young violin player Gérard Poulet recorded for the Remington
label in Vienna he was about 14 years old.
If you want to know what the term 'child-prodigy' means, you simply
should listen to Mozart's G Major Concerto K216 played by young Gérard
His performance recorded with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra is lyrical,
has perfect timing and beautiful phrasing, and the young violinist has
an outstanding technique.
mature interpretation has no haste, but depth and calmness when demanded
and lightness in the outer movements.
This not only proves Gerard Poulet's musicianship but also the excellent
teachers he must have had all along. One of them is the father of the
talented youngster, Gaston Poulet, himself a noted violinist, conductor
The recording was made for Remington Records in 1952 in Vienna (at the
time when Michèle Auclair made her Kreisler Favorites recordings).
The same characterization goes for Mozart's D Major Concerto K 218,
also conducted by Gaston Poulet. Although Heifetz and Goldberg were
preferred by many, the critics were very positive about these performances.
K216 can be found on R-199-131. (coupled with 3 Mozart Overtures
Warren DeMotte writes in
Long Playing Record Guide:
Poulets are a father and son team to be reckoned with. The youth
fiddles with more than a modicum of understanding; his father wields
a perceptive baton.'
DeMotte characterizes the K218 performance on R-199-125 as
Gérard Poulet is astonishingly mature in his interpretation
and fiddling technique; father Gaston's part in their collaboration
critic B.H. Haggin evaluates these recordings in his book “The
Listener’s Musical Companion” as follows:
for Violin. K 216 and 218 are played by thirteen-year old
Gerard Poulet with youthful warmth and purity and extraordinarily
sentient inflection that make these two of the most remarkable
and beautiful performances on records; and the playing of the
Austrian Symphony under his father Gaston Poulet also is outstanding."
the section Records in Review of High Fidelity Magazine, September-October
1953, C.G. Burke writes:
of us agree that the child-musician is among the least endearing
of fauna, but a 14-year-old violinist is presented here in appealing
and presentable guise, without pretention in a direct and musicianly
recreation of an expertly guileless concerto by a 19-year-old
composer. The conducting of Poulet père must have
had much to do with the cool tastefulness of this record, which
challenges the preëminence of several renowned violinists
in the same music and has the most accurate reproduction of them
Violin Concertos by Mozart were recorded by Eva Hitzker with Fritz Weidlich
conducting on R-149-37 (K219), and K271a was performed by
Airoff with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kurt
Wöss on R-199-46.
The liner notes
on the R-199-131 release state the following information about father
Poulet is one of the permanent conductors of the famous Colonne
Orchestra of Paris. He began his career as a violinist and made
his debut as conductor in Paris in 1926 where the "Poulet
Concerts" became an established event under his baton. He
is best known in France but has traveled throughout Europe conducting
the major orchestras of Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, England,
Holland, Italy and Spain.
Poulet, the son of Gaston Poulet, is a child-prodigy, who has
already established a name for himself in Europe. Born in 1939,
by 1951 he had completed his studies at the Paris Conservatory
and won by unanimous vote First Prize. His debut in December
1951 with the Colonne Orchestra was an outstanding success and
he has since toured England in concert and been widely acclaimed
in that country.
was born on 12th of August 1938 (and not 1939 as the cover states) in
Bayonne in the south of France. At the early age of 5 he showed his
disposition and at the age of 11 he entered the Paris Conservatory where
he studied with André Asselin. His first appearance in concert
performing Mendelssohn and Lalo (with his father conducting l'Orchestre
des Concerts Colonne') gave him instant fame and resulted in appearances
in other cities in Europe and brought him to perform in Vienna where
the recordings for the Remington label were made.
18 he was awarded the Premio Paganini at the contest in Genoa
and there he played on Paganini's violin. He studied further with Zino
Francescati, Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein and above all with
Henryk Szeryng who named him his spiritual son. And from then
on he not only concertizes in France's important cities and the music
centers of most European countries, but he travels all over the world
from China and Japan to the US and Canada, from Tunesia to Brazil and
repertory entails works of Bartok, Beethoven, Fauré, Franck, Lekeu,
Schubert, Stravinski and Bach (complete Sonatas and Partitas).
Poulet at the time when he made several recordings for the DEESSE
label: 24 Caprices (Paganini), Sonatas by Prokofiev and Bartok
(with pianist Maurice Blanchot), and Miniatures of Wieniawsky,
Dvorak, Bartok, Kreisler, Boutry, Bloch, Debussy, Brahms, Ravel,
cover of his outstanding recording of The Twenty-Four Caprices
- Paganini on DEESSE DDLX 168.
harpsichordist Blandine Verlet he recorded the early Mozart Sonatas
for Philips (6747 200), later added to the Sonatas played by
Henryk Szeryng and Ingrid Haebler in the issue Mozart Edition (6747
Philips 9500 158 from 1976 he plays Vivaldi's Concerto for Four
Violins together with Henryk Szeryng, Maurice Hanson and Claire Bernard,
Henryk Szeryng conducting the English Chamber Orchestra.
Déesse DDLX 58 he plays solo pieces by Schubert, Ravel,
Brahms, Paganini, Dvorak, Wieniawski and Bloch, with Maurice Blanchot
at the piano.
On EMI ISA 801-2LP can be found: Beethoven: Sonata Op.24; Mozart:
Sonata K.526; Debussy: Sonata; Prokofiev: Sonata 2; Ravel: Tzigane performed
with Claude-Erik Nandrup at the piano
1978 he performed Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Triple Concerto (with
Claude-Erik Nandrup, piano, and Jean-Marie Gamard, cello)
for the benefit of the "Club Isambert" which strives for better
understanding of the ear, nose and throat disorders. It was a live performance
with the Orchestra of the "Garde Républicaine" conducted
by Roger Boutry. These performances were issued on record (ref.:
101 178). Le Club Isambert was named after François-André
Isambert (November 30, 1792April 13, 1857) who was a French lawyer
and was a beacon in the struggle for human rights. The performance for
the occasion was recorded for distribution among the members of the
Isembert Club and should be judges in that light.
Poulet (image courtesy Municipality of Genoa - Paganini Competition
Poulet is currently professor at the 'Conservatoire National Supérieur
de Musique de Paris', gives master classes and often is a jury member
at major contests.
Rudolf A. Bruil,