#9/2023 (FR)
22 April 2023 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | LE CONCERTO RETROUVÉ  « Un jour que je discutais à bâtons rompus avec Henryk Szeryng de ses divers enregistrements du Concerto de Brahms, il me coupa. « Vous connaissez le Concerto de Reynaldo Hahn ? Je vais le créer l’année prochaine aux Etats-Unis. [...] Miracle !, la création américaine de l’œuvre à Atlanta le 20 novembre 1987, la voici, de plus dans un son remarquable, Henryk Szeryng faisant assaut de traits enthousiastes dans le Décidé initial (que le public applaudit), ardant le Chant d’amour, amours probablement interdites. Le Final contraste un Lent élégiaque avec un presto (Vif et léger) qui raille, petite merveille d’esprit très parisien. L’archet est toujours magnifique, la justesse encore certaine, mais Henryk Szeryng se doute-t-il qu’il est à quelques mois de la mort qui le prendra sans prévenir le 3 mars de l’année suivante ? »
#8/2023 (FR)
March 2023 | Trésors d'archets | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA n°250 p.83 | HEIFETZ in NY [CHOC - Exceptionnel]; SZERYNG reDiscovered [CHOC - Exceptionnel]; SZERYNG live in USA [☆☆☆☆☆ - Coup de coeur]; GITLIS plays Bach [☆☆☆☆ - Excellent] 
 #07/2023 (UK)

21 February 2023 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Christian Ferras (violin) à la mémoire d’un ange - rec. 1946-1971   «The title of this 5 CD dedicated to French violinist Christian Ferras is ‘à la mémoire d’un ange’. It’s the title Alban Berg gave to his Violin Concerto, a work Ferras performed many times, but it could also apply to the violinist himself. The set was issued to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his tragic death in September 1982. [...] This intriguing cache of live recordings makes a positive and welcome addition to the violinist’s already extensive discography. All is derived from well-preserved source material, and some applause has been retained to capture the atmosphere of the live event. The producer, Emilio Pessina, has provided an excellent biographical portrait of the artist in the accompanying booklet. »

#06/2023 (UK)

19 January 2023 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino (piano)
Early Live and Unissued Takes
   «This single disc covers a period of some 15 years in Fiorentino’s career, delving right back to the Geneva International Music Competition in 1947 when he was still not quite 20. The acetates have been preserved in surprisingly good sound and show him in Bach and Chopin. [...] Rachmaninov’s Fourth Concerto [...] shows that Fiorentino had mastered questions of bravura and balance by this time and was already a leonine and imperturbable soloist. [...] Saga released a number of Fiorentino’s recordings under Pouishnoff’s name and here three are restored and properly attributed. The Mephisto Waltz forms part of Fiorentino’s dazzling Lisztian discography whilst the Polonaise-Fantaisie, and Impromptu No.4 (the Fantaisie-impromptu), reveal a combustible but splendidly proportioned and controlled rhetoric. Pouishnoff could simply not have managed this at his age and in his declining health. [...] Everything is heard in as fine a sound as can be imagined and there are useful biographical notes and photographic reproductions. It’s to Ernest Lumpe that we must turn for thanks for providing the material and to Emilio Pessina for his restorations. »

#05/2023 (USA)

☆☆ | 14 January 2023 | Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition | Sergio Fiorentino, Piano – Early Live and Unissued Takes, 1947-1962  Producer and editor Emilio Pessina has compiled a series of diverse repertory performed by Italian piano master Sergio Fiorentino (1927-1998), the concerts culled from the collection of Ernst Lumpe. The various performances originate from venues including a live concert in Edinburgh, studio recordings from Hamburg and London, and previously unissued acetate 78s from Geneva’s Victoria Hall. Most happily, the sonic quality from the sources, whether acetates, vinyl, or original master tapes, has been excellently restored, and the electrifying spontaneity of Fiorentino’s playing proves irresistible. [...]  A disc well recommended. »

#04/2023 (UK)

5 January 2023 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Jascha Heifetz (violin) The Legendary New York Concerts   «[...] Needless to say, Heifetz is on absolutely top form and his immaculate delivery is breathtaking. His silken tone and ravishing colours shine through at every stage. There’s striking contrasts made between the melancholic sojourns and the more rakish elements of the work. Kurtz is a wonderful conductor, offering sensitive and sympathetic support all the way. [...]  In this live inscription the playing is fresh and spontaneous, with heartfelt tenderness suffusing the slow movement. I particularly like the Turkish section in the finale which is more highly charged than most I’ve heard. [...] Rhine Classics’ 24bit 96 kHz remastering is definitely a sonic improvement on my old LP, though.

All told, this is a very desirable release. The booklet contains some excellent notes by Gary Lemco, and a few fascinating photos of the artist. Heifetz fans, of which I’m one, shouldn’t hesitate. »

#03/2023 (UK)

4 January 2023 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Christian Ferras (violin)
à la mémoire d’un ange
   «This 5-CD release commemorates the 40th anniversary of the death of Christian Ferras whose suicide at the age of 49 so impoverished the violin world. It contains works central to his repertoire but also includes nuggets such as extracts and early speeches from radio that round out a portrait of the artist. Indeed, the subtitle of the box, ‘à la mémoire d’un ange’, though drawn from Berg’s Concerto, is clearly meant, also, to apply to Ferras himself. 

As usual from this source, the track listing is laid out in exemplary clarity and the booklet notes complement the discs attractively. There is a considerable amount of live Ferras in the market at the moment but this one contains enough novelties and surprises to keep even Ferras’s most committed supporters happy. This is a fine salute to a much-lamented musician. »

#02/2023 (FR)
3 January 2023 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | FIORENTINO DE JEUNESSE   « (Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.4) C’est le trésor absolu de ce plein disque d’inédits qui brosse un portrait du pianiste en jeune homme, avant l’accident qui le forcera à quelques années de retrait.
L’autorité fabuleuse, le pianisme consommé des deux captations au Concours de Genève, de précieuses acétates, nous offrent une Fantaisie de Chopin d’anthologie, et les prises restées jusque-là inédites des enregistrements londoniens pour Saga révèlent une Méphisto-Valse sous stupéfiants et une Tarentelle de Chopin irrésistible où le clavier chante autant qu’il danse. »
#01/2023 (UK)
January 2023 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg.111) | REPLAY  | Rob Cowan's monthly survey of historic reissues and archive recordings  -  Gitlis plays Bach  « [...] Were I to nominate a Gitlis soulmate from yesterday it would definitely be Huberman. The sound throughout captures Gitlis's distinctive if idiosyncratic tone to perfection. »


#14/2022 (UK)

6 December 2022 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Henryk Szeryng - reDiscovered   «Despite a substantial Szeryng discography, here are some more live airings, set down between 1962 and 1967, which further bolster the listings. For me, anything by Henryk Szeryng (1918-1988) is of interest. He was one of the twentieth century’s greatest violinists, a musical aristocrat with superb polished technique and a phenomenal intellect. [...] The recordings have been excellently restored. The Benjamin Lees Concerto is especially of interest to me, as I didn’t know the work at all.»

#13/2022 (UK)

 November 2022 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg.95) | REPLAY  Rob Cowan's monthly survey of historic reissues and archive recordings  -  Heifetz in New York  « [...] possibly Heifetz’s most satisfying recorded performance of Beethoven Violin Concerto. »

#12/2022 (UK)

 November 2022 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg. 94-95) | REPLAY  | Rob Cowan's monthly survey of historic reissues and archive recordings  -  Commemorating Christian Ferras

#11/2022 (FR)

November 2022 | Les trésors de Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA n°247 | Christian Ferras (1933-1982) «[...] Rhine Classics publie un album de captations en concert toutes inédites au disque, dominées par sa plus étreignante gravure du Concerto "à la mémoire d'un ange" (Berg), enchàssé dans les parures élégiaques distillées par la baguette mahlérienne de Paul Kletzki, partition dont les abimes et la spiritualité valent, il le savait, pour autoportrait.»

#10/2022 (UK)

1 November 2022 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino - early live & unissued takes  Pianism of the finest order. | «[...] Bach’s Prelude & Fugue No 20 in A minor, BWV 889 (WTC II) is remarkable for its penetrating tone, clarity of articulation and expressive intimacy. Fiorentino intelligently structures the Chopin Fantasie, gradually moving from modest beginnings to high-octane intensity. In the central section he finds poetic serenity. Enthusiastic applause follows each of the items. [...] There’s no doubting that the 4th Concerto (Rachmaninoff) isn’t as memorable as its predecessors. Fiorentino captures the works elusive elements, probing its transient moods and making some success of the concerto as Michelangeli did. His virtuosity is flawless. [...] Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz is a reading of breathtaking brilliance and brimming over with diablerie. Chopin’s Polonaise-fantaisie in A-flat major, Op 61 is rhapsodic and improvisatory in Fiorentino’s hands with an underlying melancholic vein. The central section of the composer’s Fantasy Impromptu is poetically sculpted without resorting to sentimental excess. Chopin’s Tarantella is a dazzling tour-de-force, whilst the pianist’s own arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise is soul-searching with a certain elegiac quality. [...] The excellent 24bit 96kHz remasterings by Emilio Pessina do Fiorentino’s memory proud.»

#09/2022 (UK)

14 October 2022 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ivry Gitlis plays Bach   «This year, 25 August to be precise, marked the centenary of the birth of Israeli violinist Ivry Gitlis (1922-2020). This latest issue from Rhine Classics commemorates that significant occasion. This is the third release from the label featuring radio broadcasts, live airings, original masters, 78s and LP recordings, splendidly restored by producer Emilio Pessina, which have significantly bolstered the artist’s discography. The added attraction of this newcomer is that it’s devoted exclusively to the composer J. S. Bach who’s music is notably absent in the previous releases. [...] Welcome is a complete discography of the violinist included in the booklet. Finally, the addition of some beautifully produced photographs adds to the allure. All told, this is a worthy tribute to a remarkable technician and distinguished interpreter.»

#08/2022 (UK)

7 October 2022 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Heifetz - The legendary New York concerts  Heifetz live, spearheaded by the scintillating first broadcast of the Korngold Concerto. |  « [...] Rhine Classics’ 24bit 96 kHz remastering work is perfectly fine, and without blemish. I have to admit I don’t know which recording they have accessed - or whether they could have had access to the hall’s transcription discs themselves, which seems unlikely - but there we are. [...] Rhine reprints a perceptive New York Times review of the concert by Howard Klein and there are some attractive reproductions of Heifetz. I’d not seen the photograph of Michael Rabin’s score of the Conus, signed by Heifetz, before.»

#07/2022 (UK)

5 October 2022 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Szeryng - ReDiscovered  Henryk Szeryng heard in (nearly) all previously unreleased broadcasts: bravura and eloquence. |  « [...] this programme apparently contains four performances new to CD; the only one that has been issued before is the Szymanowski Concerto. I’m in no position to doubt this, as Szeryng’s surviving corpus of off-air recordings is so large and seems to be getting larger by the week. This twofer begins, however, with Bartók’s Concerto in B major, in a Dutch performance of 1962. The Radio Filharmonisch Orkest under Willem van Otterloo provides the orchestral support. Szeryng was to record the work with Haitink and the Concertgebouw in 1970 so it’s clearly of some interest to hear him at the start of the decade playing with such clarity, directness, and warmth. [...]  This is apparently the first appearance of the première performance of Benjamin Lees’ concerto with Erich Leinsdorf directing the Boston Symphony in 1963. It’s the only work to be heard in stereo. [...] to hear the premiere is something of a privilege, not least because Szeryng is on record as having confessed it was the most difficult work that he played. There’s lyricism here but it’s guarded, with the first two movements, being essentially slow, leading the way for a taut, fast finale. Its rhetoric vaguely echoes Prokofiev but there are more granitic outbursts from Lees than Prokofiev would have sanctioned. Szeryng plays it with fearless bravura – punchy, pungent and refined when the occasion demands. One can almost feel him count the bars in the perilous finale.  [...] And so to the Brahms, recorded at the United Nations in 1967 with Wolfgang Sawallich and the Vienna Symphony. Szeryng takes broadly similar tempi to those he was to take when he recorded the work with Haitink and his consistency remained deeply impressive. [...] but the very best playing comes in the finale. Here Szeryng whips up a storm, tapering his phrase ends with joyful freedom, playing with caprice and spontaneous-sounding bravura. Just how spontaneous it was is doubtful but it sounds spontaneous and represents some of Szeryng’s best and most communicative Brahms playing I have heard. Do you need another Szeryng-Brahms - that was my initial question. Well, possibly you do and if you get this, you will also therefore get previously unreleased performances of high stature and eloquent intelligence. Good sound, too.»

#06/2022 (FR)

28 September 2022 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | Les grands violonistes du XXe siècle | Gitlis plays Bach  «Ivry Gitlis, disparu à la veille de Noël 2020, aurait eu cent ans cette année. Ardent interprète du répertoire romantique, comme des grands auteurs du XXe siècle (Bartok, Hindemith, Stravinsky), il laisse en revanche peu de trace au disque dans l'oeuvre de Bach. Voilà qui rend d'autant plus précieux cet enregistrement totalement inédit des trois concertos pour violon, réalisé en 1997 à Copenhague avec un ensemble orchestral danois. Vision hautement personnelle s'il en est - à mille lieux des courants baroques - colorée d'un vibrato reconnaissable entre tous. Même si cette vision "mittle europa" ne sera pas du goût de tous, elle mérite le détour, ne serait-ce que pour la tendresse infinie dont Ivry habite le mouvement lent du concerto en la mineur, comme pour la passion qui anime la moindre note. Si la prise de son met naturellement en scène le soliste, au détriment de l'orchestre, un peu noyé au fond de la salle, Gitlis y démontre encore à 75 ans ans une autorité instrumentale, une énergie et un goût du risque qui n'échapperont à personne. Il parvient même à trouver une étonnante liberté de phrasé dans un texte pourtant millimétré, qui ne laisse d'ordinaire guère de place à l'aventure (Adagio BWV 1042). Dans le double concerto, c'est Natalia Likhopoi (future épouse de Viktor Tretyakov), qui lui donne la réplique. Fort d'un d'un ton vif et d'un enthousiasme palpable, ce duo inattendu, partout guidé par la voix d'Ivry, fonctionne. Trois pages pour violon seul, une Chaconne un rien débridée mais d'une intensité peu commune, la Fugue de la Sonate en Ut (qui en déroutera plus d'un) et la Gavotte de la Partita en Mi, captées en public à Tokyo en 1990 complètent l'album, généreusement illustré et enrichi de la discographie du violoniste que j'ai eu le plaisir de rédiger. Une facette rare et méconnue du talent d'un interprète hors du commun, indifférent aux modes, et dernier porteur d'une formidable tradition d'indépendance.»

#05/2022 (UK)

28 September 2022 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ivry Gitlis plays Bach  The richly communicative instincts of Ivry Gitlis are heard in previously unreleased Bach. |  «This year (2022) is the centenary of Ivry Gitlis’s birth (he very nearly made it to 100) and with its latest entrant in the Gitlis Edition, Rhine Classics does his many admirers a real service by releasing previously unissued Danish Radio studio recordings. Not only that, but as Gitlis left behind a meagre Bach representation it adds significantly to it. Checking Jean-Michel Molkhou’s discography, presented in the booklet, reveals that other than the haul in this disc he only recorded the Air (twice), and made one other recording of the Chaconne. Other than that – rien du tout. [...] Rather like Daniil Shafran, Gitlis has a wayward, sometimes exhausting tale to tell. But it’s a tale nonetheless and his storytelling instincts inform every phrase he plays. For all sorts of reasons these performances are not for everyone but with 24bit 96kHz remastering they can certainly be recommended to Gitlis collectors who can here appreciate his generosity of heart and his warm-blooded instincts in Bach.»

