Munch around 1950.
early release - ED1 - of the Violin Concerto in D by Tchaikovsky played
by Michèle Auclair and Kurt Wöss. Remington RLP-199-20.
later issue of the Tschaikovsky Concerto (here too the composer's name
spelled the German way: Tschaikovsky!) but now on R-199-20. Later pressings
with the MUSIRAMA label were sold in the same cover. But these were
of course not MUSIRAMA recordings.
of 1958 the Remington label ceased to exist. Already in 1957 the Tchaikovsky
Concerto with Michèle Auclair and Kurt Wöss was reissued
on Masterseal MSLP 5004, processed with different electronics, new plates
and pressed on better vinyl. See Record
Corporation of New England.
Tchaikovsky released on another of Don Gabor's labels: Masque M.10.011
cover of the Bruch recording.
picture of young Michèle Auclair at the beginning of her career
(picture edited by R.A.B., taken from the back of the cover of the Bruch
Hi-Fi Stereo 838 607 VY with Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy conducted
by Robert Wagner.
performed by Michèle Auclair on Musical Heritage Society 606/7.
Auclair, Bach Sonatas for Clavier and Violin - DF 209-210
World Violinists Links
was in 1950 that she made her first recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin
Concerto in D Minor, Op. 35. It was for the Remington label and the
recording was made in Vienna with conductor
Kurt Wöss . Later
recordings of Kreisler pieces, of Bruch's Violin Concerto, and Kol
Nidrei (originally written for cello and orchestra) with conductor
Wilhelm Loibner (1909-1971) were added
to the Remington catalog. That is the beginning of her discography.
violinist Michèle Auclair (born on November 16, 1924) studied
at the Paris Conservatoire with Jules Boucherit and Jacques Thibaud
from France, and with Russian Boris Kamensky. They all influenced
the development of her talent and explains her style of playing with
a beautiful technique and above all with a natural passion. In 1943
she won the "Prix Jacques Thibaud Marguerite Long" and in 1945 she
was a laureate of the "Concours International de Genève", the
Geneva International Competition.
is mention of a performance by twenty year old Michèle Auclair
on Sunday, February 4, 1945, in liberated Paris. She played Mozart's
Concerto in G Major K216 with l'Orchestre
de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
and conductor Charles Münch. This was her first major appearance
in public in a concert hall. In 1948 she performed the Brtahms Concerto
with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, again conducted by Charles Münch.
of young Michèle Auclair.
Picture edited by R.A.B., taken from
the back of an early REMINGTON cover.
Michèle Auclair came to the USA in 1949 to study with Theodore
and Alice Pashkus in New York (See also
Young Violinist's Edition).
In January 1951 she made her debut for the American audience with
the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She played the Tchaikovsky Concerto
Op. 35 and this performance was again conducted by Charles Munch.
There exists a recording of the rehearsal on January 27 played without
interruption, of course in a more or less loose style, saving the
energy for the actual concert performance.
made recordings which were released on Don Gabor's labels, Remington,
Masterseal, Masque and in France on the Concerteum label. She also
recorded for Philips. Some of these recordings were re-released by
Philips on the Fontana and Classette labels. Later she recorded in
France for Discophiles Français and Erato.
Auclair was a honorary professor of the Paris Conservatoire, a frequent
guest at the faculty of the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo,
and often a jury member at mayor competitions. She also taught at
the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1989 until
back of the first edition (Remington RLP-199-20) of Tchaikovsky's
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D, gives a concise biography:
Auclair, at twenty one, has already achieved world recognition
as a violin virtuoso. Born in Paris, the daughter of a noted
painter, she started study of the violin at the age of six.
She was enrolled in the National Conservatoire of Paris and
won first prize upon graduation as well as first prize at the
International Music Festival in Geneva.
She made her debut in Paris appearing as soloist with the Orchestra
de la Société des Concerts. Since then she appeared
with all the French orchestras of national importance and played
with ever increasing acclaim in Switzerland, Belgium, Germany,
Greece and throughout South America. This season her American
debut is being effected with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under
Charles Munch at which time she will play the Tchaikovsky Concerto.
A pupil of Theodore Pashkus, the noted violin pedagogue of New
York City, Michèle Auclair is considered today to be
most likely to succeed Erica Morini as the foremost feminine
violinist of the world.
Her repertory embraces virtually all the known works of forgotten
masters, whose glory she is continuously reviving.
