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Staryk Anthology > Details

This anthology comes with a 96-page booklet containing the most details ever presented regarding composer, composition, instruments used, collaboration of all individuals, chamber groups, conductors and orchestras, dates of performances, locations, references and reviews.

 

THE ANTHOLOGY: 
Over 50 years of performances condensed into 30 compact discs with 246 compositions, 2200 minutes of music, 60 live performances and 120 reviews.

COMPOSERS:
From Purcell to contemporary composers of the 1970’s.

GENRES:
Traditional violin repertoire, chamber ensembles, orchestral solos, authentic gypsy and jazz.
“…his successful diversity of styles is not equalled by any other violinist.”  (James Creighton: Discopaedia of the Violin)

TECHNIQUE ON WQXR, NEW YORK: 
A review broadcast of 36 studies drawn from Sevcik, Mazas and Kreutzer to Paganini and Wieniawski:
“The first recording of its kind ever to appear.” (EMI)

UNACCOMPANIED REPERTOIRE: 
Bach, Pisendel, Papineau-Couture and Prokofiev among others.

CHAMBER MUSIC: 
The complete Beethoven sonatas with John Perry; major works of the
baroque, classical, impressionist and contemporary music in quartet, trio
and duo repertoire.
“This set is now my Beethoven Violin Sonata set of choice…”
(American Record Guide)

CONCERTMASTER SOLOS: 
From “The king of concertmasters.” (The Strad, London)

INSTRUMENTS: 
5 Strads, 4 Guarneri del Gesu; Guadagnini; Petrus Guarneri of Mantua and Joseph Filius Andrea Guarneri; Maggini, Amati, Ruggieri, Goffriller and 3 contemporary luthiers.


COLLABORATORS: 
17 pianists, 3 harpsichordists, and 50 string and wind colleagues among whom Oskar Shumsky performs as the violist in the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante:
“It’s difficult to describe the solo or ensemble playing without a string of superlatives.” (Toronto Star)

CONCERTI: 
The 25 in this collection include such rarely performed works as the Walton, Schumann, Shostakovich, and the Vaughan Williams as well as premieres of the Tippett and a number of Canadian composers, six of whom dedicated their concerti to Staryk.
“He is today’s greatest Canadian-born violinist.” (Globe and Mail, Toronto)

ORCHESTRAS AND CONDUCTORS:
20 orchestras and 35 conductors including the following: The Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (London), Royal Concertgebouw, Chicago Symphony, The Norddeutscher Rundfunk Symphony, Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, Scottish National.
“No violinist makes a purer sound.” (Chicago Daily Mail)

SOURCES:
Recorded live broadcasts, commercial studio recordings, direct-to-disc recordings, documentaries, telecasts, live performances, unreleased and discontinued recordings.
“Staryk mesmerizes from start to end.” (The Gazette, Montreal)

CREDITS:
Digital Remastering: Jeff Harris • Program Notes: Cam Trowsdale • Cover Design: Carol Cefalu • Narrative: Barbara Quan

Note: The Staryk Anthology is a limited edition intended for archival, research and study purposes. A list of music libraries to which pro-bono copies have been sent can be found here. The Staryk Anthology is a non-profit, non-commercial project.

Additional copies are available at cost.

 

Staryk Anthology > Table of Contents

30 CDs of unparalleled versatility performed by the unique and legendary, Staryk.

 

