1918-2018 Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition

1918-2018 Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition

Ruggiero Ricci

Label: Rhine Classics
Format: CD
Barcode: 4713106280134
Catalog number: RH 013
Releasedate: 02-08-19
- Third of three boxes dedicated to the art of Ruggiero Ricci, one of the greatest violinists of 20th Century. This 4CD box contains rare recordings of Sonatas, from Bach to Prokofiev.
- Project dedicated to and realized under the auspices of Mme Julia Ricci, Ruggiero’s wife.
From 1947 to 1956 Ricci played on the 1734 Guarneri del Gesù “Ferni, Duc de Camposelice” and from 1956 to 1999 he usually played on the 1731 Guarneri del Gesù “Gibson, ex-Huberman”, which he purchased in 1977. For him the Guarneri sound (as opposed to Stradivari) was a matter of preference, able as it was to give the required brilliance, colour and attack that he sought. Until 1981 he owned also a violin Lorenzo Storioni c.1779, with which he recorded the 6 Bach’s Solos on 27-28 February 1981 . This 4 CDs set presents live and studio recordings, ranging from 1952 to 1986, including some rarities, never recorded commercially, like the Bartók Romanian Folk Dances (CD1), Bloch Violin Sonata No.1 (CD2), Prokofiev Violin Sonata No.1 (CD3) and Saint-Saëns Violin Sonata No.1 Op.75 (CD4).

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.