An interesting sidelight on the Tchaikovsky work presented here
is that Miss Auclair recorded the work with a Guarnerius violin,
which had been the property of Adolf Brodzky, violin virtuoso
of the last century. It was Brodzky who gave the first performance
of the Tchaikovsky Concerto when the work received its world
première in Vienna in 1881 and also the initial American
presentation more than a decade later at Carnegie Hall. Both
the deceased virtuoso and Miss Auclair used the same Guarnerius
which was much admired for its pure singing tone by Tchaikovsky
recorded performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto shows passion
and a strong and beautiful tone, not only witnessing Miss Auclair's
virtuosity and sensitivity, but also letting us know how important
the cooperation is between conductor, soloist and orchestra. Although
the technical quality of the recording - RLP-199-20/R-199-20;
also released on Plymouth P-12-121 - does not rise above the
level of the average Remington (it all depends on the quality of the
pressing you obtain), this performance is of a very high standard.
In his discography of 'Tchaikovsky Recordings on Microgroove' (High
Fidelity, August 1954) reviewer J.F. Indcox said about R-199-20: "Auclair
gives a most striking performance, brimful of fire, if a trifle impetuous,
which exposes a very solid and sure technique."
quality of the re-release on the Masterseal label from around 1957
has a less chiseled sound and is not as clear, which makes Masterseal
MSLP 5004 somewhat less authentic if compared to the 'rough'
same performance also appeared on Masque 10.011, another of
Don Gabor's labels.
On a later release the Tchaikovsky Concerto is in real STEREO and
although the cover mentions Michèle Auclair, she is not the
Palace release in phony stereo (Palace PST624[s]) is not the
Auclair performance either.
wrote to me: "From performance listings, it seems that the Palace
recording, attributed to Michele Auclair, is actually one of the Paul
Lazare-produced recordings, listed with Janine Andrade (b.
Nov. 13, 1918) and the Hamburg Radio Symphony, Hans Jürgen
Walther conducting. Walther was the superb conductor on many of
the hokey-named small label issues in the early days of stereo. So
the early Remington is preferred."
Auclair attained more or less the same level of intensity in a later
performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto recorded for Philips.
She plays with the Symphony Orchestra of the City of Innsbruck conducted
by Robert Wagner. If this excellent sound recording was released in
the Philips 835-series, it probably was only available in France as
Philips had other violinists on their rostrum like Isaac Stern and
Zino Francescati, and of course Arthur Grumiaux.
re-release on Philips 838 608 VY HI-FI STEREO the concerto
performed with Robert Wagner conducting was coupled with her performance
of the Mendelssohn Concerto. These recordings were later issued on
Fontana 700 155 WGY and on another Fontana coupled with
Tchaikovsky's Piano Concert No. 1, played by Jacques Klein and the
Brabant Orchestra conducted by Hein Jordans. The Tchaikovsky recording
was also released in a very good mono edition coupled with the rendition
of the Bruch Concerto by Herman Krebbers.
of young Michèle Auclair
Picture taken from the back of an early release of the Tchaikovsky
Picture edited by R.A.B..
same Mendelssohn performance can be found on a later, yet very good
sounding Fontana pressing from France (6554.032), coupled
with 2 excerpts of Schubert's Rosamunde played by The Hague Residency
Orchestra conducted by Willem van Otterloo. On Dutch Fontana
with reference number 6530 006 it was coupled with Wolfgang
Sawallisch conducting Mendelssohn's 4th Symphony.
Another Fontana recording of Michèle Auclair is 700
161 WGY (=894 039 ZKY) with the performances of Mozart's Violin
concertos K218 and K219 with the Stuttgart Philharmonic and Marcel
Couraud conducting. Fontana
200.063 WGL was the mono issue. Her Mozart is vivid and beatifully
few recordings of Michele Auclair are rare.
On Fontana 6554 031 she plays Brahms' Concerto with
Willem van Otterloo conducting the 'Wiener Symphoniker' (Vienna Symphony
Orchestra). It really is strange that so few recordings were made
with Mme. Auclair. Even the Brahms Concerto recorded with Willem van
Otterloo was not available in many countries and only could be ordered
and if it was available it was only for a short period of time. In
France it appeared in the Philips 836 series. The policy seemed to
be not to release that recording but in France, because Michèle
Auclair was considered more or less a local/regional artist and not
of world stature! More so Philips gave priority to the other violinists
in their catalogue: Zino Francescati, and later Henryk Szeryng. A
mistake of judgment by the A&R Department. But then we have to remember
that in the 1960s Michèle was in a car accident and that certainly
did change her solo carreer.
also recorded Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 of Béla Bartók
and Prokofiev's Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in D, Op. 94a, in
which she is accompanied by Jacqueline Robin, piano. The recording
was issued on the Coup d'archet label.
On Musical Heritage Society 606/7 were released 'The Complete
Works for Violin and Piano' of Franz Schubert with pianist Geneviève
Joy, a 2 LP set.
