early release 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 no MUSIRAMA recordings at all.
the reissue on Masterseal
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 for the Remington label
Kurt Wöss of Tchaikovsky's
Concerto Op. 35. Later recordings of Kreisler pieces, 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 also performed with the Concertgebouw Orchestra the Brahms
Concerto, again conducted by Charles Münch.
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 (the rehearsal of it was on January 27)
was again conducted by Charles Munch. There exists a recording of
this rehearsal without any interruption, of course in a more or less
loose style, saving the energy for the actual concert performance.
She 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 their Fontana and Classette
labels. Later she recorded in France for Erato and Discophiles Français.
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
of young Michèle Auclair.
Picture edited by R.A.B., taken from
the back of an early REMINGTON cover.
liner notes of the first release of Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin
and Orchestra in D, Op. 35, give a short 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;
reissued 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, not only
because of the passionate interpretation, but also because of the
inhibited and youthful playing. J.F. Indcox said in his discography
of Tchaikovsky Recordings on Microgroove (High Fidelity, August 1954)
about R-199-20: "Auclair gives a most striking performance, brimful
of fire, if a trifle impetuous, which exposes a very solid and sure
technical 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 less authentic and less enjoyable (and has less value
same performance also appeared on Masque 10.011, another of
Don Gabor's labels.
On a later release on one of Don Gabor's labels the Tchaikovsky Concerto
is in real STEREO and although the cover mentions Michèle Auclair,
she is not the soloist. The
Palace release in phony stereo (Palace PST624[s]) is not the
Auclair performance either.
Slezak reported that 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 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 certainly was only available in France as Philips
had other violinists like Isaac Stern and Zino Francescati, and of
course Arthur Grumiaux on their rostrum.
On Philips 838 608 VY HIFI-STEREO the concerto was coupled
with her performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto. These recordings
were later released 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
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, and also on a Dutch Fontana
with reference number 6530 006 (with Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting
Mendelssohn's 4th Symphony).
Another Fontana release is 700 161 WGY (200.063 WGL
is the mono issue) with the performances of Mozart's Violin concertos
K218 and K219 with the Stuttgart Philharmonic and Marcel Couraud conducting.
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 M. 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, Isaac Stern, Arthur Grumiaux, and
later Henryk Szeryng. A mistake of judgment by the A&R Department.
also recorded Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 of Bela Bartok 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.
And 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.
On 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 Michèle Auclair.
Michèle Auclair also recorded pieces by Fritz Kreisler which
she performs with pianist Otto Schulhof (1889-1958) and can
be found on
Remington R-199-126. The program:
* 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.
OTTO 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 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. October, 2000
to the Nécropole site it was on June 10th, but newspaper '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 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