  1. Opening Narrative; Rimsky Korsakoff: Le Coq D’or; Documentary; Mozart: Concerto No. 3, K.216
  2. Walton: Violin Concerto; Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Russo: Jazz Concerto; Corelli: La Folia; Kalman: Play Gypsy Play; Traditional: Dinicu: Hora Staccato; Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 17; Paganini: Concerto No. 4 (Canzonetta); Sarasate: Introduction & Tarantella
  3. Haydn: String Quartet Op. 3, No. 5; Haydn: Sonata for Violin and Piano, H-XV/32; Mozart: Piano Quartet, K.493; Schubert: Sonata in A Minor for Violin and Piano, D385; Schubert: Sonatine for Violin and Piano in D Op. 137
  4. Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas Nos. 9, 2, 8
  5. Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas Nos. 10, 4, 1, 3
  6. Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas Nos. 7, 5, 6
  7. Prokofiev: Concerto No. 1 in D Major; Sonatas Nos 1 and 2 for Violin and Piano
  8. Kreisler (18 originals and transcriptions)
  9. Dvorak: Piano Quartet Op. 23; Brahms: Piano Quartet Op. 25
  10. Gypsy (25 composed and traditional folk melodies); Haydn: String Quartet Op. 33, No. 3
  11. Stravinsky: L’histoire du Soldat; Prokofiev: Five Melodies; Hindemith: Sonata for Violin and Piano Op. 11, No. 1; Papineau-Couture: G Major Sonata for Violin and Piano; Pergolesi: Sonatas 1 and 12 for Violin and Harpsichord; Stravinsky: Suite Italienne
  12. Vivaldi: Four Seasons, RV269, 315, 293, 297; Tartini: G Minor Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord; Veracini: E Minor Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord
  13. Schumann: Concerto; Mendelssohn: Concerto (E Minor); Mozart: Adagio, K. 261; Mozart: Rondo, K. 373
  14. Major Concertmaster Solos (Rimsky-Korsakov, Strauss, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Delibes, Brahms, Dvorak, Mahler); Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante
  15. Canadian Works: Glick; Somers; Adaskin; Fiala; Freedman; Vallerand; and Farnon
  16. Strauss: Piano Quartet Op. 13; Dvorak: Piano Quartet Op. 87
  17. Unaccompanied Solo Works: Pisendel; Geminiani; Stamitz; Telemann; Hindemith: Op. 31 No. 2; Papineau-Couture: Aria; Suite; Prokofiev: Op. 115
  18. Brahms: Piano Trio Op. 101; Sonatas Op. 100 and 108 for Violin and Piano; Piano Trio Op. 87 (1st and 2nd Movements)
  19. Beethoven: Concerto in D Major; Paganini: Concerto No. 1
  1. Dvorak: Trio Op. 26; Schumann: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1; Brahms: Sonatensatz for Violin and Piano; Brahms: A Major Piano Quartet Op. 26 (3rd and 4th Movements)
  2. Every Violinist’s Guide (WQXR NY Times Review; 36 studies including 8 Paganini Caprices)
  3. Bartok: Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano; Roumanian Dances; Sonatine for Violin and Piano; Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano; Two Portraits with Orchestra Op. 5
  4. Mozart: Concerto No. 5, K.219; G Minor String Quartet, K.516 (2nd and 4th Movements); Sinfonia Concertante, K.364
  5. Klein: Paganini Collage; Kinsella: String Quartet No. 3 (excerpt); Kenins: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; Tippett: Triple Concerto (excerpt); Walton: String Quartet (4th Movement)
  6. Concert Repertoire and Encores. Includes Leclair; Vieuxtemps; Fiocco; Fauré; Tchaikovsky; 4 Paganini Caprices; Szymanowski; Vaughan Williams; Ravel; Shostakovich; and Novacek
  7. Debussy: Sonata for Violin and Piano; Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano; Ravel: Duo for Violin and Cello (3rd Movement); Berceuse for Violin and Piano; Walton: Sonata for Violin and Piano (1st Movement); Prevost: Sonata for Violin and Piano
  8. Versatility Extraordinaire (includes excerpts from): Tchaikovsky: Concerto (1st Movement); Bach: Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord No. 4, BWV 1017 (1st Movement); Hoffert: Concerto for Jazz Violin (2nd Movement); Hora Lui: Timosca; Haydn: Concerto in C Major (2nd Movement); Zeimteko: Greek Dance; Glazounov: Concerto Op. 82 (abridged); Purcell: Golden Sonata for Two Violins, Continuo and Harpsichord (2nd and 3rd Movements); Chanson du Berger: Hungarian Czardas on Roumanian Themes; Tchaikovsky: None But The Lonely Heart; Hicaz Sarki: Turkish Dance; Massenet: Meditation From Thäis; Beethoven: Triple Concerto Op. 56 (excerpt); Bartok: Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (excerpt); Hoffert: Concerto for Jazz Violin (excerpt: blues and jazz); Tchaikovsky: Concerto 3rd Movement)
  9. Wieniawski: Concerto No. 2 in D Minor Op. 22; Caprices Op. 18 and Op. 10; Polonaise in D Op. 4; Mazurka Op. 19 No. 2; Legende Op. 17; Scherzo Tarantelle Op. 16
  10. Bach: E Minor Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV1023; D Minor Partita for Unaccompanied Violin, BWV1004; Sonata in G Major for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV1021; Sonata in G Minor for Harpsichord and Violin; Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV1050
  11. Closing Narrative; Bach: E Major Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, BWV1042; Shostakovich: Concerto Op. 99; Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 7 Op. 108 and 11 Op. 122

