Guila Bustabo · Concerto Recordings 1958-1965


Guila Bustabo had a long career. At age 5, she played the violin with 45 members of the Chicago Symphony. At the age of 15, she played the second Wieniawski concerto at Carnegie Hall, and she first toured abroad in 1934, starting in London. That year, a consortium including Toscanini bought a Guarneri del Gesù violin for her. She continued to tour Europe throughout the 1950s and 60s. Bustabo settled in Innsbruck, Austria, where she was a professor of violin from 1964 to 1970. She returned to the United States in 1970 and settled in Birmingham, where she occasionally appeared in concerts with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and frequently sat among the violinists in the orchestra. The live performances, available on this album gives a good idea of why she was so feted: a rapid vibrato for facile articulation and a flexible bow arm to deliver constant excitement and tension. The Bruch live concerto from 1964 shows a passionate interpreter. She was best remembered for her performances of the Sibelius concerto. The composer invited her to his villa in Jarvenpaa in 1937 to play his violin concerto: she did so exactly as he had “envisioned it when I composed it”.

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GUILA BUSTABO plays Bruch, Kreisler, Saint-Saëns and Sibelius

Saint-Saëns: Havanaise in E Major, Op 83
Guila Bustabo · violin
Münchner Rundfunkorchester
Werner Schmid-Boelcke · conductor

Recorded · 19 January 1959 · Munich · Haus des Sports · Bayerischer Rundfunk · Radio Studio Recording

Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor, Op 26
Guila Bustabo · violin
Rundfunkorchester Hannover des NDR
Thomas Ungar · conductor

Recorded · 29 May 1964 · Hannover · Landesfunkhaus · Norddeutscher Rundfunk · Live Recording

Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op 47
Guila Bustabo · violin
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Jean Fournet · conductor

Recorded · 19 May 1965 · Lugano · Teatro Kursaal · Radiotelevisione Svizzera · Live Recording

Kreisler: Praeludium and Allegro in the Style of Pugnani
Guila Bustabo · violin
Hans Altmann · piano

Recorded · 06 December 1958 · Munich · Studio BR · Bayerischer Rundfunk · Radio Studio Recording

Article number: MC 2029
UPC barcode: 791154054338
Recording date: 1959 – 1965
Release date: July 2016
Booklet: 8 Pages
Total timing: 79:44
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2016 Meloclassic

October 2016 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Guila Bustabo plays Bruch, Kreisler, Saint-Saëns and Sibelius
Meloclassic revisits the art of American violinist Guila Bustabo (see previous release). There the triumvirate was Brahms, Paganini and Saint-Saëns whilst with this latest disc the focus is squarely on Bruch and Sibelius – the latter one of her great successes in a limited studio discography. Apart from some small, brief damage, expertly repaired, in the very early stages of the Sibelius, the recorded sound is excellent. So too the perceptive and biographically helpful booklet notes from Meloclasic. Bustabo’s legacy continues to stimulate and surprise.
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November 2016 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Guila Bustabo plays Bruch, Kreisler, Saint-Saëns and Sibelius
These radio recordings were taped between 1958 and 1965. The two concertos are marked as live, and indeed there is an audience present, registering its applause in both cases. The Saint-Saëns Havanaise is one of the finest I’ve heard. There’s an alternative recording of the Bruch Violin Concerto in which the violinist is partnered by Willem Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw, dated 27 October 1940, but I’ve never heard it to compare. This later one, taped in Hannover in 1964, is eloquent and passionate. Bustabo savours the lyrical moments, of which there are many, with rarefied expressiveness. Of the recordings here, I think that the Sibelius Concerto benefits the most from her passionate nature. It’s certainly the highlight of the disc. She played the Concerto for the composer as early as 1937, and Sibelius remarked that she ‘played it exactly as I imagined it when I wrote it’ – high praise. We are fortunate to have two recordings of it. As well as this live 1965 airing. As the Bustabo recorded legacy is lean, to say the least, Meloclassic have done us a great service in releasing these vintage radio takes. They all shape up well as far as sound is concerned, and Meloclassic’s interesting annotations are invaluable.
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