Unless you're a violin enthusiast or musician, the name Louis Persinger may not ring any bells with you. The name has been most often associated with other violinists, such as Yehudi Menuhin or Ruggiero Ricci. In that role he was best known as a teacher and, in the case of Menuhin, the additional role of piano accompanist.
But Louis Persinger was a name to be reckoned with in his own right. An American violinist who trained at the Leipzig Conservatory and studied under legendary violinist Eugene Ysaye, he was Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and embarked on a solo career that established him as one of the preeminent violinists of the late 19th and early 20th century.
It was after World War 1, in the 1920's that he became the great violin teacher, and periodically performing the role of piano accompanist in many of the early recordings of Menuhin as well as those of Ruggiero Ricci.
But because he established himself as a concert violinist before the era of recording and by the time the medium of recording had become universal he had pretty much abandoned his career and confined himself to the role of accompanist and teacher (he was at Julliard from 1930 until his death in 1966), very few commercial recordings of him as a soloist exist.
So tonight I'm posting one of those recordings - The Duo for Violin and Viola K. 423 by Mozart featuring Persinger on violin and his son Rolf on viola. A recording made for the small and short-lived Stradivari label around 1950.
I would imagine this has popped up in reissues in recent years, but not to any wide circulation as far as I know.
If you've heard about Louis Persinger but not actually heard him, now's your chance.
Newstalgia Weekend Gramophone with a live recording from The Hollywood Bowl featuring The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Walter Hendl, and featuring Issac Stern, violin, in a performance of the Bartok, Violin Concerto Number 1. Recorded in the Summer of 1961. Read more...