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Johanna Martzy (1924-1979)

By David Patrick Stearns - Andante, 2001


The mystique of the lovely Hungarian violinist is growing — even though she's been dead for more than twenty years. [...]

Johanna martzy

Posthumous careers such as Martzy's germinate unpredictably, often from the second-hand LP record market. Her EMI and Deutsche Grammophon LPs, dating from the 1950s, now go for as much as $500 a disc. Perhaps in response to that, Japanese EMI released the six-disc "Art of Johanna Martzy" in 1988. The first Martzy CD release in the West came in 1994 with her Brahms and Mendelssohn concerto performances on Testament. Then from smaller labels came a flood of previously unreleased material:.The England-based Coup d'Archet delivered five discs of European radio releases that were hard to get in the U.S. (though some have turned up on The Doremi label has a series of live recitals taped in Canada, though only Volume 1 is currently available. Meanwhile, Japanese EMI re-released its Martzy CD box this year with an added bonus: two long-suppressed recordings from 1954 of the violinist playing Mendelssohn and Mozart with Sawallisch, made amid quarrels about tempo and other matters.

Slowly, Martzy's biography has emerged: her birth in Transylvania, education in pre-war Budapest, the devastating death of her second husband,  the false accusations about her political affiliations  and her decision to leave EMI rather than grant sexual favors to its  chief, Walter Legge. If that doesn't draw you in, the photographs of Martzy will: she was a slim, fine-featured woman, her hair always tied up in a bun, the violin never far from her hands, her eyes often distant and quite sad. Music lovers aren't supposed to be entranced by such superficialities, but that's just what makes these posthumous reputations.  [...]

W.A. MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, KV 218 (1775) - Partitur/ score

Johanna Martzy, violin, (Wikipedia - FR)
Eugen Jochum, conducter, (Wikipedia - EN, DE, FR)
1952 Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corperation [Chamber Orchestra],  (Wikipedia - EN, DE, FR)

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