Lola Bobesco ∙ Volume 2

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LOLA BOBESCO & JACQUES GENTY play Mozart & Beethoven – The Ludwigsburg recitals 1958

CD 1

1-2. Mozart: Violin Sonata in E minor, KV. 304 [11:52]
I. Allegro [06:40]
II. Tempo di Menuetto [05:11]
3-5. Mozart: Violin Sonata in C Major, KV. 296 [16:21]
I. Allegro vivace [06:29]
II. Andante sostenuto [06:01]
III. Allegro [03:50]
6-8. Mozart: Violin Sonata in B-flat Major, KV. 454 [22:55]
I. Largo – Allegro [08:02]
II. Andante [08:40]
III. Allegretto [06:13]
9-11. Mozart: Violin Sonata in A Major, KV. 526 [20:19]
I. Molto allegro [04:50]
II. Andante [08:52]
III. Presto [06:37]
Lola Bobesco ∙ violin
Jacques Genty ∙ piano

Recorded ∙ 04 July 1958 ∙ Ludwigsburg ∙ Schloss Ordenssaal ∙ Süddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Live Recording

CD 2

1-3. Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3 [19:23]
I. Allegro con spirito [08:14]
II. Adagio con molta espressione [07:08]
III. Rondo: Allegro molto [04:01]
4-7. Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2 [26:03]
I. Allegro con brio [07:45]
II. Adagio cantabile [10:14]
III. Scherzo. Allegro – Trio [03:08]
IV. Finale. Allegro [04:55]
8-11. Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 [33:12]
I. Adagio sostenuto — Presto [10:50]
II. Andante con Variazioni [16:00]
III. Finale. Presto [06:20]
Lola Bobesco ∙ violin
Jacques Genty ∙ piano

Recorded ∙ 06 July 1958 ∙ Ludwigsburg ∙ Schloss Ordenssaal ∙ Süddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Live Recording

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Lola Bobesco was born into a musical family on 9 August 1921 in Craiova, Romania. Her grandfather was a singer and her father Aurel Bobesco played a dominant role in furthering her musical education and development. As a conductor and composer, he could play all string instruments by himself and the piano. She began to study violin at the age of three, after she received a 1/4 size violin from a friend of her father as Christmas gift in 1924. She gave her first public performance at the age of six performing the Mozart/Kreisler Rondo, Schumann’s Träumerei and the Brahms Scherzo in C minor from the F.A.E. Sonata, accompanied by her father at the piano. Bobesco was then invited by the Queen of Romania Marie for a recital, who helped her by arranging a recital tour throughout the major European capitals. In 1928, she went to Paris to receive advices from her compatriot Georges Enescu about her further musical development.

He arranged for her to play for Jacques Thibaud, who was much impressed and Thibaud arranged for Bobesco to study under Marcel Chailley at the Paris École Normale de Musique between 1928 and 1930. She continued her studies at the Paris Conservatory (1931-1935) with Jules Boucherit, where she gained her first prize in 1934, and graduated with the Prix d’Excellence. Later she admitted, that she had never to pay for any lessons.

A recital debut in Paris came in 1933 when she played the Franck Violin Sonata and Fauré’s 1st Violin Sonata with pianist Céliny Chailley-Richez. Bobesco initially wanted to participate in the 1st International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Warsaw in 1935 but after she noticed that her classmate Ginette Neveu had already registered, Bobesco decided not to proceed further. Bobesco made her solo debut in 1936 playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Colonne Orchestra under Paul Paray in Paris.

The following year, 1937, she attended the Eugene Ysaÿe Competition. Ysaÿe was very close friends with Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and she initiated the Concours International de Violon Eugène Ysaÿe in his honor. This competition quickly became one of the most outstanding music competitions in the world.

Bobesco played a very respectable program at the finals of the Eugene Ysaÿe Competition on Tuesday 30 March 1937 in Bruxelles at Centre for Fine Arts, Salle Henry Le Boeuf:
– Viotti: Violin Concerto No. 22 in A minor
– Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole, op. 21
– François Schubert: L’abeille
– Stan Golstan: Laoutar
– Kreisler: Prélude et Allegro (after G. Pugnani)
– Ysaÿe: Rêve d’enfant op. 4
– Kreisler: Sicilienne and Rigaudon in the style of Francoeur
– Fauré: Berceuse op. 16
– Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin in E minor op. 27/4
– Bach: Sonata for Solo Violin No.1 in G minor BWV 1001

