Jacques Thibaud was the pre-eminent French violinist on the first half of the 2oth Century and although he is now probably best remembered as a chamber musician, particularly in the legendary Cortot, Thibaud and Casals Trio, he also had a major career as a solo violinist. This pair of CDs features all his electrical recordings of music for violin and piano which does not fall into the catagory of chamber music for equal partners such as his Beethoven, Franck and Debussy sonata recordings with Cortot. Thibaud’s great strengh was his cantabile playing and much is in evidence in this delightful collection.
Unfortunately Thibaud did not make all that many recordings with orchestra and although he set down a 78rpm version of the Lalo Symphonie Espagnol it was never issued. We are therefore very lucky that the archives of Swiss Radio contained acetate discs of the live performance presented here. This piece was particulary associated with Thibaud and he gives a wonderful performance, in sound much better than we might expect from such a source.
Two dozen encore pieces with piano, plus a terrific live version of Lalo's Symphonie espagnole recorded in 1941...Most of the great French violinist's musical calling cards are here, performed with his usual suavity and chic...An absolute must for violin fanciers. Now! (USA)