#04/2022 (FR)
2 April 2022 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | LA BELLE OUBLIÉE   « Gabriella Lengyel, this Hungarian-sounding name reminded me of something. It was under her bow that, as a child, I discovered Bartók's Duos on disc where she was talking with Anne-Marie Gründer, in a Ducretet-Thomson LP. What an emotion to find them perfectly reproduced in the imposing box that Emilio Pessina devotes to this forgotten violinist. [...]
That this bow so starved of repertoire – you will even find the 10th Sonata by Richard Flury, the Poème automnal by Respighi – is finally illustrated by such a careful publication, what a joy! »
#03/2022 (US)
Apr/May 2022 | Henry Fogel | FANFARE Issue 45:5 | Ivry Gitlis - in memoriam
« [...] In this memorial collection the finale of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and both performances of the Sibelius Concerto are propulsive and driven, but they are never out of control. There is clear purpose and direction in the playing, and Gitlis also clearly listens to the orchestra, reacting to touches of phrasing from the first-desk soloists. Throughout this entire set, in 11 hours of playing there is nothing that sounds as if Gitlis is on automatic pilot. [...]
Two exciting performances document Gitlis’s partnership with another highly individual artist, pianist Martha Argerich. Their 2006 reading of Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 18 in G, K 301, may be too intense for some listeners, but a similar approach might seem appropriate for Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata from 2003. I’ll admit to being swept away by both. One feels that the violinist and pianist are enjoying pushing each other to extremes. [...]
Some unusual repertoire adds to the value of this set, particularly Viotti’s First Violin Concerto and August Wilhelmj’s reorchestration of the first movement of Paganini’s First Violin Concerto. [...]
The level of spontaneity in Gitlis’s playing, and its extremes, means that there will be less than perfect ensemble all the time. The end of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, for instance, is a scramble. If precision is essential to your enjoyment of music, probably this is not the best place to look. But if you are willing to go along on a wild ride, there is much here that is thrilling. [...]
The quality of Rhine’s transfers, done by Emilio Pessina, is superb throughout. This is actually the label’s second Gitlis retrospective; it was preceded in 2019 by a two-CD set titled Ivry Gitlis: The Early Years, which I have not heard. [...] But in general Rhine has created a valuable tribute to one of the 20th century’s genuinely important violinists whose recorded legacy prior to the release of these two sets has been inadequate in representing his talent. »
#02/2022 (UK)
15 March 2022 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini - Mahler … and beyond  The Scarpini odysseey reaches its finale with some vivid large-scale performances  |  «This series of six volumes (33 CDs in all) has been important in drawing attention to Pietro Scarpini’s name. He was largely an absence in recording studios, his preference lying in private tapes, broadcasts and recitals, though he is remembered for his work with Furtwängler in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, a live performance that has been released by a number of labels, not least by Rhine Classics itself. [...] 
This is a well compiled and formidably performed set. Restorations are excellent and the documentation is pertinent and sports some fine photographic reproductions. It marks a fitting end to the Scarpini odyssey on this label.»
#01/2022 (FR)
January 2022 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | DIAPASON No.707 (pag.91) | Ivry Gitlis - in memoriam
#29/2021 (FR)

Dec.2021/Jan.2022 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA No.238 (pag.99) | Pietro SCARPINI (1911-1997) |  « Rhine Classics réunit le legs inespéré d'un génie du piano n'ayant presque rien laissé au disque. Un petit miracle »



#28/2021 (FR)
December 2021 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | DIAPASON No.706 (pag.111) | Henryk Szeryng - live in USA
#27/2021 (UK)

December 2021 | GRAMOPHONE | Editor's Choice | Henryk Szeryng - live in USA

#26/2021 (UK)
6 December 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ivry Gitlis - "in memoriam"     A compendious and valuable Gitlis box, a fitting memorial and retrospective  | «Its highlights include works, such as the Brahms, that are new to his discography and the opportunities for contrasts between performances of the same work. Some of the earlier broadcasts are in mono – all CD1, the Sibelius with Devos on CD2, the Brahms in CD4, and obviously the whole of CD9, but the remainder seems to be in stereo. The fine restorations are in 24bit 96 kHz. There’s a first-class booklet with full performance details, excellently reproduced photographs, and label reproductions. The booklet note is by the man who made this box happen, Emilio Pessina, and the Gitlis discography, accurate up to June 2021, is by the indefatigable Jean-Michel Molkhou. Discographies are moveable feasts so let’s hope he will be updating it before too long.»
#25/2021 (UK)
30 November 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | RECORDING OF THE YEAR 2021

Gabriella Lengyel (violin) Jenő Hubay's Last Pupil rec. 1951-1972 RHINE CLASSICS RH-018

The violinist Gabriella Lengyel (1920-1993) made only three commercial LPs in Paris – two private releases for Voxigrave in 1951, and one for Ducretet-Thomson in 1953. This accounts for the fact that she is relatively unknown today. This 9 CD set from Rhine Classics of live and studio recordings will, hopefully, redress the balance. The collection has been approved by the violinist’s brother Attila (Atty) just a year before his death in 2018. The restorations are superb, as is the accompanying documentation, with the cache of photographs an added bonus.

#24/2021 (UK)
18 November 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini - Mahler … and beyond  The sixth and final volume of a wonderful recorded legacy.   |   «This is the sixth and final volume in Rhine Classics’ Scarpini Edition, amounting to a total of 33 CDs. My reviews of the previous volumes can be found here (review ~ review ~ review ~ review ~ review). The Edition documents the pianist’s significant recordings, many of which were recorded privately.  [...] In 1950, Scarpini made a two-piano transcription of movements 2-5 of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony. Using the overdubbing technique he performed both parts. The recording was made for Italian radio, 13 February 1950. The 16” 78rpm acetate transcription discs have scrubbed up well. Scriabin’s Prometheus (Poem of Fire) performance from 24 April 1968 has all the passion and fire of Richter’s recording. Scarpini’s grand scale playing is imposing and spectacular as he weaves in and out of the narrative, with Piero Bellugi keeping his forces firmly under control. The wordless chorus is impressive. [...] Scarpini was a great advocate of Busoni’s Piano Concerto. On February 3 1966 he performed it in Cleveland under George Szell as part of the composer’s centenary celebrations. Robert Shaw took care of the choral contributions. A pupil of Busoni, Edward Weiss, reckoned that Scarpini’s interpretation of the work matched that of the composer closer than that any other pianist. [...]  Valentino Bucchi is a new name to me, and will probably be unknown to many, judging by the dearth of information on him on the internet. His Concerto in rondò, for piano and orchestra, penned in 1957, is an engaging work, neoclassically drafted, with angularity pitched against more serene and reflective moments. I like it very much, and for me it amounts to a new discovery. [...] Violinist Sandro Materassi joins forces with Scarpini for Dallapiccola’s Due Studi, for violin and piano. The first is a lugubrious Sarabande, contrasting strikingly with the jagged and dissonant Fanfare e Fuga. The four-movement Divertimento for violin and piano begins with a Pastorale, which sounds as if it’s being improvised on the spot. A Baroque-style Bourrée follows. The third movement has a hint of Paganiniana, whilst the finale is a set of variations on a declamatory chordal theme. The violin and piano items, a studio recording from 1973 released as an LP in Italy, are in a warm, cushioned intimate sound. [...] CD 5 is devoted to the Legendary Scriabin Recital given at the Sale Apollinee, Theatro La Fenice, Venice on 20 April 1963. Scarpini has a natural affinity for the composer’s piano music. His well-grounded technique favours exquisite voicing of chords, digital dexterity, layering of sound and stunning pianistic effects. His sensitive use of pedal enables him to coax myriad tonal shadings from the piano. His En Rêvant, Avec Une Grande Douceur from 2 Poèmes, Op 71 is a perfect example. He teases the rhythms, and is always alert to dynamic variance from whispering pianissimos to thundering fortissimos, and every gradient in between. His Vers la flamme (Towards the flame) is terrific, imbued with scorching volatility – real edge-of-the-seat stuff. So too is the final item of the recital the Sonata No 9, Op 68 ‘Black Mass’, perhaps the most famous of all Scriabin’s sonatas, played with an imaginative range of expression hardly equaled.
As with the previous volumes, the remasterings are superb in every respect. The accompanying booklet has some fine photos documenting the pianist’s career. The whole Scarpini project has been a labour of love for Emilio Pessina and I thank him for his commitment and endeavours.»
#23/2021 (FR)
14 November 2021 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour |  LE VIOLON PARLE  « Ivry Gitlis était devenu pour nous tous qui fréquentions les concerts parisiens une présence qui semblait éternelle. Le sourire toujours un peu moqueur, l’anecdote aisée, l’œil qui frise avant une petite saillie humoristique, au bras de Martha ou accompagné d’amis fidèles, il s’était fait une religion de venir entendre ses confrères. Qui aurait pu le penser mortel ? Certainement pas Emilio Pessina, qui après avoir publié un double album consacré à ses enregistrements de jeunesse s’était attelé à la mise au point de ce coffret, faisant écouter à Ivry les bandes d’archives qu’il dénichait. Finalement la mort sera passée par là, emportant le violoniste, et transformant ce coffret pensé pour qu’il soit publié de son vivant, en hommage.
En rien un hommage funèbre !  [...] Folie !, le Finale du Sibelius avec Gérard Devos qui entraîne le Philharmonique dans une course incendiaire. Quel archet !, qui prend tous les risques et brûle ses cordes ! Admirable Ivry, tout entier vivant dans cette somme prodigieuse, ne la ratez pas ! »
#22/2021 (UK)
19 October 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini - BEETHOVEN  Scarpini’s under-the-radar legacy continues to expand and impress. |  « Rhine has focused extensively on the surviving legacy of Italian pianist Pietro Scarpini and you will find a number of their releases reviewed on this site. But Rhine wasn’t the only label to promote his recordings, as the late Allan Evans’ Arbiter label released a disc called ‘The Pietro Scarpini Edition’ (see review), the first of a projected series, which contained two of the performances in Rhine’s latest release. These were the Op.111 sonata and the recording by which Scarpini is best known, the Piano Concerto No.4 in the live RAI Rome performance with Furtwängler given in 1952. [...] The jump in sonics from previous restorations of the concerto to that presented by Arbiter was striking and very welcome. Quite a lot had had to be taken on trust before, but aurally things were clear and clean in their transfer and that’s the case here too, which is not surprising as I suspect that Arbiter had access to a high-quality original source, as does Rhine. I won’t repeat my comments about these two performances other than to note that one now has the opportunity to hear the two other Beethoven sonatas that Scarpini recorded on 13 March 1961 when he also performed Op.111 – namely Op.14/2 and the Pathétique. They share the resilient and technically strong elements – but above all the interpretative excellence – that so distinguished his reading of Op.111. [...] one can nevertheless admire this great Beethovenian in intimate action, his control well-nigh exemplary. It seems inconceivable, as it has throughout this entire series, that Scarpini only made one commercial recording, but he was a man who preferred the less glacial arenas of live performance and home taping. He is not alone in that.
The booklet presentation is customarily attractive and 24bit 96 kHz remastering has been employed throughout. Scarpini’s legacy can now be seen in all its variety and richness in this series of Rhine releases and this latest example is no less impressive than the previous examples.»
#21/2021 (UK)
15 October 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ivry Gitlis - in memoriam "inédits et introuvables"     A handsome tribute | «This 9 CD set, newly released by Rhine Classics, bears the title “in memoriam”. It celebrates the long and distinguished life of Ivry Gitlis. He died last December at the grand old age of ninety-eight, but it also looks forward to next year, which is the hundredth anniversary of his birth. [...] These radio broadcasts, live airings, original masters, 78s and LP recordings have been splendidly compiled and the 24bit 96 kHz restorations have been lovingly tendered. These new-comers significantly expand the Gitlis discography. The booklet offers some beautifully reproduced photographs of the violinist. There’s one photograph at the end of the booklet showing Ivry Gitlis pictured with the set’s producer Emilio Pessina which, in some way, attests to the devotion Pessina has to the artist. Jean-Michel Molkhou has provided an up to date complete discography of the violinist, running to some thirteen pages; I found it very useful. All told, this collection is a handsome tribute to a great violinist, whose individuality and sometimes maverick approach singles him out as an artist worthy of your attention.»
#20/2021 (UK)
5 October 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Henryk Szeryng - CHAUSSON, PAGANINI, HAHN live in USA     Two works new to Szeryng’s studio discography makes this an appetising release. | «Whilst live performances by Szeryng are not uncommon it’s always exciting when hearing him perform works he never recorded commercially and that’s the case with Chausson’s Poème and Reynaldo Hahn’s Concerto. [...] The Chausson receives a vivid, masculine reading which vests the music with a real sense of drama far removed from some rather more evanescent performances. Though oriented toward the Franco-Belgian school, Szeryng here marries tonal purity with expressive breadth and a real sense of theatrical flair. The orchestra, invariably tagged as the most Gallic of American ensembles, plays its role too as does Tilson Thomas whose accompaniment matches Szeryng’s in boldness, drawing out the music’s full complement of romantic fervour. There’s no question that Szeryng’s rich vibrancy is gloriously on show here. [...]  The music’s fearsome demands are surmounted with evangelical bravura by Szeryng, and he and Tilson Thomas relish Paganini’s explicitly Rossinian élan. Rhythmically the results are biting and exciting, and Szeryng is just as fine in the graceful cantabile of the slow movement, as the violin spins its succulent line over accompanying orchestral pizzicati figures, as in the magnificently bowed Polacca finale, with a full array of soloistic colour. [...] The Hahn is an exceptional rarity on disc. Szeryng is especially effective in the intermezzo-like lyric beauty of the slow movement, where Hahn’s orchestration is both apt and precise, as he is in the vif et gai pirouetting of the acrobatic finale. Though he is on less Olympian form than in the Paganini and Chausson works, this is a fortunate survival as Szeryng was to die just over three months later.
Some applause and tuning (both cut short) have been included, the recorded sound in both concerts is very fine indeed, and the notes are good. Presenting two works new to Szeryng’s discography should prove to be a particular draw, not least in such handsomely accomplished readings.»
#19/2021 (UK)
15 September 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini, Vol.5 - BEETHOVEN   Performances which certainly do honour to the music. | «This volume is devoted to Beethoven and consists of a live solo recital given in Milan on 13 March 1961, a concerto recording dated 19 January 1952 and three home studio recordings from the 1970s. [...] The 1952 live recording of the Furtwängler/Scarpini/RAI Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4 has had several incarnations on CD, and collectors will be familiar with the performance. I’m told that many are poor-sounding, certainly the Urania release that I’m familiar with is. Comparing it to this new transfer suggests that Emilio Pessina has had access to excellent source material. Whereas the Urania transfer is muddy and dimly lit, this remastering restores a favorable balance between soloist and orchestra, and the overall picture isn’t as sonically constricted. The piano line is brighter and more defined. Furtwängler is a sensitive partner and is with the soloist all the way, allowing a certain amount of freedom and flexibility. The finale, though not as fast as some, is nevertheless rhythmically buoyant and engaging. [...]  The booklet contains a cameo portrait of the pianist by the producer and audio restorer Emilio Pessina in addition to some interesting black and white photographs of the artist. Detailed track listings, timings and dates are included. As to the audio quality, these documents derive from a variety of sources and have undergone 24bit 96 kHz remastering. The Milan recital sounds excellent. The 1952 concerto recording, whilst not having the same cleanness, projects the Scarpini tone very well. The home studios have the intimacy and closeness one would expect. I totally concur with Mr. Pessina who lauds Scarpini as a “true interpreter of the classics”.»
#18/2021 (UK)
12 September 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Henryk Szeryng - CHAUSSON, PAGANINI, HAHN live in USA     A fiddle player of sovereign instrumental mastery, refinement and artful musicianship. | «[...] the second concert, dated 20 November 1987, features the Violin Concerto of Reynaldo Hahn. Szeryng’s crisp, incisive bowing adds spice and sparkle to the proceedings. These are live recordings and the applause has been retained to evoke the live concert experience. The sound quality cannot be faulted, and one can only assume that Emilio Pessina, the producer and audio restorer, has had access to fine source material. The booklet is written by Gary Lemco who discusses both Szeryng’s art and the background and context to the works performed. It’s certainly a disc to treasure. »
#17/2021 (UK)

