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Ruggiero Ricci - Complete American Decca Recordings

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Ruggiero Ricci -  Complete American Decca Recordings
Ruggiero Ricci -  Complete American Decca Recordings


Several legendary but long-unavailable recordings freshly remastered in a comprehensive original covers boxset of Ruggiero Riccis recordings made for American Decca during the 1960s and issued collectively for the first time. With definitive accounts of the Tchaikovsky Concerto and the Paganini Caprices recorded in 1950, Ruggiero Ricci became established as a Decca artist in the early days of LP. A decade later he began recording for Deccas American division, and between 1960 and 1970 he made nine albums of solo, recital and concerto repertoire which are gathered here in one set for the first time.

Ricci had already recorded some of the solo Bach sonatas and partitas, but in 1967 he made his first complete set for American Decca. Tully Potters illuminating booklet essay explains how a snowstorm forced Ricci to hole up in a hotel for several days prior to the sessions, and his devoted his time to perfecting his interpretations of Bach.

Ricci was renowned for the astonishing virtuosity that enabled him to tackle the Caprices and Concertos of Paganini without breaking sweat he became the first great exponent of the composer in the LP era with his Decca recordings and he remade the Second Concerto for American Decca in 1964 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Max Rudolf: one of several albums here receiving its first international release on CD.

The American Decca legacy of Ricci also included several concept albums which soon became collectors items. The set opens with the first of them from 1964, on which the violinist plays The Four Seasons of Vivaldi on four different Strads, one for each concerto, with a string ensemble fielding another ten Strads for a uniquely rich string sound.

Two years earlier, Ricci had made The Glory of Cremona, which saw him play fifteen priceless violins in sessions attended by two security guards. Even these two projects pale beside the astonishing virtuosity on display in Bravura!, which collects some of Riccis favourite knuckle-breakers by Paganini, Wieniawski and Ernst. The set closes with another album new to CD, Violin Plus 1 from 1970, which paired Ricci with five different musicians for a unique display of his versatility, accompanying soprano Lee Venora in Villa-Lobos, taking the spotlight in a Saint-Saens Fantaisie for violin and harp, and meeting David Nadien as an equal in the Sonata for Two Violins by Prokofiev. As well as one of the last centurys most spell-binding technicians on the violin, Ricci was a complete musician, to whom this set pays eloquent tribute.

He plays most beautifully in both works, displaying a silvery, lustrous tone and a lean, assertive, bravura style. High Fidelity, May 1965 (Paganini, Saint-Saëns concertos)

Ricci is his customary virtuoso self, yet perhaps even more admirable for his variety of tonal colouring than for his sheer technical dexterity [an] imaginatively chosen, scintillatingly played, and powerfully recorded program. Stereo Review, March 1966 (Paganini, Saint-Saëns concertos)

Altogether brilliant performances here. The warmth of his tone on the G string, the clarity of his harmonics, his clean spiccato bowing, and the overall Hispanic quality of his glowing interpretations add up to superlative fiddling. High Fidelity, May 1962 (Sarasate)

Ricci plays with fervour and sparkling buoyancy throughout Decca's sound is pure and gleaming. High Fidelity, July 1962 (Kreisler)

This recording is one that all fiddle fanciers will insist on having Ricci plays everything with gorgeous tone and impeccable technique. Stereo Review, February 1964 (The Glory of Cremona)