 

Staryk Anthology > Reviews

American Record Guide

May/June 2009
Elaine Fine
*shortened with the permission of the author.

…the 36 hours of music in this monumental collection has shown me that Steven Staryk is one of the finest musicians ever to set bow to string. Every disc of this 30-CD set is ample evidence that music lovers all over the world missed the chance to hear and know this extraordinary musician.

Even though Staryk made many LP recordings, only three have been reissued as CD’s. “Primas Stefan and his Royal Tziganes” is released for the first time on CD in this collection, and “Every Violinist’s Guide”, a mind-boggling collection of etudes for solo violin. This recording, the only one I know of its kind is reproduced in the context of a radio broadcast from WQXR. A CBC documentary about Staryk gives a great introduction to Staryk’s life and career, but it is the Mozart Concerto K216 that follows that makes it clear that listening to the 29 discs that follow would be like walking into a great museum with room after room of treasures that nobody, except the fortunate few who recognized their value, ever knew existed.

I am particularly happy that this anthology has Staryk-Perry readings from Beethoven to Bartok and Baroque music with Kenneth Gilbert. Staryk plays marvelous solo Bach and the first recording ever made of the Pisendel solo sonata. There are Haydn, Mozart, Shostakovich string quartets, and Mozart’s Symphonia Concertante with Oscar Shumsky playing viola. In addition to unusual pieces, some of them written for Staryk, the Anthology has a lot of chamber music. Brahms, Dvorak, Stravinsky, and some neglected pieces like the Piano Quartet by Richard Strauss and also a lot of concerto literature.

The Anthology would be particularly interesting for violin collectors because it is an opportunity to hear the very finest qualities of these (19) great instruments being played here as well as it is humanly possible to play them. I did find myself intoxicated.

Violinists of his calibre (and I can count those among the living on one hand) will find, after they get over their initial amazement, that this virtuosity is not the kind that is off-putting. String players (like me) will find that their own playing can improve simply by listening to Staryk play. His musicianship always directs the listener to the beauty of the music, making even the most technical of etudes sound like stunningly-beautiful pieces for solo violin. And wait until you hear what he does with Mozart!

 


Photo courtesy of Lois Siegel

Marketwire News Release

May 14, 2009

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the acquisition of The Staryk Anthology (1952-2003), a 30 CD box set of the works of internationally renowned violin virtuoso Steven Staryk.

“It is a great honour to add this wonderful collection from one of the greatest violinists of our generation to our collection. Mr. Staryk is one of the most recorded classical Canadian musicians to date and his music adds to the vast majority of music to be enjoyed by all Canadians” said Chantal Marin-Comeau, Director of the Aquisitions Division at Library and Archives Canada, as she accepted the donation from Mr. Staryk in a private ceremony held at 395 Wellington Street.

 


American String Teacher

November 2009
*shortened with permission of the author.

Great playing, and lots of it in an über-collection spanning more than 50 years of music-making. His new retrospective is titanicin every respect. 30 CD’s, 246 works, 66 live performances, 20 orchestras, and 35 conductors. Concertos include those by Mozart, Walton, Paganini, Prokofiev, Vivaldi, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Tschaikovsky, Glazunov, Wieniawski, Shostakovich, Telemann and Bach. There are rarely-heard works by Pergolesi, Pisendel, Geminiani, Stamitz and works difficult or impossible to find from any other violinist.

There is a wealth of material including etudes, caprices, transcriptions and originals. Of interest to orchestral musicians (from the “King of concertmasters” — The Strad, London) will be disc 14, which contains major concertmaster solos. Showpieces abound, with idioms from jazz to Gypsy. Also of interest are works by 14 Canadian composers — a fascinating Canadian broadcasting profile about Staryk (disc 1), a number of world-premiere performances, and many many fine chamber works.