July 2021 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE | Great Musicians from under the Radar : Aldo FERRARESI & Pietro SCARPINI

#16/2021 (FR)
4 ☆☆☆☆ | May 2021 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | DIAPASON No.700 | Gabriella Lengyel   « Des disciples de Jeno Hubay, Gabriella Lengyel est sans doute l'une des plus oubliées. [...] Ce généreux coffret à l'appareil éditorial exemplaire ne se contente pas d'exhumer sa très modeste discographie officielle, il la complète par des archives radio suisses inédits et souvent d'une excellente qualité sonore. Le répertoire, considérable, inclut des concertos de Hubay et Respighi (avec Jan Koetsier), Lalo (Max Sturzenegger), Brahms (Ernest Ansermet), Haydn (Urs Joseph Flury). A une vaste collection de sonates s'ajoutent une intégrale des oeuvres pour violon et piano de Schubert (avec son frère Atty au piano) ainsi que de nombreuses pages de XXe siècle, notamment hongroises. La violoniste, dotée d'une sonorité vibrante et d'un style typique de son école d'origine, révèle une personnalité attachante, un pathétisme à fleur de peau. A ce titre, son concerto de Brahms, capté live à Genève le 15 Octobre 1958, est d'une intensité rappelant Joahanna Martzy, autre élève de Hubay, sans atteindre néanmoins sa suprème maitrise technique. [...] L'Opus 78 de Brahms (en Studio à Paris en 1951, avec Max Geiger) est habité d'une touchante tendresse. [...] Pour les amateurs de raretés. »
 #15/2021 (DE) 
May 2021 | | PREIS DER DEUTSCHEN SCHALLPLATTEN KRITIK | Gabriella Lengyel - Jenö Hubay’s last pupil | Works by Béla Bartók, Benjamin Britten, Johannes Brahms, Ernst von Dohnányi, Ferenc Farkas, Joseph Haydn etc. Various orchestras and conductors. 9 CDs, Rhine Classics RH-018 .

Gabriella Lengyel won the second prize in an international music competition in Vienna in 1937. In the review of the award winners’ concert, it said: »A petite, dark-haired girl, the violinist Gabriella Lengyel, appears and plays a virtuoso Valse Caprice with such gorgeous verve and dazzling technique that one was involuntarily reminded of Erika Morini when she was still an adolescent teenager celebrating her first triumphs.« That was no exaggeration. The recordings made available for this edition by the Swiss violinist, composer, and conductor Urs Joseph Flury demonstrate a system of values primarily oriented towards substance. For the jury: Wolfgang Wendel
 #14/2021 (UK) 

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, resembling in at least that one respect the French-born violinist Jean Ter-Merguerian, a player of Armenian ancestry noted for his seamless bowing, and whose tonal properties include a fast vibrato and a sound that's far leaner than Lengyel's, certainly in the featured Brahms Concerto recorded at his American debut (Boston, 1975) under Arthur Fiedler.  Highlights here are a sizzling account of Khachaturian Concerto under Michael Maluntsian and various collaborations with the pianist Pierre Barbizet, including a bright and keenly driven Beethoven Triple Concerto (with a superb cellist, Yvan Chiffoleau) and Sonatas 1, 7, and 9, where Barbizet's playing, although not note-perfect, is so much freer and seemingly 'off the cuff' than it is on his earlier recordings with Christian Ferras, the First Sonata including its first-movement repeat (which it doesn't on either of the Ferras/Warner Classics versions). Also, Sarasate's Caprice Basque (wonderful!), and, of especial beauty, Mozart's Sonata K.378, while the set also includes the 1990 Sonata by composer-pianist Gérard Gasparian (dedicated to Ter-Merguerian) and music by Komitas. 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.  »

 #13/2021 (UK)
6 April 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino - live in USA  «The documentation of Sergio Fiorentino’s tours continues with this 9-CD box that contains American concert performances given between 1996-98. Rhine Classics has retained concert integrity, and doesn’t intersperse performances from one concert throughout the box, allowing one to hear whole performances except for those occasions when too much duplication would have been involved, even for his greatest admirers. The result is either a complete concert or items from complete concerts. [...] The various Newport Music Festival concerts and venues are outlined in the excellent booklet and there is an index of works performed as well as detailed track listings. Everything has been remastered to a high degree except where the original source material is inevitably somewhat compromised (that Alice Tully Hall concert but it’s the only such example). Some photographs grace the booklet – there’s a very good one of the charmingly reserved Fiorentino, in tie and tails, and the looming Igor Kipnis, for example - and some of the programmes are reprinted along with some of the adulatory critical responses from the local critics. Add this to your Rhine Classics’ Rachmaninov set and his Taiwan disc and then consider it alongside his Berlin recordings to reach a truly impressive overview of Fiorentino in the 1990s. »
#12/2021 (FR)
April 2021 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA No.231 (p. 107) Pianos d'hier - Re(Découvertes)  |  Sergio Fiorentino live in USA 1996-1998 « ... le pianiste napolitain déboutonna son piano dans un programme conclu par un feu d'artifice de pièces de virtuosité. Le public de l'East Coast avait trouvé son nouveau Jorge Bolet. [...] des raretés jouées avec une élégance poétique venue d'un autre temps [...] où la fantaisie s'allie à un chic irrésistible, enthousiasmant le public. » 
#11/2021 (UK)
25 March 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino (piano) - live in USA  «Life-enriching performances. | This recently released 9CD collection from Rhine Classics documents Sergio Fiorentino’s live performances in the USA between 1996 and 1998. [...] He opens three of his recitals with Bach, transcribed by Busoni. There’s clarity of articulation and delineation of polyphonic lines in the fugues, with the preludes grandiloquent and soul-searching. [...] Poetry, intimacy and warmth inform Schubert’s Sonata in B flat, D960. Fiorentino has full measure of the work’s architecture and structure. The dark elemental forces of the slow movement make their presence felt, with the bright and joyous Scherzo providing some relieving balm. The genial song-like character of the outer movements of the Sonata in A major D 664 is a welcome counterpoise to the melancholic and bittersweet flavour of the central Andante. [...] It’s worth mentioning a superb performance of the epic Chopin's Fourth Ballade from Boston Radio on CD 9. It captures the striking contrasts between tender lyricism and violent drama. [...] Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No 2 in G-sharp minor, Op 19 “Sonata-Fantasy”. Fiorentino’s impressionistic colours and myriad shadings conjure a mystical effect, and the second movement’s  pianissimos are breathtaking. [...] It’s pleasing to hear the pianist in chamber music collaborations, and there are two marvelous examples in the collection. Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat Major for Piano and Winds, Op 16 [...] the Franck Quintet, taped in Newport a year earlier, is a reading of emotional urgency and smouldering potency. The wistful slow movement radiates an autumnal glow, with the framing outer movements heated and intense.. [...] The material derives from several sources and has been expertly restored by the 24bit/96Khz  remastering process. The audio quality throughout is, for the most part, very good. The booklet includes detailed track listings and timings, in addition to a selection of contemporary reviews of the concerts by eminent critics. Photographs of Fiorentino relaxing at the pool table are a pleasing bonus. A quote from Eric Johnson, Director of Yamaha Artist Services (October 1998), encapsulates what this compelling collection has to offer: “My life is richer from having known and heard him”. »

 #10/2021 (UK)

March 2021 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg. 88) | REPLAY Some Legendary Pianists    « Rob Cowan's monthly survey of historic reissues and archive recordings --  [...] referenced by Sergio Fiorentino in a revealing interview included on Rhine Classics' impressive "Live in USA 1996-97-98", where this belatedly discovered great (though modest) pianist offers dazzlingly direct accounts of such major works as Schumann's Fantasie, Op.17 (various versions are included), Beethoven's Op.110 and Rachmaninov's Second Sonata. There are copious Chopin selections, Brahms' Op.39 Waltzes and quintets by Franck and Beethoven (with excellent young players) recorded at the Newport Festival. Fiorentino's signature qualities of brilliance, clarity, fluency, attention to inner voices, thunderous climaxes and frequent delicacy inform virtually everything he plays, as well as his ability to either retreat or come to the fore as necessary in chamber music, while the stereo sound quality is in general first-rate.
Another significant Rhine Classics release features the pianist Pietro Scarpini, a pupil of Casella and Respighi who performed Beethoven under Furtwängler and championed Schöenberg post-war.  Here he plays Bach - both books of The Well-Tempered Clavier and The Art of Fugue. Despite Scarpini's reputation as a fearless promoter of new music, the general manner of his Bach-playing reminds me, in its breadth and romantic rubato, of the great pianist/harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, specifically in the '48', the fugues in Book 1 especially, where he bends the line as the music unfolds. Some of his chosen tempos are extremely broad (the E minor Fugue from Book 2). On the other hand, note how sensitively he balances voices at the start of the E major Prelude from the same book, meandering ecstatically thereafter. Then there's the closing fugue from Book1, 9'54'' to compare with Landowska's 6'48, and building inexorably in austere grandeur as it progresses. [...] »

 #9/2021 (UK)
16 March 2021 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Gabriella Lengyel - Jenő Hubay’s last pupil  « 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. »
#8/2021 (FR)
1 March 2021 | Maciej Chiżyński | ResMusica | Jean Ter-Merguerian, un grand talent méconnu  « Rhine Classics publie un coffret de cinq disques dévolu à des enregistrements inconnus du violoniste arménien Jean Ter-Merguerian. Une belle découverte. [...]
Voici un album englobant plus de six heures de prestations intéressantes voire envoûtantes, offrant un bel aperçu de la carrière d’un artiste qui échappait aux clichés et qui ne recherchait pas la notoriété. Avec un excellent travail de restauration dû à Emilio Pessina, cette parution s’impose comme un must have pour les amoureux du violon. »
#7/2021 (UK)
24 February 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb 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. »
#6/2021 (UK)
January 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini, Vol.4 - BACH  « [...] In this new 6-CD set, everything is by Bach; both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier and The Art of Fugue.
Book I was recorded by RAI, Rome over three successive days in January 1961, in good mono sound. RAI’s original master tapes are lost and it was fortunate that the pianist retained his own set in his archive and it’s these that Rhine has used for its remastering. You will search in vain for signs of quixotic caprice in Scarpini’s performance. There is instead a tremendous sense of concentration and clarity, the music propelled where appropriate by animated left-hand voicings that ensure buoyancy but never overbalance the music making. [...] He is lively and robust but it’s always controlled. He uses the pedal with discretion but always with purpose and ensures that in the Fugue of No.21 the music swells with due amplitude. The concluding Fugue, the complex B minor, is given time to weave its spell. [...] He turned to the second book in the mid-70s, this time in his home studio. Whilst the majority of Book II is in mono, seven Preludes and Fugues are in stereo. His ability to phrase with unselfconscious naturalness and to balance the demands of both hands is here undimmed. The playing is again refined without becoming academic, rhythmically alive without becoming aggressive. [...] The following year, at his home studio but this time in St Moritz, he recorded himself performing The Art of Fugue ending precisely where Bach stopped. Scarpini was not quite 65 when he set down, in the course of one day, the whole work. That his technique was so formidable can’t be doubted and there are, throughout the six and a half hours of this set, very few smudges or imperfections and such as exist are largely immaterial. So it is in The Art of Fugue. Scarpini’s touch is refined, his imagination alert, his intellectual equipment attuned to the complex tapestries to be conveyed. It is a measure of his success that one listens in one uninterrupted span to his imaginative but stoically focused playing. »
#5/2021 (UK)
January 2021 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Jean Ter-Merguerian: The Soul of the Violin  « [...] Rhine Classics’ survey starts with his visit to Boston in June 1975 where he joined Arthur Fiedler, by all accounts deeply impressed by the performance, in Brahms’ Violin Concerto. [...] Fiedler conducts with vigour and Ter-Merguerian plays with sonorous attention to detail, clean, finely bowed and eschewing extraneous gestures. He takes a tempo in the finale reminiscent of Heifetz’s and drives with intensity throughout the movement. [...] He plays Bach’s Chaconne with a delicacy that avoids contrasts, preferring a linear clarity and directness. This single-minded approach operates on a narrower expressive bandwidth than more showy performances but is also more interior and less projected. [...] there seem to be no other available examples of his art, which makes this 5-CD set attractive to specialists in the field. »
#4/2021 (FR)

28 January 2021 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | DIAPASON No.697 | Jean Ter-Merguerian - Violon   «[...] Admiré - notamment pour sa technique d'archet - par Szeryng, Francescatti ou Rostropovich, il ne laisse aucune discographie officielle. C'est dire si ce coffret, doté d'une notice très documentée et réunissant des enregistrements de concert et de radio inédits, sort de l'oubli un violoniste de grand talent. Il s'ouvre par une interpétation fort inspirée du concerto de Brahms, captée en public à Boston en 1975 sous la baguette d'Arthur Fiedler, dans laquelle la maestria de Ter-Merguerian impressionne. [...] deux démonstrations de son art en solo, dans une magistrale vision de la Chaconne (Bach), toute empreinte d'humanité, et dans la Sonate n°3 d'Ysaye. [...] Ainsi sa vision, aussi incandescente que poignante, du concerto de Khachaturian en 1964, et plusieurs miniatures de Prokofiev, Sarasate, ou Komitas attestent déja une forte personnalité autant qu'une virtuosité étincelante. [...] A découvrir sans hésitation. »