Bobesco was awarded a seventh prize. In his Reminiscences and reflections, Joseph Szigeti wrote: “In a report on the 1937 Concours International Eugene Ysaÿe at Brussels, Carl Flesch (who with Thibaud and myself was one of the judges) remarked that technique has taken the place of spirituality. Although the material, mechanical work is unsurpassed, he pointed out, the warmth and the mystery of music have departed. Speaking of the deadening effect of grim, joyless, technically flawless playing which makes a Mozart concerto sound like a Kreutzer study. The results of the contest were considered startling. Soviet players completely overshadowed those of the older, more famous schools. This is the order: 1. David Oistrakh (USSR) | 2. Ricardo Odnoposoff (Austria) | 3. Elisabeth Guilels (USSR) | 4. Boris Goldstein (USSR) 5. Marina Kozolupova (USSR) | 6. Mikhail Fichtengolz (USSR) | 7. Lola Bobesco (Romania) | 8. Paul Makhanovitzki (Sweden) 9. Robert Virovay (Hungary) | 10. Angel Reyes (Cuba) | 11. Ricardo Brengola (Italy) | 12. Jean Champeil (France)

Looking into the reasons for the Soviet victory, Flesch concluded that while other governments gave their candidates good wishes, the Russian team was granted support as generous as though the Olympic games were in question. Moscow provided its children with superb instruments to play upon; it sent them to Brussels, together with trainers and accompanists, long before the competition opened so that they could accustom themselves to the atmosphere and come to the trial fresh. The player who obtained the second prize did not, though a Russian, belong to the Soviet team, and had been leading the orchestra at the Vienna Opera the night before he left for Brussels. Flesch admitted the high degree of technical ability of the Russian team, but said that they, like all the others, concentrated too much on the material aspects of music.”

Bobesco benefited from the fact that the Russian participants had to return immediately to USSR after the Ysaÿe Competition led to major performances with Willem Mengelberg, Willem van Otterloo and Ernest Ansermet. In 1938, she found an impresario with Jacques Gisbien, who introduced her to the French pianist Jacques Genty, who had studied with Lazare Lévy. They immediately realised their shared musical sympathies, the friendship, rich with youthful energy, immediately took off with their duo performances of the complete Mozart, Brahms and Schubert violin sonatas cycle across the major cities in France.

Bobesco also teamed up with cellist Antonio Janigro and pianist Dinu Lipatti in a trio. The three of them gave a number of performances in the late 1930s and had works by Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms in their repertoire. Her international career was interrupted by World War II, but Bobesco was finally able to perform in France and Belgium. Her violin Guadagnini 1735 had been loaned to her in 1936 by the French Luthiers Charles Enel after he had noticed her inferior violin. He never asked for the return of the violin. Bobesco travelled between Paris and Brussels during the war. Germans used to take the Guadagnini from its battered, old case, admired it, returned it, sent Bobesco on her way. They did not search the shabby old violin case in the lining of which they would have found messages, Bobesco was carrying between the Belgium underground and the French Maquis, which were rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards, during the Occupation of France in World War II. Genty was an active member of the French resistance, and they became married after the liberation of Paris in 1944. After they divorced twelve years later, they continued to play together and stayed good friends.

In 1946, she was invited to perform with Genty in a series “Jeunes talents français” organized by the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Philippe de Borbure, who attended one recital, offered them to stay at his Palace close to Brussels. Given this comfortable environment they decided to permanently settle in Belgium.

Her first Berlin appearance was stricken with the worst case of stage fright, she later admitted. This took place on 17 January 1960, playing the Brahms Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic under Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. In 1980 she was rediscovered by Tokyo music-lovers and she then had a rewarding late career in Japan. Bobesco was also a professor at the French-language Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles and professor of violin at the Conservatory of Liège (1962-1974). She founded two musical groups in Belgium: in 1958, the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie in Liège; and in 1991, the string quartet L’Arte del Suono in Brussels.

Bobesco’s last years were a great hardship on account Of her fading eyesight and she died in Sart lez Spa on 4 September 2003. Jacques Genty died on 13 November 2014, aged 93.

Source: French radio program “Mémoire retrouvée”. Bobesco interviewed by Anne Marie Réby in 1994.

Notes by Michael Waiblinger, © 2014

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Article number: MC 2023 ∙ Double CD
UPC barcode: 791154054130
Recording dates: 1958
Release date: March 2015
Total timing: CD 1: 71:28 ∙ CD 2: 78:38

Producer and Audio Restoration: Lynn Ludwig
Booklet Notes: Michael Waiblinger
Design: Alessia Issara
Photographs: Boris Lipnitzki
With special thanks to Wolfgang Wendel
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2015 Meloclassic