Reviews | RH-018 | 9CD | GABRIELLA LENGYEL - Jenő Hubay’s last pupil

April 2021 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg. 89) | BOX-SET Round-up   « Rob Cowan revisits the recordings of a quartet of less prominent masters from the past --  [...]  Another musically potent brother/sister celebration finds the great violinist/teacher Jenő Hubay's last pupil Gabriella Lengyel playing alongside her pianist brother Atty in repertoire that includes numerous rare but involving Hungarian pieces, as well as works by Schumann (the first two sonatas), Ravel (the Sonata, where the 'Blues' threatens as menacingly as the Left Hand Concerto's goose-stepping central episode does), Poulenc, Lennox Berkeley (Sonatina) and Britten (Suite, Op.6). Also included, an enrapturing account of Bartók's Second Sonata and a series of Bartók violin duos (with Anne-Marie Gründer) that vies with, if not tops, the best from elsewhere. Most significant perhaps is the Brahms Concerto under Ernest Ansermet, an inward-looking performance where you can check Lengyel's approach against her own detailed annotations based on Hubay's teachings. Lengyel's sound is mellow and veiled, her manner of phrasing linear, [...]. Both Lengyel and Ter-Merguerian were highly accomplished players whose artistry should be enjoyed by the widest public, so hats off to Rhine Classics for affording us the opportunity of hearing them.  »
16 March2021 | Stephen Greenbank | Music Web International | Gabriella Lengyel - Jenő Hubay’s last pupil rec. 1951-1972  « Gabriella Lengyel was born in Budapest in 1920 and began learning the violin at the city’s Franz Liszt Academy at the age of only five. By fifteen she’d completed all the courses with distinction, obtaining a diploma in violin. She then went to Jenő Hubay and Edouard Zathureczky, who applied the finishing touches. [...]  In 1946 she clinched 2nd Prize in the International Long-Thibaud Competition, and two years later the Grand Prix at the Carl Flesch Competition in London. That same year she fled the Hungarian communist regime and settled in Paris, where she took up a teaching post at the Conservatoire. In 1950 she formed the Trio Lengyel with her two musician brothers Atty and André. She died in Paris in 1993. Throughout her career she worked with some of the most renowned conductors of the day, including Ansermet, Fricsay, van Beinum, Jochum, Solti, Enescu, Casals and Mengelberg. As far as recordings go, she recorded only three commercial LPs in Paris – two private releases for Voxigrave in 1951, and one for Ducretet-Thomson in 1953. Some of these are included in this collection. [...] In early 1953, the Duo Legyel set down in the studio of Schweizer Radio in Basel the complete works for violin and piano by Franz Schubert. They are to be found across CDs 4 and 5. These are some of the loveliest works in the repertoire and the Duo offer elegant, stylistic and idiomatic performances. In the three Sonatinas, touched by the influence of Mozart, they emphasize the youthful nature of the music. In the more mature Duo Sonata of 1817 the composer finds his own voice, with the work free of stylistic influences. The finale is particularly fine, here bristling with energy and joy. The Fantasie, Schubert’s masterpiece from 1827, is probably the most frequently performed and recorded of his violin and piano works. The central variation section, on the theme Sei mir gegrüsst, is characterful. In short, it’s a fully integrated performance and stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the very best recorded versions. [...] Those seeking off the beaten track repertoire need look no further, as there’s an ample selection here. Lengyel did much to champion her contemporary fellow Hungarian composers, and several are represented in the set. [...] This wonderful collection, approved by the violinist’s brother Attila (Atty) just a year before his death in 2018, preserves the legacy of this significant artist.  The 24bit 96 kHz restorations by Emilio Pessina are first-class and bring new life to these valuable aural documents. The documentation is superb, and the cache of photographs is an added bonus. This is a collection I wouldn’t like to be without. »
24 February 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | Music Web International | Gabriella Lengyel - Jenő Hubay’s Last Pupil  « Gabriella Lengyel (1920-1993) was indeed, as the box announces, Jenő Hubay’s last pupil. Born in Budapest she began at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in the city, winning distinctions and completing all her courses at the age of fifteen, before continuing with Hubay and, after his death in 1937, Ede Zathureczky. She won second prize at the Sixth International Violin Competition in Vienna 1937, but the outbreak of war curtailed a burgeoning career. In 1946 she won another second place, this time at the prestigious International Long-Thibaud competition in Paris, but in 1948 fled Hungary and lived in Paris where she established a long-standing duo with her brother Attila (or Atty). In 1950 they formed a trio with their brother Endre. She performed in Casals’ Prades orchestra (a photograph in the booklet shows her fiddling away) and she made a very few LPs. She taught for many years whilst maintaining a European-based career, making visits to Switzerland, in particular, where she broadcast often for Radio Basel. [...] Disc 1 brings her teacher Hubay’s Concerto No 3 and Respighi’s Poema autunnale, both with the Bamberg Symphony and Jan Koetsier in 1954. She is much faster than a modern exponent like Hagai Shaham and catches the music’s fluid fantasia quality with great rhythmic precision and sense of colour. Her bowing is crisp in the Scherzo, there is noble ardour and moving intensity in the Adagio, and there is zest in the finale where she negotiates the cadenza with bravura. Vilmos Szabadi and Aaron Rosand made good recordings of this but Lengyel characterises even deeper. Respighi’s work was dedicated to Mario Corti and contemporaries such as Lydia Mordkovitch play it quite deliberately. Even Ricci did so. Nishizaki on Marco Polo however approaches Lengyel in taut sweetness, even more so than Julia Fischer in her 2010 recording on Decca. Lengyel negotiates its changes in mood, tempo and texture at a decisive tempo and her evocative playing is alluring throughout. [...]
I mentioned the booklet earlier and it’s been splendidly compiled with some very beautifully reproduced photographs of the violinist, concert posters and a reproduction of a colour drawing of her by Willy Hug, which was donated to Richard Flury. There is a brief chronology of her life and very full track details and dates. In every way the documentation and transfers are worthy of this eminent but too-little known violinist. »
5☆☆☆☆☆ | February 2021 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA No.229 (p. 109) Archets en majesté - Cordes et Âmes |   « le lyrisme envoûtant de Gabriella Lengyel »