Discophiles Français DF-209-210 she plays Sonatas for
Keyboard and Violin (Sonates pour clavier et violon) of Johann Sebastian
Bach, Marie-Claire Alain playing the organ. On the same label, Reference
No. 525-122, she plays the Violin Sonatas by Claude Debussy
and Maurice Ravel, with Jacqueline Bonneau at the piano.
Michèle Auclair is not the violinist in
the recording of "L'histoire du soldat" (Stravinsky) on Vox PL 7960
with the Oubradous Chamber Orchestra conducted by Fernand Oubradous
as some sellers of vintage vinyl may want us to believe. The name
listed for the recording is that of actor Michel Auclair who is the
narrator of the story, and not violinist Michèle Auclair.
Michèle Auclair also recorded pieces by Fritz Kreisler which
she performs with pianist Otto Schulhof and can be found on
* Schön Rosmarin,
* Caprice viennois,
* Old Refrain, and
* Tambourin chinois.
B features the Austrian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Max Schönherr,
playing ballet music by Delibes (Coppélia, Sylvia). The record
was released in July 1953. On the back of R-199-126 a short
biographical note was printed about concert and recital pianist Otto
Schulhof (March 3rd 1889 - April 16th, 1958), an extremely fine
accompanist. The name Kubelik is of course that of violinist Jan Kubelik.
SCHULHOF is a native of that city of musical history, Vienna.
He has toured Europe with Kreisler, Huberman and Kubelik and for
many years played with the great master of the cello, Pablo Casals.
selection of spirited performances of Kreisler Favorites, also played
with veteran Otto Schulhof, and resulted in spirited performances,
was released on Remington R-199-128:
* Praeludium & Allegro (Pugnani-Kreisler)
* Melodie (Gluck-Kreisler)
* Rondino On A Theme Of Beethoven (Kreisler)
* Songs My Mother Taught Me (Dvorak-Kreisler)
* Serenade Espagnola (Chaminade-Kreisler)
* Danse Espagnole (de Falla-Kreisler).
the B-Side cellist Gaspar Cassado plays his favourites (with
* Spinning Wheel (Mendelssohn)
* Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 (Chopin)
* Gavotte, Op.23 (Popper)
* Melody (Rubinstein)
* Valse sentimental (Tchaikovsky)
* Improvisations on "The Blue Danube" (Strauss-Cassado).
in the Violin Concerto No. 1 Op. 26 and Kol Nidrei of
Max Bruch on Remington R-199-127 - released in the spring
of 1953 - misses some of the fire, intensity and nervousness of the
Tchaikovsky performance. Both soloist and conductor remain in somewhat
calm waters. The Concerto suffers from a few unlucky intonations,
a less conscious playing by both soloist and orchestra. One never
knows under what circumstances the recordings were made.
Warren De Motte said rightfully about these performances that
"Michèle Auclair plays with tempered feeling."
Listening to the same recording 50 years later, one can not help adhering
a somewhat deeper intensity to the Bruch performances.
.A. Bruil. Page first published in October, 2000
daily 'Le monde' reported that it was on Wednesday June 8th, 2005,
that Michèle Auclair passed away at the age of 80 in Paris.
She had been married to composer Antoine Duhamel and later to critic
Armand Panigel. After a severe car accident she was forced to end
a relatively short career as a soloist. In 1969 she became a violin
teacher at the 'Conservatoire national supérieur de musique'
(CNSM) - National Conservatory of Music - in Paris, a post which she
held until 1990, the year of her retirement. The Boston Globe published
an obituary stating the importance of Michèle Auclair when
she was teaching at the New England Conservatory and remembering the
performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto she gave with the Boston Symphony
under the direction of Charles Munch in 1951.
French minister of culture and communications, Renaud Donnedieu de
Vabres, remembered the great violinist "whose renown of international
soloist was only equaled by her talent and her immense passion as
a pedagogue, a mission which was brought by Michèle Auclair
to the highest level for more than twenty years."
for a Sound Clip of the Preludium (of Preludium & Allegro
- Pugnani-Kreisler) played by Michèle Auclair accompanied
by Otto Schulhof.
again to her playing, it is Pugnani's Praeludium & Allegro in the
arrangement of Fritz Kreisler, that she performs so extremely well
and seems to sum up her strong personality and artistic life. It is
a firm statement, it shows authority and beauty, but it is also a
prayer when leaving this earth with grace, and reminiscing the vivacity
of a life, full of occurrences, praise and dedication, which finally
ends in an affirmative manner.
Her recording of the Kreisler favorites and her other relatively rare
recordings will always remind us of her passionate style and superb
mastering of the art of violin playing.
A.Bruil. June 18th, 2005