REVIEW POTPOURRI – Composer: Giuseppe Tartini; Singer: Annette Funicello; Band: Antal Kocze and his Gypsies

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Giuseppe Tartini

D minor Violin Concerto; Pietro Nardini: E minor Violin Concerto; and Giovanni Battista Viotti Violin Concerto No. 22; Peter Rybar, violinist, with Clemens Dahinden conducting the Winterhur Symphony Orchestra; Westminster XWN 18192, mono LP, recorded 1952.

Peter Rybar

This very antiquated LP contains very lovely examples of 18th century Italian composers, who were also very gifted and acclaimed violinists. The Viotti Concerto being my special favorite, all three Con­ certos are beautiful creations and played with exceptional feeling by violinist Peter Rybar (1913-2002) and nicely accompanied by Switzerland’s Winterhur Symphony under the able Clemens Dahinden.

Before Rybar’s recordings were transferred to CD, their LP issues could fetch 200 bucks, if they were in mint condition! Finally, the recorded performances can be heard on youtube in separate posts.

Annette Funicello

The Story of My Teens
Buena Vista- BV 3312, lp, recorded 1962.

Annette Funicello

The most popular singer, actress and all-around personality to be mentored by Walt Disney himself, Annette Funicello (1942-2013) had a very sweet endearing presence. As a kid, I found that she definitely held my attention in her numerous TV appearances, and remember her, Tommy Sands, Ray Bolger and Ed Wynn in 1962’s Babes in Toyland.

I also admired her cheerfulness and courage during her last 21 years of suffering from MS and was saddened by her tragic passing five years ago.

The above album contains most all of her hit singles and should be listened to in small doses at best; the early ‘60s chewing gum genre had way too much sugar content, although the arrangements were quite good. Yet I did read that she really didn’t enjoy recording!

Antal Kocze and his Gypsies

Gypsy Songs and Czardas, Volume 3
Westminster WL 3013, 10-inch LP record, recorded 1954.

During my decades of trying to listen to every record that falls into my lap, I have heard a number of them featuring gypsy music, most of them ranging from barely tolerable to okay. Kocze’s players are new to me and, based on back cover info, were very popular in Europe during the first half of the last century. After playing this record, I understand why. The music is very beautiful and beautifully performed with sentiment, taste and discerning intelligence, one charmer of an album.

Some interesting facts – the music of Kocze and his colleagues often served as unintrusive background ambiance for the adulterous flings of various Habsburg wastrels in exclusive cafes before the dynasty’s power became history. Secondly, the very former Prince of Wales, before his short-lived term as Edward VIII, heard the ensemble and invited Kocze to London to play two nights for Papa George V. Finally, the great conductor, Arturo Toscanini, was so impressed that he wrote some music for the band.

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