Your Cart : 0 item
Total : Free
Your Cart is currently empty!
Product update

COUP 003 - Johanna Martzy



eethoven Sonata for Violin and Piano

Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Opus 47 'Kreutzer'; Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Opus 30 No. 3. Piano: Jean Antonietti

With kind permission of Bayerischen Rundfunks, München, and Radio Suisse Romande.

LPs now sold out


Johanna Martzy: Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano

On December 12th 1949 Johanna performed a recital with Antonietti in the small town of Glarus in northern Switzerland. At the post-performance reception she was approached by a gentleman and his wife, who wished to pay their respects. He introduced himself as Daniel Tschudi, a local business man. A brief conversation revealed that he was an amateur violin player who was not only interested in other players, but also keenly interested in the instruments themselves. He appeared to know whet he was talking about. It also transpired that, as a member of the Glarus Concert and Performance Society, he was responsible for booking them that night. As their next engagement was not until the 14th, the duo accepted the Tschudi's invitation to take lunch with them the following day.

The violin she was playing at the time was an instrument attributed to Tononi, bought by her mother from the Remènyi shop in Budapest when Johanna was fifteen. It was temperamental and difficult to play, frequently requiring the attentions of her luthier, Pierre Gerber, 'The Mayor of Lausanne' as he is still affectionately known by the many renowned violinists whom he has served as violin doctor. At this time Daniel Tschudi owned two particularly fine instruments – a Peter Guarneri of 1747 and a Carlo Bergonzi of 1733.

In 1936, Tschudi, twenty-eight year old heir to a publishing concern in Glarus, had bought the Bergonzi from Hug and Co. in Zürich. Of an artistic as well as a musical inclination, he had a deep appreciation of the art of violin making. In the illustrated booklet he lovingly published on the Bergonzi in 1942 (150 numbered copies), Daniel states that it was 'acknowledged as the finest example known'. Indeed it was one of the famed Luigi Tarisio's six favourite violins, bought by Vuillaume in 1854. Not merely a delight to the eye, with its magnificent cherry-red varnish, it was also a delight to the ear. Tschudi's other violin, the Guarneri, had belonged to the great Carl Flesch. Daniel had acted as its caretaker throughout the war until Flesch could safely collect it. When he died in Lausanne in October 1945, Daniel bought it from his widow.

On December 13th 1949, Daniel Tschudi showed his treasures to Johanna, presenting her somewhat prophetically, at the end of their day together, with a copy of the Bergonzi booklet. The following March, Johanna and Jean visited the Tschudi's home again. This time Daniel had a proposal for her. Would she like to borrow the Guarneri on a semi-permanent basis? Needless to say, Johanna was thrilled, at least for a while. She was certainly overcome by Daniel's generosity. Unfortunately, though the violin was fine for the occasional recital, it was too delicate an instrument to withstand Johanna's powerful bowing in concerti. For such occasions she stuck to her Tononi. However, because of a freak accident whilst playing the Brahms in Luzerne on the 15th of December 1950, Johanna had cause to use the spare violin which Daniel had brought along – the Bergonzi. This violin was to become her favourite, the violin she would use on all her commercial recordings, and the majority of her concerts. The Tononi became her spare, until 1956.

When the Hubermann ex-Kreisler Stradivari of 1733 appeared in Pierre Vidoudet's Geneva shop in 1956, Pierre gerber, believing it would suit Johanna well, recommended she try to buy it. Daniel promptly bought it for 120,000 Swiss Francs. However, though the Strad had a profound deep, velvet tone, Johanna was never quite happy with it. It seems that again, she was just too strong for it. She always preferred the Bergonzi, which is indeed a fantastic instrument. Her strength was stil a problem at times, and the violin often required attention, the soundpost needing regular adjustment. Needless to say, where-ever Johanna toured, much was made of the violins she carried, swaddled in velvet in their double case. Readers may be interested to note that, which the exception of the Tononi, all the above are featured in Hamma's book 'Italian Violin Makers'.

© Glenn Armstrong / Coup d'Archet 1997

Track listing

Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonata No. 9 in A Major Opus 47 "Kreutzer"

  1. Adagio sostenuto - Presto
  2. Andante con variazioni
  3. Finale (Presto)

Accompanist: Jean Antonietti

Recorded May 6th 1956, BR Studio 1

Used with kind permission of Bayerischen Rundfunks, München.


Sonata No. 8 in G Major Opus 30 No. 3

  1. Allegro assai
  2. Tempo di Minuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso
  3. Allegro vivace

Accompanist: Jean Antonietti

Recorded January 27 1965

Used with kind permission of Espace 2/Radio Suisse Romande.

Coup d'Archet