NMZ BEST OF 2020 | nmz Neue Musikzeitung | December 2020 - January 2021 | nmz 12/20 - 1/21 (page 14) | Christoph Schlüren | « Und unbedingt muss das wagemutige Unternehmen des italienischen Tonmeisters und Violinpapsts Emilio Pessina genannt werden, der seine Anthologien bei Rhine Classics in Taiwan herausgibt. Da sind ganz neu umfassende Schatzkisten erschienen von Gabriella Lengyel, der letzten Schülerin Hubays, überwiegend mit ihrem Bruder, dem vorzüglichen Pianisten Atty Lengyel, von wunderbarem Schubert und Mendelssohn zu Entlegenem vor allem ungarischer Meister wie Harsányi, Veress oder Arma; fast nur Live-Aufnahmen von Jean Ter-Merguerian, in den Augen von Kollegen wie Rostropowitsch, Szeryng, Francescatti und Ferras einer der großartigsten Geiger überhaupt (einen schöneren, edleren Ton gibt es nicht!), ganz groß in Beethoven, Brahms und Khachaturian; späte Konzertmitschnitte (1996–98) des Meisterpianisten Sergio Fiorentino aus den USA, darunter auch hinreißend musizierte Kammermusik wie Francks Quintett oder Beet­hovens Quintett mit Bläsern; und vom legendären Pietro Scarpini zu Hause gemachte Aufnahmen des kompletten Wohltemperierten Klaviers und der Kunst der Fuge in kristalliner Klarheit (alles bei Rhine Classics, erstaunlich preiswert direkt von der Website zu beziehen). »

COURAGEOUS ENTERPRISES « Also worth mentioning is the daring venture of Italian sound engineer and "Violin-expert" Emilio Pessina, who publishes anthologies under the Rhine Classics label in Taiwan. There are quite new and complete treasures played by Gabriella Lengyel, Hubay's last pupil, mostly with her brother, the excellent pianist Atty Lengyel, in wonderful Schubert and Mendelssohn, and especially Hungarian masters like Harsanyi, Veress or Arma [...] »