  1. Name
  2. VIVALDI: Concertos For Violin, Strings And Continuo, Op. 8 Nos. 14 Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons)
  3. PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No. 2 In B Minor, Op. 7
  4. SAINT-SAENS: Violin Concerto No. 1 In A Major, Op. 20
  5. JS BACH: Sonata No. 1 In G Minor For Solo Violin, BWV 1001*
  6. Partita No. 1 In B Minor For Solo Violin, BWV 1002
  7. Sonata No. 2 In A Minor For Solo Violin, BWV 1003
  8. JS BACH: Partita No. 2 In D Minor For Solo Violin, BWV 1004
  9. Sonata No. 3 In C Major For Solo Violin, BWV 1005
  10. Partita No. 3 In E Major For Solo Violin, BWV 1006
  11. SARASATE: 8 Danzas Espanolas
  12. Introduction Et Tarantelle, Op. 43
  13. Caprice Basque, Op. 24
  14. Serenata Andaluza, Op. 28
  15. KREISLER: Praeludium And Allegro in The Style Of Pugnani
  16. Siciliano And Rigaudon in The Style Of Francoeur
  17. Chanson Louis XIII And Pavane in The Style Of Couperin
  18. Rondino On A Theme By Beethoven
  19. Variations On A Theme By Corelli in The Style Of Tartini
  20. Recitativo And Scherzo-Caprice, Op. 6 (for Solo Violin)
  21. Caprice Viennois
  22. Tambourin Chinois
  23. Liebesfreud
  24. Liebesleid
  25. Schon Rosmarin
  26. La Gitana
  27. The Old Refrain
  28. La Chasse in The Style Of Cartier
  29. Meet The Masters Ruggiero Ricci Interviewed By Victor Alexander
  31. PIETRO NARDINI: Larghetto [Adagio]
  32. VIVALDI: Preludio (from Violin Sonata In C Minor, Op. 2 No. 7, RV 8)
  33. PAGANINI: Cantabile E Valser, Op. 19
  34. MOZART: Adagio (from Piano Sonata No. 4 In E Flat Major, KV 282, Arr. Friedberg)
  35. KABALEVSKY: Improvisation For Violin And Piano, Op. 21 No. 1
  36. TCHAIKOVSKY: Melodie In E Flat Major, Op. 42 No. 3 (from Souvenir Dun Lieu Cher)
  37. VERACINI: Largo (from Violin Sonata In A Major, Op. 2 No. 6)
  38. VON PARADIS: Sicilienne
  39. HUBAY: Violin Solo, Op. 40a (from The Violin Maker Of Cremona)
  40. HANDEL: Andante (from Flute Sonata In B Minor, HWV 367b. Arr. As Larghetto By Hubay)
  41. SCHUMANN: Romance In A Major, Op. 94 No. 2 (arr. Kreisler)
  42. BRAHMS: Hungarian Dance No. 20 In E Minor, WoO 1 (arr. Kreisler)
  43. Hungarian Dance No. 17 In F Sharp Minor WoO 1 (arr. Kreisler)
  44. MENDELSSOHN: Lied Ohne Worte, Op. 62 No. 1: Andante Espressivo May Breezes (arr. Kreisler)
  45. BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 26 (excerpt) Played On 15 Different Violins
  46. BRAVURA! ~ PIETRO LOCATELLI: Capriccio (from The Harmonic Labyrinth, Op. 3 No. 12)
  47. PAGANINI: Introduction And Variations On Nel Cor Più Non Mi Sento For Solo Violin
  48. ERNST: Airs Hongrois Varies, Op. 22
  49. VON VECSEY: Caprice No. 1: Le Vent
  50. WIENIAWSKI: Les Arpeges Variations Sur LHymne Autrichien
  51. PAGANINI: Variations On A Theme Of Joseph Weigl
  52. ERNST: Variations On The Last Rose Of Summer For Solo Violin
  53. PAGANINI: Variations On God Save The King For Solo Violin, Op. 9
  54. VIOLIN PLUS 1 ~ VIVALDI: Sonata In A Major For Violin And Continuo, Op. 2 No. 2, RV 31
  55. SAINT-SAENS: Fantaisie For Violin And Harp, Op. 124
  56. PAGANINI: Sonata No. 12 In E Minor For Violin And Guitar, Op. 3 No. 6
  57. VILLA-LOBOS: Suite For Voice And Violin
  58. PROKOFIEV: Sonata For Two Violins In C Major, Op. 56
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