WORKS: The 1940 Vatican Radio Recordings
CATALOGUE NO: GEMM CDS 9108 AAD
An even greater miracle hailed from the Vatican, when Mieczyslaw Horszowski (a Roman Catholic of Jewish descent) played for Pope Pius XII and broadcast over Vatican Radio.
By then, the Germans had already supplanted shellac with tape, and a recently discovered archive trawl includes, among many treasures, one of the greatest ever recorded performances of Liszt’s St François de Paule Walking on the Water – watery-sounding, to be sure, but a document of incalculable historic interest.
So, for parallel reasons, is Georg Kulenkampff’s eloquent 1935 Berlin recording of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, originally issued ‘for export only’ (Mendelssohn having been branded a degenerate at home) and reissued on CD with Schumann’s long-suppressed, desperately pleading D minor Violin Concerto, a work that Kulenkampff – a wonderful player, by the way – premiered both in concert and on record.