Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arnold Földesy on Odeon

Here is a record by the brilliant, eccentric Hungarian cellist Arnold Földesy, on the American Odeon label. Földesy, a student of the influential cellist David Popper, played with the Berlin Philharmonic, and in 1924 began a solo career that lasted until his retirement in 1933. Fellow cellist Gregor Piatigorsky described him: "Unreliable and exuberant, and not very scholarly, he had a peasant-like directness, and his mastery of his instrument attracted me." Piatigorsky goes on to relate a visit to Földesy during which the latter practiced naked while his wife massaged his head.

The Odeon label had branches across the globe.  The history of American Odeon is confusing and convoluted.  The label was used by Okeh for "ethnic" recordings, and later for classical recordings made in Europe, like this one.  Okeh, and Columbia, who bought American Odeon along with Okeh, used a variety of label styles and colors.  Information about the 3000 series of imported recordings is hard to come by; my best guess about this record is that it dates from the middle of the 1920s.  In any case, Odeons were well-made records, and these two sides by a fine cellist hold up well.  Here is Földesy playing Chopin's "Nocturne in E Flat," Op. 9. No. 2, and "Serenade (Zur Guitarre)" by his teacher, David Popper.

Nocturne in E Flat


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