Label news: The unheard Ivry Gitlis

Label news: The unheard Ivry Gitlis


norman lebrecht

June 06, 2021

Everyone who knew Ivry was aware that he was under-represented on record.

Many suspected that there were uneidted tapes lying around all over Europe.

Well, what do you know?

Coming this summer…..

Ivry died last December, aged 98.


  • Novagerio says:

    A blessing to record-collectors, those of us who are left, and don’t fancy the Downloads that have destroyed the recording industry.

    An individual artist, with a sound and a phrasing of his own, with the charming mix of the Jewish and the “Gipsy”, and at times also the “crazy”. Wonderful !!

  • Robert Roy says:

    As under recorded as Ida Haendel was. Looking forward to hearing these tapes from Mr. Gitlis.

    There must be a tremendous amount of treasures sitting in radio archives. I’ve always hoped a tape would emerge of David Oistrakh playing the Elgar Concerto.

  • Wise Guy says:

    There must be even more such treasures hiding in private collections out there, including his own estate.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    This is bound to be of huge interest to violin fans. Early in his career Gitlis commercially recorded for some labels where it might be tough to track down master tapes and rights and such. I am not referring to Vox, although they too hold some Gitlis treasures in their vaults. While later in life Gitlis did make commercial and good sounding recordings of encore/salon/short pieces, that kind of music is just a part of what made him such a distinctive artist.

    Even violinists who recorded a fair amount have left tape legacies that reveal different and valuable aspects of them and of their repertoire. Michael Rabin is a good example of that. Even Isaac Stern — if you want his unaccompanied Bach you have to look to concert and broadcast tapes, some of them bootleg tapes. You might also look to such tapes for better versions of the Beethoven and Schubert sonatas than Columbia/Sony released commercially.

    The Centaur label has been working with Steven Staryk himself to release his performances of much music that in a more ideal world would have been carefully created and edited commercial recordings of standard repertoire sonatas and concertos. The fact that the tapes might be generations removed from an original, and that the sound was not studio quality even when new, is something the true aficianado learns to live with. My hunch is that this will be the case with the Gitlis trove.

    At least in the case of Ruggiero Ricci (who was hardly under-recorded, but was under-recorded for a good chunk of his enormous repertoire, not all of which was virtuoso high-jinks) the Hong Kong firm of One-Eleven seemed to work directly with Ricci in releasing what must certainly have been tapes in Ricci’s own collection, while Ricci was still alive and active. Some CDs were vague about conductors and orchestras and other colleagues for obvious legal reasons. Sometimes the sound was marvelous, sometimes poor, and sometimes there were pitch/speed of tape issues.

    In general I think fanciers of rarely recorded or under appreciated opera singers have learned to “listen through” the sonic challenges of informally recorded or over-duped tapes (or, for that matter, acoustical cylinders and acoustic and electric 78s) better than those whose interest is more instrumental music.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Meanwhile, for anyone who wants to see the contents…

    You have to click on the picture of the CD; sadly, contents are not listed.