" [...] Admired - notably for his bow technique - by Szeryng, Francescatti or Rostropovich, he leaves no official discography. This shows that this box set, with its very well-documented instructions and bringing together unpublished concert and radio recordings, brings a very talented violinist from oblivion. It opens with an interpretation strongly inspired by Brahms' concerto, recorded in public in Boston in 1975 under the baton of Arthur Fiedler, in which the mastery of Ter-Merguerian impresses. [...] two demonstrations of his art solo, in a masterful vision of Chaconne (Bach), all imprint of humanity, and in Sonata nr.3 by Ysaye. [...] Thus his vision, as incandescent as poignant, of the Khachaturian concerto in 1964, and several miniatures of Prokofiev, Sarasate, or Komitas already attest a strong personality as much as a sparkling virtuosity. [...] To discover without hesitation. "
#3/2021 (FR)
February 2021 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA No.229 (p. 109) Archets en majesté - Cordes et Âmes |  « l'archet électrique du méconnu Jean Ter-Merguerian »
February 2021 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | CLASSICA No.229 (p. 109) Archets en majesté - Cordes et Âmes |  « le lyrisme envoûtant de Gabriella Lengyel »
#2/2021 (CA)
16 January 2021 | Mark Ainley | The Piano Files | Favourite Releases of 2020   « Rhine Classics delivers two more releases in their Fiorentino and Scarpini series, one new set of each artist. After 2019’s jaw-dropping complete Rachmaninoff solo music by Sergio Fiorentino, 2020 saw a 9-CD set of the Italian pianist in recital in the US in the last three years of his life (1996-98). All master tapes were provided by Ernst Lumpe, the German collector who brought Fiorentino back to the concert stage and the studio (Lumpe introduced me to his playing when I first visited him in 1990). The sound is superb, as is the playing throughout – always insightful, moving, individual yet idiomatic. There is one recital at which he experienced some memory lapses, but even there his playing was mesmerizing, and each disc features some of the most sublime pianism you could hope to hear – every note, phrase, piece is beautifully played.
Pietro Scarpini is featured in a 6-CD set of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Die Kunst de Fuge, salvaged from tapes of both radio broadcasts and home sessions recorded for the pianist’s own documentation. The playing is less consistent than we hear in previous releases of Scarpini’s broadcast performances on this label (some ear- and eye-opening performances that I adore), and he can go from rather mundane phrasing to utterly sublime nuancing from one second to the next. He tends to eschew the pedal and employs some expansive ritardandi that are definitely arresting and insightful, and his overall approach reminds me of Alexander Borowsky’s account: earthy, almost rustic in its directness (he doesn’t emphasize burnished tonal colours), with a less-than-ideal instrument that almost sounds historical – a fascinating take that will be of particular interest to Scarpini fans and those exploring unconventional takes of these magnum opera.
#1/2021 (FR)
3 January 2021 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | L'ARCHET DU ROI   « Jean Ter-Merguerian [...] qu’un tel musicien n’ait pas suscité l’intérêt des éditeurs phonographiques reste un mystère, d’autant que les violonistes de cette qualité n’étaient pas légion au début des années soixante. La beauté épurée de sa sonorité, l’ampleur de ses phrasés, la haute spiritualité qu’il met à ses Sonates de Beethoven (écoutez le concert marseillais avec Pierre Barbizet) ou l’imaginaire subtil dont il pare la Première Sonate de Brahms (ses pizzicatos impondérables dans la section centrale du Vivace) font regretter qu’on ne puisse disposer de l’intégralité de son répertoire, mais du moins le coffret offre deux concertos qui montrent son génie : à Boston, pour Arthur Fiedler, un Brahms dont le Finale emporte l’audience d’admiration, et perle absolue qui permet de le placer au même degré que son maître David Oistrakh, en 1963 à Yerevan, le Concerto de Khachaturian, dont le Finale atteint tout de la perfection électrique et du sentiment de rêve éveillé, que seul y mit avant lui Julian Sitkovetsky. Entendez cet archet
stellaire !. »
" [...] That such a musician did not arouse the interest of phonographic publishers remains a mystery, especially as violinists of this quality were not numerous in the early sixties. The refined beauty of his sonority, the breadth of his phrasing, the high spirituality he brings to his Beethoven Sonatas (listen to the Marseille concert with Pierre Barbizet) or the subtle imagination with which he adorns Brahms' First Sonata (his imponderable pizzicatos in the central section of the Vivace) make one regret that we cannot have the entirety of his repertoire, but at least the box set offers two concertos that show his genius: in Boston, for Arthur Fiedler, a Brahms including the Finale wins the audience of admiration, and absolute pearl that allows to place it at the same level as its master David Oistrakh, in 1963 in Yerevan, the Khachaturian Concerto, whose Finale reaches all of the electric perfection and the feeling of daydreaming , which only Julian Sitkovetsky put in before him. Hear that stellar bow !. "
#14/2020 (FR)
27 December 2020 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | TERRE PROMISE   « Sergio Fiorentino [...] Les accidents de la vie le forcèrent à ce retrait, mais on vint le chercher, sa légende n’était pas morte, Aldo Ciccolini lorsque je lui demandais sans impertinence un jour chez lui à Asnières qui était le plus grand pianiste italien vivant, me répondit du tac au tac : « Fiorentino ». [...]  Un prodigieux concert Chopin à Newport en 1997 le montre d’une fantaisie et d’une élégance folle, ce piano-là est d’un autre temps, et c’est un éden. La joie le transfigure comme dans tout ce qu’il égrainera sur des scènes plus ou moins prestigieuses, et sur des pianos qui sont ce qu’ils sont mais ne résistent pas à qui les aime autant. Ecoutez comment il se débrouille de celui du Breakers de Newport, au clavier un peu lourd pour les Métamorphoses symphoniques que Leopold Godowsky fait subir à Johann Strauss ; l’année suivante, pour le récital Chopin, il sera mieux réglé). [...]  Au long de ses concerts, Sergio Fiorentino égrène son répertoire de prédilection, la Deuxième Sonate de Scriabine, des Rachmaninov saturés de couleurs dont une Deuxième Sonate qu’il paysage dans le plus profond de son piano, la si bémol de Schubert au trille de rossignol (car les rossignols chantent dans le grave), des Valses de Brahms, choisies parce qu’aimées, et des raretés qui pour lui étaient monnaie courante, comme le Thème et Variations de Tchaïkovski, et même comme au débotté, le Quintette avec vents de Beethoven, ou le Quintette de Franck.  [...]  Mais ses Adieux et son Opus 110 de Beethoven, sa Fantaisie de Schumann, rappellent qu’il regardait l’essentiel du répertoire de son instrument en n’en sachant tout, et qu’il le jouait ainsi, avant, avec l’élégance d’un prince, jusqu’à promener ses doigts dans les fantaisies d’ivoire et d’ébène des Valses du Rosenkavalier qu’il s’était arrangées pour lui, en reprenant la transcription de Singer pour la pimenter de personnages.  [...]  Tout cela est ici, enclos dans cette boîte parfaite, patiemment ouvragée par Emilio Pessina, et je l’en remercie. »
#13/2020 (FR)
16 December 2020 | Yves Riesel | COUACS | L'AVENIR DU PASSÉ - Numéro 2  « Jean Ter-Merguerian, ce nom ne vous dira peut-être rien. L’itinéraire de vie de cet artiste exceptionnel a sans doute contribué à le gommer du paysage. Il est heureux que la dévotion du violoniste Amara Tir, son élève, et la curiosité du label (taïwanais ! ) Rhine Classics, permettent de remettre un peu l’église au milieu du village.
Ter-Merguerian, mort en 2015 à près de 80 ans était un violoniste français né en 1935 à Marseille, d’origine arménienne. Il a fait toutes études musicales initiales à Marseille avant de partir avec sa famille en 1947 en Arménie. En 1956 il est primé à Prague, puis au Concours Tchaikovski et devient l’élève de David Oistrakh à Moscou avec lequel il continuera de travailler jusqu’en 1963. Il remporte le Long-Thibaud en 1961, est lauréat en 1963 du Concours Reine Elisabeth. Dès lors il effectue de nombreuses tournées mondiales, mais décide en 1981 de revenir en France et dans sa ville natale, où il devient à son tour professeur au Conservatoire de Marseille, alors dirigé par Pierre Barbizet. Rostropovitch déclara un jour : “Ter Merguerian est la plus belle technique d’archet du monde, tous instruments à cordes confondus !”.
Il n’y avait pratiquement rien de disponible à ce jour au disque de Jean Ter-Merguerian : c’est dire à quel point ce coffret de 5 CD est le bienvenu. On y trouve (entre autres) un concerto de Brahms vraiment magnifique avec Boston et Arthur Fiedler ; un beau récital avec la pianiste Monique Oberdoerffer (Brahms, Bach, Mozart, Saint-Saëns), des sonates de Beethoven avec Pierre Barbizet et le Triple concerto avec Chiffoleau ; un mouvement du concerto de Beethoven lors du Long-Thibaud, avec le discours de Henryk Szeryng, Président du jury ; une interprétation superlative du concerto de Katchaturian captée en Arménie en 1964…
Vous découvrirez un violoniste du plus haut niveau, impressionnant, qui, c’est absolument évident, n’a pas eu la carrière qu’il aurait pu avoir. Attention : le coffret n’est pas disponible en musique numérique (lui non plus!). On peut l’acheter sur le site de l’éditeur.
#12/2020 (UK)
13 December 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Jean Ter-Merguerian: The Soul of the Violin  « Once again, Rhine Classics have come to the rescue with an impressive cache of rare material in the form of live and radio recordings. [...] This superb collection, all the more treasured for the rarity value of Ter-Merguerian recordings, has been fondly remastered. Emilio Pessina's restorations have given them new currency. The booklet contains several photos of interest, which preserve the memory of this great, but largely forgotten, artist. This release will win a warm place in the affections of violin fanciers the world over.»
#11/2020 (UK)
4 December 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini, Vol.4 - Bach «In The Well-Tempered Clavier, we find a piece to suit "every mood and every occasion". Scarpini’s are deeply thought out interpretations, and he digs deep into the fathomless riches on offer. He’s never self-conscious or contrived. Shunning waywardness and extremes, personal mannerisms have no place in these clean cut readings. The intellectual and technical challenges are firmly within his grasp. [...] The recording of The Art of Fugue has a warm, intimate aura about it. [...] Scarpini’s gifts lie in his ability to make every line speak. It’s not all seriousness either. There is serious formality, but he’s able to infuse humour and high spirits where warranted. The more complex contrapuntal thickets are rescued from congestion by his teasing away the inner contrapuntal lines to reveal the jewels that lie therein, at the same time attaining potent cumulative power. I love the balance he strikes between the voices, never allowing one to dominate. His exquisite touch and sensitive use of pedal, where appropriate, facilitates the achievement of some luminous sonorities. This is certainly a performance that plumbs the depths of this elusive masterpiece. [...] Restorations and remasterings are in 24bit 96kHz sound, and Emilio Pessina has done a sterling job. In the ’from Baroque to Contemporary’ box I reviewed, I recall being beguiled by the Scarpini’s Bach, in transcriptions by the pianist himself and Ferruccio Busoni, and commented on the freshness and vitality of the playing, remarking that they sounded ‘fresh off the press’. I’m now firmly convinced that Pietro Scarpini a Bach player to be reckoned with.»

#10/2020 (DE)

BEST OF 2020 |  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; almost exclusively live recordings by Jean Ter-Merguerian, who was, in the eyes of colleagues like Rostropovich, Szeryng, Francescatti and Ferras, one of the greatest violinists of all time (there is no finer, nobler sound !), superb in Beethoven, Brahms and Katchaturian; late American concerts recordings (1996-1998) by the Italian master pianist Sergio Fiorentino including lovely chamber music such as Franck's Quintet or Beethoven's Quintet for Piano and Winds; and recordings of the complete Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" and "The Art of Fugue" in crystal clear clarity made by the legendary Pietro Scarpini, made in his home studio (all available from Rhine Classics, and surprisingly inexpensive, directly from their website). »

#9/2020 (UK)
ROTY-2020 | 1 December 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Recordings Of The Year 2020 (page 10) «Looking back over this awful year, where coronavirus has disrupted the lives of everyone, and many have sadly lost loved ones, reviewing has been one of the elements in my life to add some sanity and restore some balance. I've had the pleasure of savouring several interesting box sets, and these I've concentrated on for my Recordings of the Year. Franco Gulli (violin) reDiscovered - Rhine Classics RH-005. Rhine Classics are to be lauded for unearthing this wealth of live and studio recordings of the Italian violinist Franco Gulli, which span a period of forty years from 1957 to 1997. He's an artist definitely worthy of attention and this treasure trove will both delight and intrigue. Full Review»
#8/2020 (USA)
5☆☆ | 30 November 2020 | Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition | Jean Ter-Merguerian: The Soul of the Violin  « French-Armenian violin virtuoso Jean Ter-Merguerian (1935-2015) had been unknown to me prior to this Rhine Classics issue by the devoted producer Emilio Pessina, but those days are over! Testimony as to his innate musical mastery comes from such luminaries as Zino Francescatti, Henryk Szeryng – among the judges at 1961 Ninth Long-Thibaud Competition in 1961 – Christian Ferras, and Mstislav Rostropovich, who had asserted, “Merguerian possesses the most perfect bow technique in all the world, of all stringed instruments combined.” [...] For a compendium Ter-Merguerian’s sublime control of violin effects, few works suffice with such a grand scale as the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita in D Minor, which adds to the challenges an emphasis on articulation and stamina of contrapuntal line. [...] ...I want to extend my thanks for revealing an artist in Ter-Merguerian of awesome power and integrity, a rival to Kogan, Ferras, and his own, beloved Oistrakh...»
#7/2020 (USA)
4 October 2020 | Jed Distler | | Big Boxes: A Major Violinist Rediscovered  «The eminent violinist and pedagogue Franco Gulli (1926-2001) may be familiar to collectors mainly through his stellar contributions to I Musici’s Vivaldi Edition on the Philips label. Yet his virtuosity, musicianship, and repertoire covered ample territory. One could argue that professionals and string connoisseurs were more cognizant of Gulli’s artistry than the public at large; in this sense Gulli stood as an Italian counterpart to the American Oscar Shumsky. Emilio Pessina, the mastermind behind Rhine Editions and a longtime Gulli admirer, aims to put things right with an 11-disc anthology that showcases the violinist in a wide range of solo, chamber, and orchestral works. [...]» Artistic Quality: 9
#6/2020 (FR)
20 July 2020 | Maciej Chizynski | ResMusica | Ivry Gitlis, le chaman du violon «Rhine Classics publie des enregistrements inédits d'Ivry Gitlis, réalisés les quinze premières années de sa carrière internationale de soliste, mettant à notre disposition des extraits de neuf récitals qu’il donna entre 1949 et 1963, en studio comme en public, accompagné de Maurice Perrin, Odette Pigault, André Collard, Antonio Beltrami et Florencia Raitzin. Né à Haïfa de parents originaires de Kamenets-Podolski, une ville à la double histoire ukrainienne et polonaise, Ivry Gitlis a aujourd’hui quatre-vingt-dix-huit ans et c’est l’une des personnalités du violon les plus charismatiques de son temps, qui, comme un chaman, possède le pouvoir d’ensorceler son public. Formé auprès de Bronisław Huberman, Jacques Thibaud, Georges Enesco, Carl Flesch et d’autres, Gitlis interprète la musique à travers le prisme de sa propre individualité. [...] Ce double disque de Rhine Classics nous offre non seulement deux heures et demie de belles musiques, mais également un livret agrémenté de photos rares. Signalons que le label Profil Medien a récemment publié un autre coffret dévolu à cet artiste, d’intérêt secondaire car dans une édition beaucoup moins soignée et dont le contenu doublonne partiellement avec cette parution.»
#5/2020 (UK)
22 May 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Aldo Ferraresi - The Gigli of the Violin   « [...] As is par for the course with Rhine Classics, presentation is top-drawer, from the well-constructed card box to the individual sleeves which hold the discs. The booklet runs to thirty-one pages, and offers the purchaser a detailed discography of the contents with track listings and dates of performances. What further impressed me were the seven pages of photographs offering a telling panorama of the artist’s life and career. Audio restorer Emilio Pessina has worked a miracle with his source material (radio masters, 78rpms, 33rpms and reel-to-reel tapes). No connoisseur of the art of violin playing would want to be without this remarkable collection. It will certainly take pride of place on my shelves.»