Instrument aficionados will marvel at the instruments used by Staryk. Of the 40 Strads and 26 Del Gesus Staryk played (on loan, trial or possessed) during his career, 19 appear in the set. These and many other fine instruments are listed for all of the tracks. A close inspection of Staryk’s magnum opus leads to only one question: when did this guy sleep?

S.C.

 

Staryk Anthology > Who has the Anthology?

The following institutions, music schools, classical radio stations (NPR), etc. have received copies of The Staryk Anthology.

Prof. Erlich Presenting the Staryk Anthology to President Sokolov of the Tchaikovsky Competition, Moscow Conservatory.

 

 In my opinion, your anthology is one of the most important recorded documents in violin history.

Stephen Shipps,
Professor of Violin,
Senior Advisor to the Dean For International Study,
University of Michigan

 

This incredible compiled document will be an exceedingly important resource for musicians in Canada and throughout the world.

David Visentin,
Associate Dean,
Glenn Gould School,
The Royal Conservatory of Toronto

 

I must say that this compilation of recordings exceeds my wildest expectations … interesting new works … demonic Prokofiev, your chamber musicianship! All the Beethoven sonatas…

Lorenz Gamma,
Assistant Professor,
California Institute of the Arts

 

This CD set will be a wonder to our collection and will be widely used by our students and faculty.

Verletta Kern,
Music Research Services Librarian,
University of Washington

 

This comprehensive retrospective, Staryk Anthology, is a unique and most welcome addition to our collections. It will be a wonderful resource for our students and faculty.

Kirsten Walsh,
Head Music Library,
The University of British Columbia

 

Mr. Erlich brought us your marvelous compact discs. I want to thank you very much for this wonderful music and the chance for our students and faculty to listen to it!

Hannelore Bernt,
Hochschule Für Musik,
Karlsruhe, Germany

 

This important 30-CD collection (1952-2003) is a most appreciated addition to our critical listening classes. It is rare indeed to demonstrate for students the history of recording technology by listening to one artist’s performances through 50 years.

Jeffrey Harris,
Conservatory of Arts and Sciences,
Phoenix, Arizona

 

Canada
Library and Archives Canada
The Banff Centre
The University of British Columbia
The Royal Conservatory of Music
Classical 96.3
Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Germany
Karlsruhe Hochschule für Music
SWR (Südwestfunk)
WDR (Westdeutcherundfunk)
Mr. Peter Ziegler, Archivist

Other Countries
The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Finland)
The Israel Broadcasting Corporation “Kol Israel” (Israel)

Russia
Rimsky-Korsakoff Conservatory (St. Petersburgh)
Tchaikovsky Conservatory Library (Moscow)

Japan
NHK Tokyo Radio

USA
Harvard University
Boston University
Louisiana State University
Curtis Institute of Music
Northwestern University
California Institute of the Arts
University of Washington
Colburn School of Music, Los Angeles
Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences
University of Rochester
Boston (NPR)
Classical KUSC (NPR)
King Arts Channel (NPR)
WXXI (NPR)
WNED (NPR)
Hochstein School of Music
University of Michigan
WFMT (NPR)
WQXR (NPR)

 

A Retrospective: Volume 1

Disc 1

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
1 Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major, Op.6 MS 21: I. Allegro maestoso (Live) Steven Staryk, North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Hermann Michael Niccolò Paganini 17:00
2 Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major, Op.6 MS 21: II. Adagio (Live) Steven Staryk, North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Hermann Michael Niccolò Paganini 4:24
3 Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major, Op.6 MS 21: I. Allegro spirituoso (Live) Steven Staryk, North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Hermann Michael Niccolò Paganini 6:24
4 Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.61: I. Allegro ma non troppo (Live) Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Conductor Bernard Haitink Ludwig van Beethoven 22:42
5 Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.61: II. Larghetto (Live) Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Conductor Bernard Haitink Ludwig van Beethoven 8:35
6 Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.61: III. Rondo. Allegro (Live) Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Conductor Bernard Haitink Ludwig van Beethoven 10:12
Total time 79:17

