A historic festival appearance this week. The 1964 Stratford Shakespearean Music Festival in Canada, featuring a stellar ensemble of soloists, headed up by pianist Rudolf Firkusny, violinist Eudice Shapiro, Cellist Leonard Rose and several guests, in music by Czech composers, captured and preserved by the CBC in Canada.
The concert starts off with the Sonata number 5 by Johann Zelenka for Piano, Violin, Cello, Oboe, Bassoon and Continuo with guests Perry Bowman, oboe Sol Shoenbach, bassoon, Lynn Harrell, cello joining Eudice Shapiro.
The music of Bohuslav Martinu is up next with a performance of his Sonata number 2 for cello and Piano with Leonard Rose and Rudolf Firkusny.
The concert ends with a performance of Dvorak’s Trio for Violin, cello and piano “Dumky”. Soloists are Firkusny, Shapiro and Rose.
All in all, an exciting concert with a few new names that went on to stellar careers. Firkusny has been a frequent soloist and I have run several of his historic concerts over the years. Eudice Shapiro is a name synonymous with the great Hollywood String Quartet as well as a legendary soloist in her own right. And Leonard Rose has also had a long and brilliant career.
A concert of committed and spirited music making showcasing works both well known and unfamiliar at the time. Martinu was being rediscovered in the 1960s and this performance of his second Sonata was a welcome addition to the repertoire, fitting in nicely ahead of the familiar Dumky Trio of Dvorak and after the sonata by Zelenka, another Czech composer who was going through a rediscovery in the 1960s.
Luckily, it’s been preserved by the CBC and was available for a time via their International Transcription Service (which of course stipulated it be returned to the network after broadcast in order to be destroyed, but this batch of discs slipped by unnoticed).
Good music-making all around and a fitting end to an insane week.
Get comfortable and enjoy.