#4/2020 (DE)

March-May 2020 | Christoph Schlüren | CRESCENDO (pg. 36) | BELCANTO ON THE VIOLIN  «Emilio Pessina is working with the Taiwan-based Rhine Classics label to extend the protection period for sound recordings in the European Union.  --  With massive lobbying, the market leaders in the field of sound recordings succeeded in extending the protection period for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years in 2011 with a decision by the European Parliament, which waved this new regulation into ruin and thus drove many smaller labels and willfully withheld recordings from the listener, that should have been public domain for a long time. What can you do to avoid this EU terror? Emilio Pessina from Veneto is one of the best connoisseurs of historical recordings worldwide, and he decided to leave the mastered or remastered recordings to the Taiwan-based Rhine Classics label, which now provides listeners worldwide with direct sales with the treasures that come from are not allowed to drive us away. And after a few years, the Rhine Classics catalog is one of the most attractive on the historic market. So I arranged some of these Taiwanese CD boxes. The mail takes one to two weeks, the prices including shipping are lower than they would be through a distribution in this country (  The look is appealing, the workmanship stable, the sound quality excellent, the booklet texts contain the essential information and sometimes more. And the musical discoveries are sensational, both in terms of repertoire and the class of performances.
Franco Gulli (1926-2001), the greatest Italian violin virtuoso of the 20th century, is present with an 11-CD box in concerts by Bach, Mozart, Viotti, Beethoven, Paganini, Chausson, Busoni, Bartók or Schoeck, setting both technically and musical standards, with incredibly clearly focused playing, every note is deliberately designed, all in the service of a far-reaching vocalism and a perfect taste. His concert recordings of two works by Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1892-1965), the unknown grand master of Italian modernism, stand out particularly well: the "Divertimento in D" (with Lovro von Matačić) and the "Contrappunti per tre archi e orchestra" (with Bruno Giuranna, viola, Giacinto Caramia, cello, and Sergiu Celibidache). This is music on a par with Bartók, Ravel, Schönberg, Hindemith and Shostakovich that the interested person must know, and it is played here unsurpassed. Of course, Gulli can also be heard with his wife Enrica Cavallo, in sonatas and other duos, and you can be touched without feeling any sentimentality.
I didn't know Aldo Ferraresi (1902-1978) from Ferrara. He was one of the world's best violinists, but refusing to be a professor at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia is typical. He loved his home too much, and no artist has ever thanked it. He plays on 18 CDs and others. the violin concertos by Khachaturian and Walton under the direction of the composers, and alongside other classics (a lot of Paganini), he can be heard with rarities from composers whose names are unlikely to be known here: Stjepan Šulek in D minor Concerto in succession Dvořák in nostalgic B minor Concert by Alfredo D'Ambrosio, a veristic "Sonata drammatica" with orchestra by Carlo Jachino, virtuoso concert pieces by Allegra and Mannino and above all the highly dramatic violin concerto by Mario Guarino (1900-1971) from 1948, plus sonatas by Guarino, Franco Alfano and Karl Höller. Ferraresi is a born violinist with an almost gypsy-like, quasi-improvvisando attitude, always with a warm, bright tone and natural bel canto.
The Hubay's student Wanda Luzzato (1919-2002) seems to lead us straight back to the tradition of the 19th century (on 8 CDs), and can even be heard in a rehearsal with Ghedini. The fulminant "violin solo sonata" by Vittorio Giannini and concerts by Ginastera, Jaques-Dalcroze and Carlos Veerhoff will be presented by the world famous Italian-American violin virtuoso Ruggiero Ricci. And Alfonso Mosesti (1924-2018) presents alongside Leone Sinigaglia the lost violin concerto by the Trieste master Antonio Illersberg (1882-1953).»

#3/2020 (UK)
19 February 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino, Rachmaninov complete solo piano works live  «[...] Fiorentino was a formidable Bach interpreter, but his leanings were mainly towards the romantic period of Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Scriabin and Rachmaninov. His technique was outstanding and memory prodigious, but he shunned showmanship and instead strived to penetrate to the heart of the piece he was playing. His interpretations are notable for their freedom of expression, a trait common to pianists of the late 19th century. [...] The sound quality is consistently good throughout. The accompanying documentation ticks all the right boxes in supplying context surrounding the project, and the photographs are an added source of interest. Rachmaninov fans certainly will not be disappointed having a cycle of the complete solo works, captured with the spontaneity and freshness the live recital affords.» 
#2/2020 (UK)
17 January 2020 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino, live in Taiwan   «[...] Serenity and poise characterize the opening of Beethoven’s Op. 110. I am particularly struck by the immaculate voicing of chords at the beginning. One feels doubt and despair in the dark and brooding Adagio, and the following fugal section is deftly articulated. This is a performance in which I sense the probing depth of Schnabel and spiritual dimension of Kempff. [...] Fiorentino performs Rachmaninov’s 1931 revision of his Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat Major. This big-boned reading showcases the pianist’s supreme technical command. He achieves a wide dynamic range, from thunderous fortissimos to whispering pianissimos. In the second movement, there are some tender lyrical moments, radiantly expressed. The finale is intense and impassioned. [...] Three months later, on 22 August, Fiorentino sadly died. That gives added poignancy to this live concert. The beautiful audio restorations come courtesy of Emilio Pessina, with enthusiastic applause thankfully retained.» 
#1/2020 (USA)
Jan./Feb.2020 | Ned Kellenberger | American Record Guide | Ivry Gitlis -  early years  «These discs include concert, studio, and radio performances. For anyone looking for an introduction to the famous violinist, they display the strengths and weaknesses that would attach to Gitlis for his entire career. At his best, he fascinates and amazes us with his eclectic and non-traditional interpretations. The narrowness and speed that he attains with his vibrato allow for remarkable intensity in the sound and serve as an homage to Ginette Neveu, who tragically died as Gitlis’s career was emerging. Christian Ferras also had such a vibrato and sound at his disposal, but it was wielded in less iconoclastic contexts. At his worst, Gitlis ignores basic imperatives about sound, playing with tightness here, scrapes there. He slaps the string percussively and tastelessly when there is no musical imperative. His spontaneity causes great unevenness: the piece sounds exactly as it should, and then it sounds exactly as it should not; it strikes gold, and then it strikes quicksand. Almost every performance is a rollercoaster, and this grows more and more tiresome and irksome the more one listens. The bad habits are especially noticeable in the German repertoire. Stay away from his Brahms and Bach. They activate tepid interest, but inconsistencies in sound ruin them. The sound is not round or rich, and it never oozes out the instrument, appearing by commandment and not by request. He almost always plays on the surface of the string and not with consistent weight, descending into a pile of cheap tricks that do not substitute for serious music-making. Both Brahms and Bach would appreciate his freedom of pacing but not the contempt that he sometimes shows toward tradition. Gitlis is interesting, but he is derailed by his deliberate ignorance of sound. The Chausson Poeme is a fabulous performance. It sounds sometimes as if Gitlis physically moves away from the microphone when the sound grows distant at certain climaxes, but one gets the impression that this setting of poetry is perfect for him. It does not demand the continuity, patience, or discipline of traditional forms employed by Beethoven and Brahms. I prefer Josef Hassid’s recording of the Achron for its emotional depth and closeness, but Gitlis’s rendition is effective as a dream even if it has a slight scent of superficiality. The Bartok appears twice, and the concert performance from 1963 on the second disc is better than the first one. I [1st mvmt] of Tartini shows Gitlis at his most charming and inventive. When he takes care of his sound, he is one of the greatest violinists of the 20th Century.»
 #43/2019 (CAN)
Favourite Releases of 2019 | 31 December 2019 | Mark Ainley | THE PIANO FILES   « The Rhine Classics label has set a  high standard for their releases of various historical performers, with productions featuring two pianists in particular capturing my attention this past year (originally planned for 2018, these sets in fact came out this past Spring). First off is an utterly mindblowing release of the complete Rachmaninoff solo piano music by Italian master pianist Sergio Fiorentino, an artist I came to know through the great German collector Ernst Lumpe, to whom the piano world owes a huge debt of gratitude for coaxing the master out of retirement and ensuring that his last decade of concerts was recorded. In this set, we find in absolutely stunning sound quality Fiorentino’s masterful traversals of Rachmaninoff’s solo works, the golden sheen of his sound and refinement of his nuancing as captivating as his passionate and intelligent interpretations. Truly a must-have for every Rachmaninoff fan and every Fiorentino fan – which should equate with every lover of great piano playing! (Their release of a 1998 Fiorentino recital in Taiwan is another must.)

The label continues its tribute to the obscure and rather mysterious pianist Pietro Scarpini with a stellar release of 12 CDs of ‘Discovered Tapes’ featuring works ‘from Baroque to Contemporary,’ both solo and with orchestra. Their previous releases of this unique pianist were exemplary as well – the Busoni Concerto is a real favourite – and this set includes a stupendous Prokofiev Second Concerto with the great Mitropoulos in better sound than any previous release, as well as dozens of never-before-released recordings. His solo Prokofiev is equally captivating, as is his Bartok Third Concerto and so much else. His fusion of intellectual and robustness makes for captivating listening. That legendary New York Prokofiev Second Concerto – on Youtube, from a different source tape (not as good as what is available in this set) – gives a taste of the magical pianism in the Scarpini release. »