Disc 2

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
1 Violin Concerto No.5 in A Major, K.219, “Turkish”: I. Allegro aperto – Adagio – Allegro aperto (Live) Steven Staryk, CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, Conductor John Avison Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 9:09
2 Violin Concerto No.5 in A Major, K.219, “Turkish”: II. Adagio (Live) Steven Staryk, CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, Conductor John Avison Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 9:12
3 Violin Concerto No.5 in A Major, K.219, “Turkish”: III. Tempo di menuetto (Live) Steven Staryk, CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, Conductor John Avison Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 8:45
4 Introduction et rondo capriccioso in A Minor, Op.28 Steven Staryk & London Festival Orchestra, Conductor Douglas Gamley Camille Saint-Saëns 8:53
5 Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op.77: I. Nocturne. Adagio Steven Staryk, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Sir Andrew Davis Dmitri Shostakovich 11:09
6 Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op.77: II. Scherzo. Allegro non troppo Steven Staryk, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Sir Andrew Davis Dmitri Shostakovich 6:04
7 Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op.77: III. Passacaglia. Andante Steven Staryk, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Sir Andrew Davis Dmitri Shostakovich 13:03
8 Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op.77: IV. Burlesca. Allegro con brio Steven Staryk, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Sir Andrew Davis Dmitri Shostakovich 4:50
Total time 71:05

Buy the double-disc album at Centaur Records (CRC 3186/3187)
or download it from iTunes & Classics Online.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 1 > Reviews

Audiophile Audition

Published on July 13, 2012

Famed concertmaster and esteemed soloist Steven Staryk performs
brilliantly enough so that light from the Staryk Galaxy permanently
illumines our musical skies.

Steven Staryk: A Retrospective: Volume I = PAGANINI, BEETHOVEN, MOZART, SHOSHTAKOVICH, SAINT-SAENS – Centaur (2 CDs)

Steven Staryk: A Retrospective: Volume I = PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6; BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61; MOZART: Violin Concerto in A Major, K. 219 “Turkish”; SAINT-SAENS: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28; SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 99 – Steven Staryk, violin/ N. German Radio Sym./ Herman Michael (Paganini)/ Royal Concertgebouw Orch./ Bernard Haitink (Beethoven)/ CBC Vancouver Ch. Orch./ John Avison (Mozart)/ Toronto Sym. Orch./ Sir Andrew Davis (Shostakovich)/ London Festival Orch./ Douglas Gamley (Saint-Saens) – Centaur CRC 3186/3187 (2 CDs) 70:31; 73:31 [Distr. by Qualiton] ****:

Considered the “King of Concertmasters,” Steven Staryk (b. 1932) has been concertmaster of four of the world’s major orchestras: the Royal Philharmonic of London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Chicago Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony. This Canadian-born violinist was the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Royal Philharmonic of London when he was appointed by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1956. Staryk has since toured Europe, the Far East, and North America as soloist and founding member of Quartet Canada. More than 190 entries in the Creighton violin discography rank Staryk among the world’s most prolific recording violinists. Anyone who has ever owned or played the Beecham recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’sScheherazade has awed at and pondered over the talent of this master of his instrument.

To be quite blatant about it: the performance of the Paganini Concerto (live January 1969) has to rank of among the most intensely blistering virtuosic renditions in my experience.

Not only are the usual technical accoutrements of this concerto realized, but the very acoustic of the North German Radio venue contributes to the stratospheric aura of the high notes, trills, and harmonics, the “shooting for the rafters” effect. His instrument, the Muntz Strad of 1736, perfectly fit’s the music, especially given the virtues of the first movement cadenza, a composite of Sauret and Wilhelmj as arranged by Staryk himself.

If the Paganini might be construed as relatively “shallow,” pyrotechnically superficial music, try Staryk in the time-tested classics by Beethoven and Mozart. The Beethoven (18 September 1961, for Santa Caecilia Day) with the ever-architectural molder of orchestral sound, Haitink, enjoys a singular breadth of vision I would have attributed to the famed Grumiaux/Beinum and Schneiderhahn/Furtwaengler conceptions, Apollinian and grandly conceived in the symmetrical periods that mark this work’s innate nobility. Staryk’s chosen instrument for the Beethoven is the Hochstein Stradivarius of 1715. The Mozart (rec. broadcast live, 1972) immediately moves with streamlined felicity and blazing speed and accuracy. The instrument here is the Baltic del Gesu of 1731, spins out the lush melodies of the first two movements in seamless silver thread. The high-mindedness of the opening movements in no way cheapens the stunning effects of Mozart’s janissary impulses that spice the last movement to such excellent, vital appeal. The Joachim cadenzas impress not as anachronisms, but as tender and affectionate responses to the melodic tissue. This is a performance of girth, wit, and genial spontaneity in all parts.

