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discovered tapes | showpieces
Various

discovered tapes | showpieces

Ruggiero Ricci

Label: Rhine Classics
Format: CD
Barcode: 4713106280127
barcode
Catalog number: RH 012
Releasedate: 02-08-19
- Second of three boxes focused on one of the greatest virtuoso violinists of XXth Century, Ruggiero Ricci, this one contains showpieces.
- Project realized under the auspices of M.me Julia Ricci, Ruggiero’s wife

Ricci followed the tradition of Váša Příhoda, the Czech virtuoso, who performed Paganini as a central part of his repertory (Ricci gave the U.S. premieres of both the 4th and 6th Violin Concertos). Giving so much attention to the works of the genoese composer, as he later said, he learned much of the violin-technique from Paganini’s works.  Mainly for this reason, Ricci was often associated with Paganini, but during his life he was firmly opposed to any categorization, and indeed he was used to say: “A specialist is somebody who plays all the other types of music worse”.
This 4 CDs set presents live and studio recordings, ranging from 1946 to 1970, including some rarities, never recorded commercially.

Ruggiero Ricci was born in 1918 in Northern California to a family of patriotic Italian immigrants who named him Woodrow Wilson Rich and his brother (that became a renowned cellist) George Washington Rich.

His ambitious father, a trombone player, instructed his children to become musicians (“either musician or garbage man”).

Ricci’s first teacher, from the age of six, was Louis Persinger, same mentor of Yehudi Menuhin. His debut in 1928 at the age of ten in San Francisco, playing a memorable program of works by Vieuxtemps, Saint-Saëns, Mendelssohn and Wieniawski, accompanied by Persinger on the piano, astounded the audience and started him on the road to early stardom. His consecration as a world class “wunderkind”, one of the 20th century’s few authentic prodigies, came in 1929 in New York when the leading critic of the day wrote: “All that great violinists do, he did.” There he gave his first orchestral performance, with Mendelssohn Concerto.

In 1930, Persinger introduced him to Fritz Kreisler and Jacques Thibaud on the occasion of a West coast concert tour. Although further tuition by Fritz Kreisler was intended, Ricci decided to go to Berlin to study with Georg Kulenkampff. He learned the totally different “German style” of playing in the tradition of Adolf Busch avoiding glissando and portamento. He continued his studies with Mishel Piastro and Paul Stassevich, both pupils of Leopold Auer, and again with Persinger.

In 1932, at the age of fourteen, he made his first European tour, a highly sensationalized series of concerts with the world’s greatest orchestras. He served in the U.S. Army during WWII, from 1942 until 1945, and became “Entertainment Specialist”. During those years he played and broadcast hundreds of concerts under a variety of unusual conditions, often without an accompanist, exploring and presenting the largely unexploited solo violin repertoire.

Paganini music played a central role during this period. Ricci followed the tradition of Váša Příhoda, the Czech virtuoso, who performed Paganini as a central part of his repertory (Ricci gave the U.S. premieres of both the 4th and 6th Violin Concertos). Giving so much attention to the works of the genoese composer, as he later said, he learned much of the violin-technique from Paganini’s works.