 #42/2019 (FR)
28 December 2019 | Maciej Chizynski | ResMusica | À emporter, CD | L’œuvre pour piano seul de Sergueï Rachmaninov par Sergio Fiorentino    «À l’automne de sa vie, Sergio Fiorentino enregistre l’intégrale de l’œuvre pour piano seul de Sergueï Rachmaninov, caressant l’oreille par la netteté du toucher comme par la simplicité. Un souffle divin se diffusait dans l’Auditorium Domenico Scarlatti RAI à Naples et animait Sergio Fiorentino lorsqu’il donnait au public, en septembre 1987, ces récitals entièrement dévolus à la musique de l’un de ses compositeurs préférés, transférés au disque à partir de bandes originales par Emilio Pessina. Fiorentino en connaît par cœur chaque note, paraît-il, ainsi que chaque pause, et il nous désarme par la sincérité et la suavité de ses interprétations, baignées de délicatesse et de couleurs lumineuses. [...] Le jeu de Sergio Fiorentino révèle un extraordinaire sens du panache, de la poésie et du raffinement des couleurs. Comme par magie, ses phrasés chantent avec pureté et douceur, en évoquant toute une palette d’émotions et une multitude d’ambiances. On est saisi aussi bien par les nuances piano, surprenantes de velouté, que par les forte profonds et pourtant jamais criards. [...] »
#41/2019 (UK)
December 2019 | GRAMOPHONE AWARDS 2019 (pg. 134) | Rob Cowan | REPLAY Masters of the bow | Franco Gulli - reDiscovered    «The remarkably communicative violinist Franco Gulli could be as sublimely affecting in Bach (the two solo violin concertos) as he was consistently on the ball in Bartók’s Concerto No 2 (expressive, too, under Mario Rossi in 1959) and Prokofiev’s First (under Sergiu Celibidache in 1957). Gulli, born in 1926, started playing aged five and by the end of the 1930s was expanding his repertoire to embrace Busoni, whose Violin Concerto is represented in a remarkably assured performance from 1997, when Gulli was 70. Of equal artistic import is his 1973 performance of Schoeck’s colourful Violin Concerto. His 1957 account of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole (four-movement version) has something of Bronisław Huberman’s gypsy-style temperament about it and yet his approach to the standard classics (Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn) is often sublimely beautiful, as is his 1964 account of Viotti’s Concerto No 22, possibly the finest I’ve ever heard. Also included are dazzling Paganini (Concertos Nos 1, 2 and 5) and works by Ned Rorem, Ghedini, Bloch (including a riveting account of the First Solo Suite) and others. This is an excellent, often revelatory collection...» 
 #40/2019 (UK)
December 2019 | GRAMOPHONE AWARDS 2019 (pg. 133) | Rob Cowan | BOX-SET Round-up | Sergio Fiorentino - Rachmaninov Complete Solo Piano Works Live    «Sergio Fiorentino’s live coverage of Rachmaninov’s complete solo piano music on Rhine Classics presents a different sort of problem, though certainly not in terms of interpretation (most of it was recorded in 1987), which favours a manner of impassioned directness that often recalls the composer’s own playing. True, the piano tone can be brittle, and Fiorentino isn’t always technically infallible, but there’s real fire on display here, especially in the sonatas (No 2 is offered in the 1931 revision) and the two sets of preludes. [...] As to the rest, Fiorentino’s unguarded impetuosity is impressive and there are bonuses with orchestra in the guise of the First Piano Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody. I played these performances many times...» 
#39/2019 (UK)
17 December 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Franco Gulli - reDiscovered  «[...] The recordings span a period of forty years from 1957 to 1997 and derive from a variety of sources. What we have are live broadcasts, original masters and studio recordings (LP 33 RPM). The project has been realized under the auspice of Giuliana and the Gulli family. The audio restoration has been expertly achieved by Emilio Pessina, with annotations supplied by Paolo Pessina. [...]
The whole package smacks quality, from the sturdy box to the beautifully produced booklet. Track detail listings and a useful biographical portrait are desirable elements. Violin mavens will be equally drawn to the photos of Gulli with notable colleagues - Oistrakh, Kogan, Szigeti and Stern. Equally attractive are the individual photos of the violinist which adorn all eleven CD sleeves.  Sound quality is variable throughout, but this comes as no surprise taking into account the provenance of the recordings. Overall you’ll be more than satisfied. The original master tapes offer warmth and intimacy.
All told, this highly desirable collection offers an amalgam of engrossing repertoire, refined musicianship and passionate commitment.»
 #38/2019 (FR)
Dec.2019/Jan.2020 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | Classica No.218 (p. 91) | Franco Gulli - The refined bow of the Italian violinist sang like a nightingale and could hatch the spring.   «[...] But to take the measure of his art and his repertoire, it is necessary to immerse oneself in the live recordings, from the 1950s to the end of the 1990s, which Emilio Pessina has just assembled in the bounding box set by Rhine Classics, portrait finally faithful of the most belcantist among violinists.»
Franco Gulli - Rediscovered. Rhine Classics RH-005 (11CD), 1957-1999, CHOC◗ 
 #37/2019 (FR)
December 2019 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | Diapason No.685 (p.119)
#36/2019 (UK)
31 October 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary   «The disconcerting paucity of a commercial discography makes the enterprising Rhine Classics Scarpini Edition, collections of tapes and home recordings of his concerts and radio broadcasts, all the more precious. Two previous volumes focussed on Mozart works (2 CDs) and Busoni & Liszt (6 CDs). [...] This more substantial box titled 'from Baroque to Contemporary' offers a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work, embracing music that's familiar in addition to generous helpings of mouth-watering rarities. For me, the whole series has been a voyage of discovery [...] In terms of production quality and presentation, Rhine Classics is once again true to form with this superb collection. The audio restorations are remarkable and the whole Scarpini project has been a labour of love. The beautifully produced booklet photographs add further to the appeal of the package. The Pietro Scarpini Edition is a sterling achievement, which gets my wholehearted recommendation for resuscitating the memory of a long-forgotten artist.» 
#35/2019 (UK)
October 2019 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg. 111) | REPLAY More from Scarpini   «Rhine Classics’ second collection devoted to the potently intellectual piano virtuoso Pietro Scarpini (‘the Rubinstein of contemporary music’) crosses with Documents’ Rosbaud set on the repertoire front with compelling performances of Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon (in English this time, with Alvar Lidell) and Pierrot lunaire (with a bittersweet Magda László). Also included is an expressive and alert account of the Piano Concerto under Antonio Pedrotti. Scarpini’s reading of Rachmaninov’s Corelli Variations is the nearest thing I can imagine to a recording by the composer himself (which, as it happens, we don’t have), his style similarly taut and impassioned, the level of concentration awesome. Brahms’s and Prokofiev’s second piano concertos (under Vittorio Gui and Dimitri Mitropoulos respectively) pay particular attention to intelligence, rhetoric and scale, both performances facing the music’s fearsome technical challenges head-on. Six Scriabin Sonatas as well as some Op.11 Preludes and Prometheus (under Piero Bellugi) demonstrate Scarpini’s ability to balance form and content, while his mastery of major Romantic works sheds light on Schubert’s D959 Sonata (more adventurous than austere) and Schumann’s Humoreske. Works by Bach as transcribed by Scarpini and others are also included. The recordings (1950–68) range from acceptable to excellent.» 
#34/2019 (UK)
27 September 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -1- concertos   «So far, I've savoured the delights on offer in the volumes devoted to showpieces and sonatas. This third volume in Rhine Classics’ Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition spotlights the violinist's concerto performances. These derive from live recitals and studio broadcasts aired between 1951 and 1978. [...] An added bonus is that the collection contains some rarities that the artist never set down commercially, such mouth-watering gems as the Paganini Violin Concerto No.6, and those by Ginastera, Jaques-Dalcroze and Carlos Heinrich Veerhoff. [...] The excellent 24bit 96kHz remasterings have been expertly realized by the capable hands of Emilio Pessina. The attractive liner embodies a detailed tracklisting with some nicely reproduced photos of Ricci. There's so much to treasure amongst this collection of immeasurable riches.»
#33/2019 (LU)
23 September 2019 | Uwe Krusch | | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -3- sonatas    «Although born in the United States, Ruggiero Ricci was one of the most famous violinists from Italian descendance. The collection of four discs shows his chamber music activities through all epochs in a technically superb form. In addition to the interpretation style that is no longer common today, much beautiful playing can be discovered. This collection is a valuable tribute to this great artist.»
#32/2019 (UK)
27 August 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -3- sonatas   «This is the second of three sets I am in the process of reviewing dedicated to the great violinist Ruggiero Ricci, who died at the age of 94 at his home in Palm Springs, California in August 2012. Rhine Classics timed the releases for 2018, hence their billing as The Centenary Edition. [...] Beethoven is represented by Sonatas 1 and 10, and the pianists are Carlo Bussotti and Ferenc Rados respectively. Each is a partnership of equals, and listening to these glowing accounts makes one regret that the artist never set down a complete cycle. Also with Bussotti, there’s a compelling performance of Bloch's turbulent First Sonata, alternating ritualistic rhythmic intensity with passages of serene surrender. [...] It's a treat to have the Saint-Saëns’ First Sonata, a wonderful work, not programmed enough in my view. [...] This fascinating set offers a veritable feast, covering a wide variety of repertoire. I immediately warmed to the sound quality and balance of all the recordings. All told this is a worthy centenary tribute.» 
#31/2019 (UK)
29 July 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -2- showpieces   «Ricci, intrepid and daring, in the sort of music he excelled in. If you're a Ruggiero Ricci fan, then the news is good. The Taiwan-based Rhine Classics has released three box-sets of live recitals and broadcasts featuring the violinist, who died in 2012 aged ninety-four. There's a 6-CD box of concerto performances, and two 4-CD sets of sonatas and showpieces. It's the latter I will turn my attention to in this review. [...] It was in the showpiece genre that I first became acquainted with the artist’s playing. The recitals in this new release span forty years, and derive from live concerts and studio recordings set down between 1946 and 1986. Much of the material is appearing on CD for the first time. [...] The recordings have been excellently restored and remastered by Emilio Pessina. All told this is a priceless collection and a valuable addition to the artist's discography.» 
#30/2019 (UK)
25 July 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino - Sergei Rachmaninov: Complete Solo Piano Works   «A superbly realised cycle from a romantic lion of the keyboard. Over the course of four recitals during September 1987, Sergio Fiorentino performed Rachmaninov’s complete solo piano works. Broadcast live by Italian RAI, Radio 3, the master tapes were retained by Fiorentino, from whose collection they have now been made available in splendid-sounding restorations. They occupy six CDs and are housed in Rhine’s customary sturdy boxes. [...] This excellent package brings together a superbly realised cycle from a romantic lion of the keyboard.» 
#29/2019 (UK)
18 July 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini, Discovered tapes - from Baroque to Contemporary   «Previous volumes of live material in the Pietro Scarpini edition were reviewed very favourably here. This volume of 12 CDs also includes his only commercial solo piano recordings. They last little more than half an hour in total, an almost incredibly meagre representation given Scarpini’s outstanding gifts. A look at the programme, which runs alphabetically from Albéniz to Villa-Lobos, might suggest standard fare. But Scarpini (1911-97) excelled in major contemporary works too, so alongside staples such as the Brahms B-flat major Concerto and Schubert’s Sonata D959 we find names that resonate and excite, such as Casella, Malipiero, Peragallo, Petrassi, and Sessions. [...] The commercial recordings finish disc 12 and the set. They were of Stravinsky and Bartók and were made in Milan in 1950 for Durium and issued first on 78s and then reissued on both 10” and 12” LPs. The 10” missed off one of the pieces. He plays the Sonata and Piano-Rag-music of Stravinsky with crisp drive, and the Bartók Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm and Sonata with the embryonic command he was soon to show in the Concertos. It’s good to have these examples restored in this way. [...] Whether radio broadcasts, transcriptions, original masters or LPs, the 24bit 96 kHz restorations by Emilio Pessina are as fine as one could wish. This box and its predecessors build up an increasingly irrefutable case for Scarpini’s greatness as an interpreter of a wide swathe of the repertoire.» 
#28/2019 (UK)
25 June 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Franco Gulli - ReDiscovered   A splendid and loving boxset.   «Franco Gulli (1926-2001) is the latest violinist to be celebrated by Rhine Classics in an 11-CD box that does much to expand his discography in what are, in the main, live performances. [...] Some of the highpoints whether for repertorial or performance reasons include the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Paganini No.5 and Viotti No.22 and all come from the master tapes and have never before appeared commercially. [...] I enjoyed Paolo Pessina’s booklet note very much. Still, the track details are full and clear, and there are some lovely, intimate and evocative photographs of Gulli, one in colour, sourced from the family archives that serve only to enhance this splendid and loving box.»
#27/2019 (UK)
17 June 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ivry Gitlis - the early years, birth of a legend  «Here we have a selection of broadcast performances made in Lausanne, Paris, Milan and Spoleto between 1949 and 1963. The earliest derive from acetates, with the later Italian inscriptions sourced from original masters. Gitlis is partnered by several pianists, all of whom are sympathetic. Audience presence has been conveyed by the retention of applause, adding positively to the spontaneity and emotion of the live event. There’s the occasional announcement, too. All are making their debut on CD and constitute a valuable addition to the violinist's discography. [...] Gitlis’ technical arsenal is impressive, harmonics, double name it, it's all there. Sit back and enjoy Moszkowski's Guitarre (arr. by Sarasate), the Wieniawski's Capriccio-Valse, with some seductive glissandi, and a gripping Polonaise No.1. There are two performances of Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin, an airing from Paris in December 1951 with an abridged Presto finale, which sounds boxy and a later live recording from Spoleto in July 1963 in much better sound. On both occasions, Gitlis rises to the challenge of this complex work admirably, keeping a tight rein throughout. His playing generates white-heat intensity. This is thrilling edge-of-the-seat stuff. [...] Emilio Pessina has done a sterling job with the audio restoration and remastering, and his potted biography of the artist is warmly welcomed. Included in the booklet is an array of black and white photographs.»
#26/2019 (IT)
5 June 2019 | Luca Ciammarughi | Radio Classica, podcast TOP-TEN | Franco Gulli - ReDiscovered   «Top Ten è oggi dedicata a 10 ascolti da un fantastico box Rhine Classics che ci rivela l’arte del violinista Franco Gulli, fra i grandi del Novecento.  /  Top Ten today is dedicated to 10 listenings from a fantastic Rhine Classics box that reveals the art of violinist Franco Gulli, one of the greatest figures of the 20th Century.»
#25/2019 (FR)

June 2019 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | Classica No.213 (p. 91) | Sergio Fiorentino - Incandescent Beethoven, Rachmaninoff of madness, and a mystery: why do we have forgot this wonderful pianist?   «[...] Rachmaninov became his chosen composer over the years, the live recordings of the Rhapsody, the First (in the original version, its final is a madness) and Fourth Concertos, make cry the absence of the Second and Third. Fortunately RAI had asked him for the complete piano solo work, Fiorentino gave it in September 1987 during four nights of pure delirium happily captured. They have just been published, the last victory of a vengeful posterity on this existence which danced with panache over the precipices of oblivion.»  'Rachmaninoff Complete Solo Piano Works Live', Rhine Classics RH-006 (6CD), CHOC◗ 'Live in Taiwan', Rhine Classics RH-009 (1CD), CHOC◗
#24/2019 (ES)
28 May 2019 | Gianni Cesarini | recensiones | Sergio Fiorentino live in Taiwan 1998   «[...] Il recital prende il via con una prodigiosa versione del Preludio e Fuga in Re maggiore BWV 532 di Bach trascritto da Busoni ed elaborato da Fiorentino. [...] ci troviamo di fronte a chi, lungi dall’annoiarci con manie filologiche, usa il pianoforte come tale, e da musicista segnato profondamente dall’intera storia di questo strumento, trascende lo strumento proiettato com’è verso la ricerca di una perfezione formale e spirituale.  [...] Possiamo dire che la 110 interpretata a Taipei rappresenta una straordinaria fusione di potenza emotiva e spiritualità. Il Maestro mostra con tocco magico, ricchezza timbrica sonorità sempre ben tornite con bassi mai ridondanti, un Beethoven che si eleva a altezze vertiginose. Un Beethoven attuale. [...] La versione della seconda Sonata di Rachmaninoff sorprende per la maggiore velocità rispetto a sue registrazioni precedenti e per un pathos poderoso. La seconda Sonata di Scriabin brilla di luce abbagliante. I quattro bis suggellano meravigliosamente un recital memorabile. Si deve anche all’eccellente lavoro di restauro e missaggio di Emilio Pessina il pregio di questo CD [...] »
#23/2019 (RO)
27 May 2019 | Victor Eskenasy | Suplimentul de Cultura No.646 | Franco Gulli re-Discovered - a remarkable collection of the Italian violinist   « [...] Paolo Pessina signs an all-encompassing presentation of Franco Gulli's artistic life and evolution, entitled The Renaissance of the Italian "Bel Canto" violin tradition, accompanied by numerous archive photos provided by the family and the Accademia Chigiana.[...] Citing him, you are a little surprised at the opinion that Gulli was not an intellectual, but just a musical intelligence. Remarkable and worth reading, to listen carefully to him, are his thoughts about Joseph Szigeti, whom he met in the 1960s, "after many years of concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, when we began a long study and a intimate musical relationship. [...] He has changed my whole attitude towards music, which is why I will always be grateful to him. " "He brought me into the modern era, not only as a repertoire, but also in terms of new musical standards. I consider Szigeti the most modern of our generation of violinists. It was a man who struggled to make music and not just music. Selfishness and what is sometimes called "cult of personality" have been strange to his musical interpretation. He is responsible for the inspiration and interpretation of a great number of new works. [...] I am convinced that under his guidance I have matured substantially."  This collection made by Emilio Pessina now demonstrates his words and deserves to be heard.»
#22/2019 (FR)
26 May 2019 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | LE PIANISTE DE RACHMANINOV   « Sergio Fiorentino [...] la bravoure pianistique s’y allie à un sens des couleurs incroyable, une noblesse du style, une élégance qui excluent tout pathos. Et si c’était la meilleure intégrale jamais enregistré du legs pianistique de Rachmaninov ? Les Etudes-tableaux montrent le virtuose sans tapage qu’était Fiorentino, tout chante dans cet immense clavier qui exhausse les polyphonies et envole les rythmes. Les Préludes eux-mêmes quittent leur cadre de miniature pour devenir à chaque fois de vrais univers, et les deux Sonates, jouées absolument à dix doigts, sonnent telles des symphonies de piano. [...] La prise de son capte à merveille le magnifique Steinway boisé de l’Auditorium Domenico Scarlatti de la RAI de Naples. Rhine Classics ajoutent deux bonus considérables. La captation de la version originale du Premier Concerto qui documente l’art du jeune Fiorentino (nous sommes le 27 septembre 1958) : il faut entendre comment il éclaire le petit intermezzo à la fin de l’Andantesotto voce, et avec quel brio, il transporte jusqu’à la folie l’Allegro vivace. Autre merveille, la Rhapsodie sur un thème de Paganini enregistrée cette fois l’année même où il quitte le Conservatoire et repend le chemin des théâtres, d’une fantaisie excitante au possible. Les concerts reprirent donc à compter de cette année 1991, menant le pianiste octogénaire jusqu’à Taïwan pour ce qui devait être une de ses ultimes apparitions. Sommet de ce concert, dans une sonorité claire et pourtant ombreuse, l’Opus 110, entre prière et exaltation, vraie élévation spirituelle inoubliable dès qu’on l’a entendue. [...] Edition soignée, son splendide, iconographie abondante, appareil critique remarquable, magnifique ouvrage d’un éditeur passionné. J’espère que suivront d’autres documents illustrant l’art de ce géant du piano que l’on n’en finit pas de redécouvrir.»
#21/2019 (CA)
17 May 2019 | The Piano Files with Mark Ainley (facebook page) | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary  «What a glorious set you have produced - to have so many hours of incredible pianism so readily available is a dream come true! Bravo for your amazing work!»
#20/2019 (CA)
17 May 2019 | The Piano Files with Mark Ainley (facebook page) | Sergio Fiorentino plays Rachmaninoff  «An absolutely stupendous production - glorious playing in magnificent sound... such a treasure!»
#19/2019 (IT)
15 May 2019 | Luca Ciammarughi | Radio Classica, podcast TOP-TEN | Pietro Scarpini Edition - from Baroque to Contemporary   «In onda ora con questa pubblicazione rivelatoria [...] una produzione che meriterebbe tutti i premi possibili. / Now on air with this revelatory release [...] a production that deserves all the possible prizes.»
#18/2019 (UK)
9 May 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ivry Gitlis - the early years, birth of a legend  «The first broadcast comes from Lausanne in September 1949. He plays Hindemith’s Sonata No.3, Szymanowski’s La Fontaine D'Aréthuse and Bloch’s Nigun in typically febrile fashion, his tight, fast, vibrato vesting everything with a real sense of intensity and urgency. That Hindemith second movement therefore is quicksilver and full of youthful life – Gitlis was, after all, only 27 at the time – and the Szymanowski is fervid. [...] There are items from two 1953 recitals. Chausson’s Poème is a valuable addition in this communicative piano-accompanied reading with Odette Pigault and there’s a warm-blooded Achron Hebrew Melody very different from Josef Hassid’s famously passionate 78. [...] Gitlis is still happily with us at the time of writing, one of the last remaining real examples of individualism of both person and performing style.»
#17/2019 (FR)
8 May 2019 | Tom Deacon -former Universal Music Group Producer- (facebook page) | Sergio Fiorentino plays Rachmaninoff  «Almost impossible to comprehend the achievement here. Over a number of days in 1988 Sergio Fiorentino sat down in front of the RAI microphones to record "live" before a public the complete solo piano music of Sergei Rachmaninoff. The master tapes have been found, beautifully remastered by Emilio Pessina and issued in a box set from Rhine Classics.   The words "slack-jawed" or "bouche bée" pretty much sum up the feeling I have in. listening to these recordings. Fiorentino has everything it takes to be a great interpreter of Rachmaninoff: awesome technique, unvarying implacable pulse and thrust, beautiful tone, and a complete absence of sentimentality. Moreover such nobility. Fiorentino treats this like great music. In his hands it is.   It's all here, folks, the early pieces, the complete preludes and études, the variations, and both sonatas. Critics will pick and gnaw at this and that detail, missing as they usually do the wood for the trees. That's what they consider their job! I will not play that senseless game. I will also not indulge in comparisons. I know them all but this one is truly for the ages. Imcomparable.»
#16/2019 (USA)
5☆☆ | 25 April 2019 | Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition | Franco Gulli reDiscovered - An 11 CD Set of Defining Performances  «A sweeping 11 CD retrospective!  [...] Having been impressed by Nathan Milstein as a youth, Gulli follows that master’s penchant for driving speed combined with a natural bel canto, aided in these by his 1716 Stradivari formerly owned by Franz von Vecsey.  Gulli, incidentally, provides his own cadenzas to many concertos  he plays, particularly appropriate in his Mozart “Turkish” Concerto [...] . The sense of stylistic comfort and ease of transition have been with us throughout some 11 hours of playing time on these timeless discs. Some musical assignments become a privilege to have reviewed, and this Gulli set from Rhine Classics is among them. That I will present goodly portions on “The Music Treasury” becomes a pre-determined fact.»
#15/2019 (FR)
 3 April 2019 | Maciej Chizynski | ResMusica | À emporter, CD | Sergio Fiorentino en concert en Taïwan   «Trois mois avant son décès, Sergio Fiorentino donna en Taïwan un récital dont la gravure a (enfin) été éditée en disque. C’est un document précieux, d’autant plus qu’il existe peu d’enregistrements studio de cet artiste. [...] L’interprétation de la Sonate pour piano n° 2 en sol dièse mineur op. 19 d’Alexandre Scriabine s’imprègne, à son tour, de poésie et de lumière, mais également d’une expressivité intense qui assure à cette lecture, malgré un certain resserrement des phrasés dans le Presto, une place près du sommet de la discographie. [...]»
#14/2019 (IT)
2 April 2019 | Luca Ciammarughi | Radio Classica, podcast IL PIANISTA | Sergio Fiorentino - live in Taiwan   «Stasera “Il pianista” è dedicato a un’imperdibile pubblicazione dedicata a Sergio Fiorentino: un recital che l’immenso pianista napoletano tenne a Taipei nel maggio 1998. Ritorna alla luce grazie all’etichetta Rhine Classics, impegnata nella “Sergio Fiorentino Edition”. / Tonight "The Pianist" is dedicated to an unmissable publication dedicated to Sergio Fiorentino: a recital that the immense Neapolitan pianist held in Taipei in May 1998. Returns to light thanks to the label Rhine Classics, engaged in the "Sergio Fiorentino Edition".»

