Friday, 23 December 2016

David Nadien

Re-mastering a CD of violin music is a delicate task. All too often, cleaning up and brightening an "old" sound results in the higher reaches of the violin sounding over-bright, with a steely sheen to the sound. It was therefore greatly to my delight when sampling a re-mastering of David Nadien playing twelve encore pieces to discover that the violin sound was impeccable, despite the new CD being labelled "Stereo. Super Audio CD. SACD" and all the other buzzwords that too often portend something inferior to the original. Not having a SACD player, the advantages of that technology pass me by, but I do like a good violin sound, especially when David Nadien is playing.

Being a super-top violinist in America in most of the twentieth century was no automatic passport to a top career. For a start, to all intents and purposes there were only two companies making classical recordings: RCA and CBS. Both companies were conservative, and both frowned on duplicating key repertoire. For violinists, there was the Heifetz hurdle, then the Isaac Stern hurdle. Some American violinists such as Milstein (naturalised) or Menuhin escaped the RCA and CBS limitations by recording in Europe where there was a much wider choice of recording companies. Other American violinists such as Oscar Shumsky, Joseph Gingold and David Nadien dodged the problem by embarking on alternative careers. Nadien became big in the world of commercial recording for films, advertising, etc. Luckily his playing was preserved (mainly by friends) so we can still enjoy his suave, impeccable sound. I greatly enjoyed this recital CD, re-mastered by a good friend of mine.

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