Alfredo Campoli is best remembered for the various classic recordings of the concerto repertoire set down for Decca in the 1950's.
The Scottish Fantasia recorded here is a cut version, missing the central movement, however such is the fire and passion of Campoli's playing, that this is probably the best recording available.
He brings a soulful charm to the slow movement while his fireworks in the Allegro Guerriero recall Jascha Heifetz in their accomplished virtuosity. Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who are placed rather backwards in this early stereo recording, accompany him with great romantic ardour.
Curiously, the Beethoven Concerto recording of 1952 retains the better sound with an admirably balanced positioning between soloist and orchestra. Here Josef Krips gives a classical sort of support to Campoli's extrovert musical playing, the First Movement may tend to be overlong, however all is ease and poise in this reading.
The Rondo has that delightful gypsy feel to it, here Campoli strikes a balance between overt wizardry and purity of tone that is quite disarming. Once again the recording is excellent, an Olof/Wilkinson mono production.
The booklet is annotated by Bill and Gill Newman and is extremely informative with some very interesting inserts about the actual compositions themselves. Fine performances these are, although you may find other stalwarts such as Heifetz and Oistrach preferable in this repertoire.
Copyright © 1999, Gerald Fenech