#13/2019 (IT)

4☆☆ | April 2019 | Piero Rattalino | MUSICA magazine No.305 (pg.58-63) | Scarpini e il mito dell'oggettività | PIANOFORTE: Rhine Classics riporta alla luce un pianista oggi dimenticato, ma che molto si spese per il repertorio a lui contemporaneo.

#12/2019 (UK)
1 April 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini Edition - Busoni & Liszt   «Having recently reviewed a 2-CD set of Pietro Scarpini playing Mozart on the Rhine Classics' label, I'm pleased to have the opportunity to do the same for this more ambitious 6-CD set of the pianist's Busoni and Liszt recordings. Once again the recordings derive from 'discovered tapes' and constitute another fascinating volume in their Pietro Scarpini Edition. [...]  There are a number of versions of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Scarpini opts for the two-piano version and takes both parts, overdubbing them himself in his home studio in 1974. They sound excellent. [...] Scarpini's late Liszt performances offer a wealth of insights. He instils a sense of foreboding in  Nuages gris, Unstern! and La lugubre gondola II, whilst En rêve: Nocturne, in his hands, is not only evocative and dream-like but has a bittersweet quality. [...] As an added bonus we have Scarpini's first known recording from 1938, a  transcription by Busoni  of Liszt’s “Grandes études de Paganini”, No.2 . It's a perfect showcase for the pianist’s scintillating virtuosity. The source is a private 78rpm disc, which has been carefully restored. This set will appeal especially to aficionado’s of great pianism and will be of added value in enhancing Scarpini’s scant discography. The CDs are complemented with a beautifully illustrated booklet. Rhine Classics have carefully restored and remastered these valuable aural documents in 24bit 96KHz sound. This set will appeal especially to aficionado’s of great pianism and will be of added value in enhancing Scarpini’s scant discography. »
#11/2019 (UK)

March 2019 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (pg. 98-99) | Rhine gold: an archive treasure trove   «Rob Cowan welcomes a historic label that has unearted some remarkable treasures. -- [...] Aldo Ferraresi has a pleasingly seductive sound, its expressive manner an approximate cross between Merckel and Enescu [...] revelatory in the violin concertos by Elgar and Walton. [...] Any conoisseur of the instrument simply has to hear Aldo Ferraresi, and I cannot recommend this set highly enough. | Wanda Luzzato playing most reminded me, in its intellectual rigour and seductive warmth, of Adolf Busch [...] persuasive playing in a unique context. Magical is the word. | Then there is Alfonso Mosesti, the gifted Concertmaster of RAI orchestras, [...] a fine soloist too, another violinist that reminds me of Busch. | Piano-wise Rhine Classics has given us a stimulating six-CD set of Pietro Scarpini playing Busoni and Liszt [...] all played with intelligence and the odd tell-tale flashback to old-world performing gestures. | A double-pack of Scarpini playing Mozart [...] in its finely crafted classicism reminded me of Robert Casadesus. | And lastly Sergio Fiorentino 'Live in Taiwan 1998', grandeur personified [...] raises a storm with the Second Sonatas of Scriabin and Rachmaninov. | So here's to the next Rhine Classics releases, including more Fiorentino and a big box of recordings by the violinist Franco Gulli. I'll be filling you in as soon as they arrive.»
#10/2019 (IT)
 4☆☆ | March 2019 | Luca Segalla | MUSICA No.304 (p. 76-77) | Sergio Fiorentino - live in Taiwan   «[...] un grande musicista, capace di evocare atmosfere timbriche antiche e lontane, in un Preludio bachiano dal suono sontuoso e solenne come si faceva ai primi del Novecento, nel fraseggio incantevole con cui viene tratteggiato il tema dell’Arioso dolente nell’Adagio ma non troppo dell’Op.110, oppure nel molle ondeggiare del secondo movimento della Sonata Op.36 di Rachmaninov. [...]»
#9/2019 (UK)
19 March 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Pietro Scarpini Edition - Mozart   «Despite his distinguished pianistic achievements, Pietro Scarpini's star never shone as brightly as those of others. He could be accused of hiding his light under a bushel. Why? He shunned commercial recordings but, thankfully, meticulously collected tapes and home recordings of his concerts and radio broadcasts. It’s these that Rhine Classics have carefully restored and remastered in 24bit 96KHz sound. I have to say that, for their age and provenance, the results are impressive. This collection of Mozart performances is just one of several sets which make up the label's Pietro Scarpini Edition. [...]  The beautifully produced booklet presents an array of fascinating photos of the pianist.»
 #8/2019 (UK)
4 March 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Sergio Fiorentino - live in Taiwan 1998  «[...] his playing is equal to the music’s demands, as he draws out the most powerful sonorities from his Steinway, the Fuga emerging in an arc of overpowering splendour. [...]  Irrespective of the essentially standard nature of this recital the performances are untouched by routine. Beethoven’s Op.110 sonata is powerfully declaimed, the chording strong, the expressive temperature cumulatively moving after the Fuga has done its work. [...]  this recital preserves Fiorentino’s wonderful tone across its range. With fine audio restoration from Emilio Pessina and a good booklet note this release also makes an immediate appeal to the senses. The vitality and intensity of the performances exceed those to be heard in the Piano Classics series dedicated to the pianist; superb though these are, they remain, largely, radio broadcasts. Here Fiorentino is a tiger on the loose.»
#7/2019 (USA)
 Best Of 2018 - Classical Releases | 13 March 2019 | Audiophile Audition | Sergio Fiorentino Live in Taiwan - Rhine Classics   «This restored recital from Taiwan’s Novel Hall captures the Fiorentino at the peak of his form in splendid sound.»
#6/2019 (UK)
8 February 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -3- sonatas   «[...] this is a good example of Ricci’s sonata art, and perhaps even better is his Prokofiev [No.1], which he never did for a record label. There’s real resinous brusco drive here and the performance is also lyrically aware, and never devitalised by complacent phrasing. [...]  The peach here is the Saint-Saëns Sonata No.1 because he never otherwise recorded it. It’s not at all Gallic, so forget the shades of Thibaud or Merckel and enjoy instead a combustible and lively reading. Ravel’s Tzigane is powerfully projected. [...]  Heard in 24bit 96kHz mastering, this whole series is dedicated to and realized under the auspices of Ricci’s wife Julia and the tapes have been excellently restored by Emilio Pessina. Full track listings can be found in the most attractively produced booklet, which has a fine selection of images of Ricci.»
#5/2019 (UK)
6 February 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -2- showpieces   «Rhine Classics is back in business with a tranche of new releases of which the majority concentrate on the explosive art of Ruggiero Ricci. There are two 4-CD sets devoted to showpieces and to sonatas and a 6-CD set to concertos. [...]  The final recital comes from November 1986, in the Teatro Comunale, Monfalcone. It was recorded by Emilio Pessina in situ on tape with Ricci’s permission. This consists of one of Ricci’s great set-pieces, a complete recital of Paganini’s Caprices in an ordering of his devising. [...]  This lovingly compiled release has been very well engineered, from disparate source material, and features an attractive, photograph-laden booklet. The 24bit 96 kHz remastering sounds excellent. This is a boon for Ricci collectors.»
#4/2019 (UK)
31 January 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -1- concertos   «Sporting six CDs this is the largest of the three sets celebrating the centenary of the birth of Ruggiero Ricci. The recordings preserve tuning up and applause and have been remastered in 24bit 96kHz to provide over seven hours of listening charting the violinist between the years 1951 and 1978. Most of the concerto performances are captured live whilst some others are heard in studio readings. Two concertos are heard in duplicate performances; the Brahms and Paganini’s D major, No.1.[...]  All three boxes have attractive booklets with full recording details and attractively reproduced photographs. Emilio Pessina’s mastering is first class once again. These three sets, available separately, are a worthy and significant addition to Ricci’s discography.»
#3/2019 (IT)
 15 January 2019 | Luca Ciammarughi | Radio Classica, podcast IL PIANISTA | Pietro Scarpini Edition - Mozart   «Ora in onda. Grazie al produttore Emilio Pessina per il restauro e l’editing di questi preziosi documenti! Al “Pianista” oggi ci dedichiamo a un grande interprete storico, Pietro Scarpini, finalmente pienamente valorizzato grazie alla riscoperta e il restauro di sue interpretazioni da parte dell’etichetta Rhine Classics. / Now on air. Thanks to the producer Emilio Pessina for the restoration and editing of these precious documents! At "The Pianist" today we dedicate ourselves to a great historical interpreter, Pietro Scarpini, finally fully appreciated thanks to the rediscovery and restoration of his interpretations by the label Rhine Classics.»
#2/2019 (RO)
14 January 2019 | Victor Eskenasy | Suplimentul de Cultura No.629 | Revelations at the beginning of the year - Pietro Scarpini Edition: (Re) Discoveries   «In a volume of memoirs that was also translated in Romania, but in an edition with a limited circulation, Romanian-Italian composer Roman Vlad evokes the figure of a great and original italian pianist, known mostly by professionals and music lovers from the piano world. He is Pietro Scarpini (Rome, 1911 - Florence, 1997). If I talk about him, it is because of the appearance at the end of last year of an excellent edition of his recordings, two sets of eight (6+2) CDs under the aegis of Rhine Classics (RH-007 and RH-014), remastered and presented by a good friend of ours, Emilio Pessina.»
#1/2019 (CAN)
Favourite releases of 2018 | 1 January 2019 | Mark Ainley | THE PIANO FILES | Pietro Scarpini Edition - Busoni & Liszt - Mozart  «A wonderful end-of-year release from Rhine Classics includes two fantastic sets devoted to the Italian pianist Pietro Scarpini. A wonderful pianist not well represented on records, Scarpini was an elusive figure who played with marvellous tonal colours and disarming directness. One six-disc set focuses on works by Busoni & Liszt (including a stupendous Busoni Piano Concerto in glorious sound) while another two-disc set features his Mozart: glowing, sumptuous, forthright playing of two piano concertos and some solo works.»
#4/2018 (FR)
30 December 2018 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | Pietro Scarpini Edition - Busoni & Liszt - Mozart   «Récemment, j’appelais de mes vœux une édition de bandes de concerts de Pietro Scarpini, génie du piano trop peu illustré au disque et ignoré des grands éditeurs. Le hasard fait bien les choses parfois, me voici rapidement comblé. Rhine Classics regroupe dans un premier album tout son legs Busoni ajoutant au Concerto avec Kubelik, la divulgation des Sonatines (dont celle sur Carmen, irrésistible), trois Elégies, le Journal indien et deux opus avec orchestre, le rare Romanza e Scherzoso (Abbado dirige !) et la plus courue Fantaisie indienne. La virtuosité transcendante de Scarpini ressuscite celle de Busoni, mais son intellect brillant rend ces pages absolument modernes. [...] Personne ne s’étonnera que cette défense de la modernité s’étende aux deux ultimes disques de ce premier coffret, dédiés à des opus rares de Liszt ! [...] Lecture imparable, indispensable. [...]  Mais il ne faudrait pas que cet ensemble saisissant vous détourne du mince étui Mozart qui l’accompagne : deux disques seulement, mais bluffant par l’engagement physique, la hauteur de vue, la perfection pianistique, l’exigence stylistique et simplement la personnalité. [...] L’éditeur annonce pour janvier un troisième volume: 12 CD. Je suis certain que 2019 va bien commencer.»
#3/2018 (USA)
 5☆☆ | 26 December 2018 | Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition | Sergio Fiorentino - live in Taiwan 1998
«Taken from the private collection of Italian master-pianist Sergio Fiorentino, this restored recital from Taiwan’s Novel Hall captures the artist at the peak of his form in splendid sound, courtesy of Emilio Pessina. The resonance of Fiorentino’s Steinway proves stunning, especially profound in the Scriabin Sonata, whose liquid appeal to the senses mesmerizes and dazzles in its erotic figurations.  But to single out any of the individual works provides an immediate disproportion to the holistic nature of the recital, whose emotional canvas vibrates on an equal plane with the intellectual, aesthetic and dramatic context that unfolds only months before Fiorentino’s untimely death. [...] After the torrent concludes, we know definitely why Michelangeli referred to Fiorentino as “the only other pianist.”»
#2/2018 (USA)
 23 September 2018 | Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition | broadcast/podcast The Music Treasury | Aldo Ferraresi, Violinist   «This evening’s program comes exclusively through the courtesy of the Rhine Classics label.»
#1/2018 (USA)
7 March 2018 | THE VIOLIN CHANNEL | GIVEAWAY Win 1 of 5 - To help celebrate the international release, The Violin Channel is this week giving away 5 copies of ‘Jascha Heifetz: The Legendary Los Angeles Concerts’ double CD sets – courtesy of Rhine Classics.
#21/2017 (FR)
Les Clefs d'or 2017 | 11 December 2017 | Maciej Chizynski | ResMusica | Aldo Ferraresi - complete recordings   «Si Aldo Ferraresi est de nos jours méconnu, il fut jadis considéré comme l’un des grands musiciens de son époque. Aujourd’hui, son héritage discographique nous est offert par un label nouvellement créé, Rhine Classics, dans le cadre de la série « L’Art du violon.»
#20/2017 (UK)
ROTY-2017 | December 2017 | MusicWeb International | Recordings Of The Year 2017 1st nomination | Stephen Greenbank (page 13) «The metaphor about the two buses definitely applies here. Until this year I'd never heard of the violinist Wanda Luzzato, probably because she never made any commercial recordings. Then, in the space of two months, two sets of live airings come along, a double CD set and this more substantial 8 CD box from Rhine Classics. For violin aficionados like myself, this is a rare treat. Full Review»   2nd nomination | Jonathan Woolf (page 27) «Rhine Classics is a label devoted to rare and historic material and has made an excellent start to what looks like being a splendid stable of recordings. Wanda Luzzato is the subject of an 8-CD box made all the more valuable because the pupil of the great pedagogue Hubay never made a single studio recording. This lovingly presented box provides irrefutable of her status as one of Italy’s greatest string players. Full Review»
#19/2017 (IT)

5☆☆ | 19 September 2017 | Riccardo Pini | ARCHI magazine No.67 Sett/Ott 2017 (p. 90-91) | Aldo Ferraresi   «Dal felice incontro d'intenti tra Gianluca La Villa, uno dei massimi competenti italiani di storia del violino e dei violinisti e l'etichetta Rhine Classics ed Emilio Pessina, autentico artista del remastering di preziosi documenti sonori altrimenti compromessi dalle ingiurie del tempo, è stato di recente presentato il primo di una serie di cofanetti [...] Questa meritoria raccolta nel suo numero d'esordio riunisce in 18CD tutte le incisioni esistenti del grande virtuoso italiano Aldo Ferraresi [...] capace di porsi su di una linea nient'affatto subalterna rispetto agli archetipi interpretativi definiti da colossi come Heifetz ed Oistrakh.»

