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Gérard Poulet (1938)







Mozart's K 216 was coupled with Handel's Water Music also conducted by Gustav Koslik


Mozart's K 218 was coupled with 3 Mozart Overtures (conducted by Gustav Koslik)








On Side 2 of Philips 6500 038: Gérard Poulet together with Henryk Szeryng in Concertone für zwei Violinen (Mozart)








Mozart's Early Violin Sonatas with Blandine Verlet on harpsichord recorded for the Philips label.








Le Club Isambert 101 178


View Maestro Poulet's biography (in French).











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When young violin player Gérard Poulet recorded for the Remington label in Vienna he was about 13 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 Poulet.
His performance recorded with the Austrian Symphony Orchestra is lyrical, has perfect timing and beautiful phrasing, and the young violinist has an outstanding technique.


The 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 and pedagogue.
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.

Mozart's K216 can be found on R-199-131. Critic Warren DeMotte writes in The Long Playing Record Guide:

'The 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.'

And DeMotte characterizes the K218 performance on R-199-125 as follows:

'Young Gérard Poulet is astonishingly mature in his interpretation and fiddling technique; father Gaston's part in their collaboration is admirable.'

Music critic B.H. Haggin evaluates these recordings in his book “The Listener’s Musical Companion” as follows:

“Concertos 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."

In the section Records in Review of High Fidelity Magazine, September-October 1953, C.G. Burke writes:

“Most 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 all."

Other Violin Concertos by Mozart were recorded by Eva Hitzker with Fritz Weidlich conducting on R-149-37 (K219), and K271a was performed by Helen 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 and son:

Gaston 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.

Gérard 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.

Gérard Poulet 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.

At 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 Argentine.

His repertory entails works of Bartok, Beethoven, Fauré, Franck, Lekeu, Schubert, Stravinski and Bach (complete Sonatas and Partitas).

Gérard 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, Blanchot, etc.

(Photo: Maurice Apelbaum)

Gérard Poulet playing Paganini Caprices
The cover of his outstanding recording of The Twenty-Four Caprices - Paganini on DEESSE DDLX 168.

With 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 381).

On 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.

On 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

In 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, 1792—April 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.




Gérard Poulet (image courtesy Municipality of Genoa - Paganini Competition Secretariat)

Gérard 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, summer 2002



Copyright 1995-2009 by Rudolf A. Bruil