The Strad Issue: December 2016
Description: A little-recorded violinist in a 1958 performance
Musicians: Berl Senofsky (violin) Marie Louise Bastyns (piano)
Composer: Bartók, Creston, Ysaÿe, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Wieniawski
Catalogue number: BRIDGE 9470

Fondly recalled by connoisseurs, the American violinist Berl Senofsky (1926–2002) made few records, so this 1958 recital, from his return to Brussels after winning the 1955 Queen Elisabeth Competition, is very welcome. He is partnered by the excellent local pianist Marie Louise Bastyns (now aged 82).

Of greatest interest is Ysaÿe’s Sixth solo Sonata, written for Manuel Quiroga: Senofsky plays rhapsodically, with great virtuosity, and catches the Spanish rhythms. A pupil of Persinger and Galamian, he sounds more Franco–Belgian than Russian–American. The vocalises by Ravel (muted) and Rachmaninoff are exquisitely done, and both the Bartók–Székely Romanian Dances and Wieniawski’s Grand duo polonaise combine virtuosity with élan.

Paul Creston’s little Sonata is charmingly done by both artists, the twinkling Rondo well rehearsed. On his own again, Senofsky contributes a splendid, deeply felt Bach Chaconne. It is a shame to have only the finale of Brahms’s A major Sonata, but the Hungarian Dance no.7, with lovely double-stopping, is some recompense. The sound is a little disembodied but good for a broadcast of that vintage.

Tully Potter