#18/2017 (IT)
4☆☆ | September 2017 | Carlo Bellora | MUSICA No.289 (p. 100-103) | Wanda Luzzato   «Questo splendido cofanetto si apre con una delle migliori interpretazioni di Wanda Luzzato, il Concerto per violino di Ciaikovski, suonato con l'Orchestra della RAI di Milano diretta da Efrem Kurtz il 25 marzo 1960. [...] Violinista dal suono possente, con le rotondità del suo splendido Guadagnini. [...] Tra tutte queste splendide incisioni svettano i "3 Canti" di Pizzetti, ma soprattutto "La Fontaine di Arethuse" (di Szymanowski) che dà modo alla violinista di far emergere il prorompente violinismo trascendentale, che si coniuga ad una sensibilissima musicalità [...]»
#17/2017 (FR)
 4☆☆ | 29 September 2017 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | DIAPASON No.661 (p. 130-131) | Wanda Luzzato   «[...] Il suffit d'entendre la première phrase de la Sonate en ré mineur de Schumann pour réaliser quelle intense poésie habitait son jeu. Le sens donné aux phrasés force l'admiration, tant par la richesse de l'imagination que par cette art de faire "parler" les notes ... un peu alla Menuhin. [...] L'imposant coffret de Rhine Classics a l'avantage d'un généreux livret (pourvu d'une impressionante collection de photographies) et d'un panorama plus vaste sur l'art de cette violoniste italienne mêlant concertos, sonates et miniatures. En publiant des documents provenant de la propre collection de l'artiste, incluant des répétitions, des bandes radio et des enregistrements live, forcément disparates mais tous méticulesement restaurés, il représente une somme de travail qui, en ces temps de projets faciles ou bâclés, mérite le respect. [...] »
#16/2017 (FR)
31 August 2017 | Jean-Charles Hoffelé | ARTAMAG' - Focus - Le disque du jour | WANDA, UNE OUBLIÉE DU DISQUE   «[...] 25 mars 1960, Efrem Kurtz enflamme dans la Grande Salle du Conservatoire Giuseppe Verdi l’Orchestre Symphonique de la RAI de Milan pour un des plus somptueux Concerto pour violon de Tchaikovski qu’il m’ait été donné d’entendre. [...] Rhine Classics regroupe ici tous les gravures réalisées pour la RAI. [...] Tout l’album est à thésauriser, jusqu’aux précieux disques qui reproduisent ses sessions de travail, jusqu’aux ultimes enregistrements en janvier 1979. Emilio Pessina, qui a fait avec ce premier volume une vraie œuvre d’art – l’iconographie est aussi abondante que le texte de notice passionnant – nous doit un second volume d’autres radios conservent des merveilles: le Concerto de Glazounov, la 7e Sonate de Beethoven à Paris avec André Collard, les archives de Bâle (Troisième Sonate de Grieg) veulent être révélés. »
#15/2017 (FR)
August 2017 | ...a letter from our customer...
« Dear all, regarding the future releases I would like that the recordings of the concerts given by Jascha Heifetz in the framework of the Bell Telephone Hour will be restored in high definitition, in particular the virtuosity pieces. Besides Mr Heifetz has interpreted in his youth some famous masterpieces but I do not know if these interpretations have been recorded. For example "The Palpiti", "Nel cor più non mi sento" of Paganini or the "Variations on an original theme" of Wieniawski. I would like if such records exist and are available they will be restored by Mr. Pessina. Thanks. Best regards. » J.-J. Leandri
#14/2017 (USA)
5☆☆ | 9 July 2017 | Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition | Jascha Heifetz: The Legendary Los Angeles Concerts   «Jascha Heifetz performances previously unreleased emerge on a new, important label in excellent sound. The live broadcasts offered here through the efforts of Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer Emilio Pessina derive from radio master and unreleased reel-to-reel audio tapes from both the Hollywood Bowl (1 September 1963) and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (6 December 1964). Pessina has maintained the audience response, and so the sheer level of excitement remains undeniable, especially after the Brahms Double Concerto with Piatigorsky and Bernstein. This Rhine Classics label promises to rank high in the pantheon of historic reissues.»
#13/2017 (UK)
July 2017 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Alfonso Mosesti - Violin Concertos by Sinigaglia & Illersberg   «Despite the rarity of the repertoire, Rhine Classics has promoted its latest release under the name of the soloist in both works, Alfonso Mosesti, in its ‘The Golden Age of Concertmasters’ marque. [...] This brace of Italian concertos preserves much that is lyric and generous-minded. If you have an affinity with the composers cited in the review and are not allergic to historic recordings, then you will enjoy exploring these barely-heard scores, and find much pleasure in doing so. [...] The restoration by Emilio Pessina is excellent.»
#12/2017 (FR)
30 June 2017 | Jean-Michel Molkhou | DIAPASON No.659 (p.124) | Jascha Heifetz - The legendary Los Angeles Concerts   «La Révélation de témoignages inédits de Jascha Heifetz est toujours un événement. Les deux concertos ont été captés (live) à une époque où le violoniste, qui s'était installé en Californie, régnait encore quasiment sans partage sur le monde du violon américain. [...] Heifetz se livre à une démonstration d'anthologie, apparaissant là au sommet absolu de son art, et peut-être même de l'art de jouer du violon. Deux documents plus anciens (1950), dont une fantastique Habanera de Sarasate qui n'avait guère circulé que sur un rarissime microsillon du label Penzance, complètent ce double album agrémenté de superbes photos.»
#11/2017 (UK)
June 2017 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Jascha Heifetz   «This is a valuable addition to the discography. - The Los Angeles concerts of 1963-1964 were given at the Hollywood Bowl, in which Heifetz and Piatigorsky played the Brahms Double with Leonard Bernstein, and at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where the violinist essayed the Beethoven with Zubin Mehta. Neither concert has apparently been issued before. There are two bonus tracks, previously released, that come from the Bell Telephone Hour with Donald Voorhees conducting in Radio City, New York in February 1950. The Dvořák is tightly coiled, cloaked and hooded, full of inimitable tonal splendour and not remotely relaxed, whilst the Sarasate Habanera is suave and bewitching. Cembal d’amour once issued this (CD-113) but their transfer is cloudy and palpably inferior to this one.»
#10/2017 (DE)
 15 June 2017 | Norbert Hornig | Deutschlandfunk (German Radio), broadcast | Historische Aufnahmen | Belcanto und virtuoses Feuer | Der Geiger Aldo Ferraresi     «Man nannte ihn den „Gigli der Violine“, dennoch ist der Name Aldo Ferraresi heute kaum mehr ein Begriff. Ferraresi, 1902 in Ferrara geboren, gehörte zu den bedeutendsten italienischen Geigern des 20. Jahrhunderts. Auf Empfehlung von Jan Kubelik studierte er noch bei Eugène Ysaye, der ihn als einen seiner besten Schüler bezeichnete. Ferraresi profilierte sich als Konzertmeister, Kammermusiker und Solist. Er konzertierte in vielen Ländern Europas, in Russland und den USA mit namhaften Dirigenten wie Hermann Scherchen, Hans Knappertsbusch, Artur Rodzinski und Carlo Maria Giulini. Auch als Violinpädagoge machte sich Ferraresi einen Namen, in späteren Jahren unterrichtete er am Konservatorium Niccolò Piccinni in Bari, das von Nino Rota geleitet wurde. Erst jetzt wird das diskografische Vermächtnis des Geigers wiederentdeckt.»
#9/2017 (RO)
12 June 2017 | Victor Eskenasy | Suplimentul de Cultura No.569 | Wanda Luzzato: A precocious talent, becoming a great accomplished artist   «Not long ago, opening the second set of discs of the collection "The Art violin", published for label Rhine Classics (RH-002) by two great enthusiasts of violin in Italy, Gianluca La Villa and Emilio Pessina, I had the surprise to discover George Enescu and his signature in two photos of the booklet. The set is dedicated to the violonist, today almost forgotten, WANDA LUZZATO, according to the subtitle - which takes her professor's statement - "Jenö Hubay's most talented pupil after [Franz von] Vecsey." The eight CDs bring out for the first time the "unpublished recordings 1955-1979", remastered by Emilio Pessina in 24bit/96kHz.»
#8/2017 (UK)
June 2017 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Wanda Luzzato   «Bravo to all concerned for this loving, extensive and rewarding box. - A second release to be devoted to the art of Italian violinist Wanda Luzzato and it appears as an 8-CD box in the second volume of Rhine Classics’s exciting new "The Art of Violin" series. This outstanding box comes with a particularly, indeed conspicuously excellent 32-page booklet, with commentary by Gianluca La Villa. The tapes existed in various states [...] with restoration process completed by the remastering of Emilio Pessina.»
#7/2017 (HK)
June 2017 | Trinax Chou | AudioArt Vol.345 | Wanda Luzzato   «This is my top recommended historical recording in this year. - In my opinion, “historical recording” not only should present the playing style for the specific era, but also should find the best artist and best playing from that era. Wish more musical lovers can understand the efforts of Rhine Classics from this Luzzato’s box set. If you like this Luzzato’s set, the other publications from Rhine Classics (Aldo Ferraresi, Alfonso Mosesti, Jascha Heifetz) will also make you surprised. Rare recordings, fantastic artists, interesting works, all of my concerning points for “historical recordings” are fulfilled in Rhine Classics’ CDs.»
#6/2017 (FR)
Les Clefs du mois | 25 May 2017 | Maciej Chizynski | ResMusica | À emporter, CD | Aldo Ferraresi, maitre oublié du violon   «Si Aldo Ferraresi est de nos jours méconnu, il fut jadis considéré comme l’un des grands musiciens de son époque. Son héritage discographique nous est offert par un label nouvellement créé, Rhine Classics, dans le cadre de la série "L’Art du violon". C’est celle-ci, ainsi qu’une légèreté d’archet extraordinaire, qui planent sur les interprétations du violoniste: Ferraresi fait chanter son instrument comme peu d’autres. C’est pourquoi, d’ailleurs, on l’appelle le "Gigli du violon", comparant ainsi son art à celui de Beniamino Gigli, qui possédait une des plus belles voix jamais entendues, avec une maîtrise totale du style et de la technique belcantistes.»
#5/2017 (UK)
Recording Of The Month | May 2017 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Wanda Luzzato   «Valuable recorded documents from the Wanda Luzzato Archive. - I would encourage all violin afficionados to explore this compelling collection. I’m most impressed by Rhine Classics presentation. Everything about this production spells quality. [...] Luzzato commands a formidable technique. Her tone is sweet and pure and comes over as silvery in some recordings. Her vibrato is on the fast side, and her coloristic range isn’t as varied as the likes of say Menuhin, Heifetz or Perlman. Intonation is for the most part pristine. She seems to be greatly influenced by Heifetz in her use of expressive slides and position changes. Emilio Pessina's expert restorations and remasterings are to be commended.»
#4/2017 (UK)
May 2017 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Jascha Heifetz - The Legendary Los Angeles Concerts   «Valuable additions to the Heifetz discography using a high quality remastering process. - These audio documents have been expertly restored and emerge warmly defined and vibrant, having been given a new lease of life by Emilio Pessina. I’m pleased that the soloist’s pre-performance tuning and applause has been retained, as this creates some of the atmosphere of the live event. There is an added bonus in the form of some beautifully produced black and white photographs of the musicians, including several I have never seen before.»
#3/2017 (UK)
May 2017 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Alfonso Mosesti plays Sinigaglia & Illersberg, Violin Concertos   «The value of this release lies in the rarity of these captivating scores, performed by a violinist with a close affinity to both. - This interesting release focuses on the Italian violinist Alfonso Mosesti (b.1924). The recordings have scrubbed up well for their age and provenance thanks to the expert remastering of Emilio Pessina. The documentation is second-to-none, written by Gianluca La Villa, who sets the music in some sort of historical context. The beautifully reproduced black and white photographs are the icing on the cake.»
 #2/2017 (UK)
January 2017 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Aldo Ferraresi   «This new box does Ferraresi’s memory proud. - A splendid and attractive conventional box. There is a 32-page booklet in which one can find full discographic information, an excellent biographical portrait and some splendidly reproduced photographs. A further piece of good news is that advances in restoration have taken place so that the tapes and LP transfers sound better now, in a number of cases, than in their first appearance [...] the recorded sound varies [...] but Emilio Pessina has done a fine job on all these matters. Ferraresi was a rather fascinating character and these performances, invariably show spontaneity and excitement. Full marks to all concerned for revisiting and enlarging and improving the already substantial earlier edition.»
#1/2017 (RO)
16|23 January 2017 | Victor Eskenasy | Suplimentul de Cultura | Italian musical heritage: Aldo Ferraresi - talking with Emilio Pessina: No.550 - Part I | No.551 - Part II   «An admirable set of 18 CD, published by label Rhine Classics. - The box, that puts together ALDO FERRARESI 's 1929-1973 recordings, is the first from a very promising series named "The Art of Violin". Born in 1902, Ferraresi, recommended to Ysaye [...] made further an admirable carrier, especially in Italy, playing under great conductors, not the last Celibidache. An American critic wrote that there are many tapes with Ferraresi, and he urged to be published. Today is done, result of the collaboration between professionist of the violin, Gianluca La Villa and audio restoration engineer and producer Emilio Pessina, that gave us an exclusive interview.»
#2/2016 (FR)
November 2016 | Jean-Michel Molkhou -critique musical pour Diapason-   «Aldo Ferraresi - Un splendide coffret qui répare une injustice de l'histoire. Belle présentation, renseignements discographiques précis, nombreuses photographies, biographie détaillée. Je vais écouter cela avec la plus grande attention. Bravo.»
#1/2016 (UK)
November 2016 | Cheniston K. Roland -violin historian-   «Magnificent Aldo Ferraresi box set. What can I say the set is a masterpiece, beautifully presented and a real work of art. I was delighted. Let me once again thank you for your magnum opus, the Ferraresi Box, which I shall treasure and am proud to add to my collection. Your grateful friend.»