. If, at the end of the day, Szigeti’s idiosyncratic fingering and bow technique are often more convincing to me, I am not immune to the charms of Gertler’s more straight-forward artistry. And in soft, quiet passages with significant bow movement, where Szigeti could sound scratchy as early as the nineteen forties, Gertler maintains a steady bow and an impressive clarity of tone as evidenced in the recordings presented here. I cannot recommend too highly this long unavailable recording of these two incredibly beautiful sonatas of Bartok.
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