The familiar Aragonese jota, Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (rec. London, 1962), has always set violinists in pursuit of Heifetz’s virtually ideal realizations.  Staryk comes as close as anyone, bringing a taste of gypsy intent for its intended dedicatee: Pablo de Sarasate. Here, Staryk rivals the no less seamless artistry of Ruggiero Ricci in this delectable Iberian evocation by a master of French classical taste. At 4:40 there is a decided sonic shift in the quality (microphone placement) of the recording, however the music remains intact.

The 1948 Concerto in A Minor by Dmitri Shostakovich illuminates Staryk’s art in another light entirely. Here, plying his ex-Barrere Stradivari of 1727, Staryk and conductor Andrew Davis (rec. 1986) engage in a series of meditations on life’s bitter struggles and eventual moral conquest of adversity. The opening Nocturne projects a singular, anguished expressiveness, certainly laid out on a scale resonant with the famed Oistrakh accounts with Mravinsky and Mitropoulos. The exquisite lyricism of Staryk’s violin immediately makes us wonder what his conception in the Berg Concertomight offer. The fascination with the macabre enters into the second movementScherzo, a coarsely rasping dance in quadruple time that invites intrusions from the winds and brass. The processional Passacaglia offsets the wildness of the Scherzo, incanting in a slow and solemn (Spanish) idiom that has the Staryk’s spinning out a long sweet melody that culminates in the extended, Bach-like cadenza that serves as a transition to the last movement, Burlesque (Allegro con brio). The Toronto Symphony battery turns on the ironic juices for this pagan movement whose dervish energies often recall Khachaturian as much as they do the savage gloom of Shostakovich. The consistent virility of execution sends both music and audience into another dimension, followed by demented applause.

—Gary Lemco

Phil’s Classical Reviews
Audio Video Club of Atlanta

June 2012

a. Norddeutscher Rundfunk Symphony Herman Michael
b. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink
c. CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, John Avison
d. Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis
e. London Festival Orchestra, Douglas Gamley

In the course of a very active international career, Steven Staryk was the “King of Concertmasters” and a prince among teachers. He was also among the greatest masters of the violin that we have witnessed in our time. Now that he has recently celebrated his 80th birthday (b. Toronto, 1932), it’s time for a retrospective, like the one Centaur Records has just culled from the artist’s own 30-CD archive of selected recordings. When you hear the selections on the present 2-CD set, you will probably wonder, as I did, “Where has this guy been all my life?” Recognition by the general public of an artist whom the British magazine Gramophone proclaimed “among the great ones” has been incredibly slow in coming. His technique and artistic temperament were never in doubt.

Staryk attacks the five major works heard on the present program boldly, with the greatest assurance, fortified by his marvelous bow control (witness the sensational spiccato bowing in the opening movement of the Paganini Concerto in D) and the impeccably clear stopping he employs in the riotously fast finale of the Shostakovich, to give just two examples. He was the absolute master of the moods, tempo fluctuations and tonal shadings in the works he performed. In two of the best performances on this program, the Beethoven with the Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and the Shostakovich with the Toronto Symphony, he had the additional advantage of having been concertmaster of these orchestras, so he had an insider’s view of just what to expect from a conductor and ensemble to a degree that a guest artist never does.

To say that the performances in this 2-CD set are “bold” would be an understatement. Staryk pushes the limits of bravura to the point where it is dangerously close to excess, but he never lapses over to that extreme. In the opening movement of the Mozart, and particularly in the Paganini, knowing the difference is critical. In the latter, the extended use of double-stops, both chromatic and in harmonics, is one remarkable feature. Another occurs in the opening of the third movement, where Paganini calls for the violinist to play a rapid downward scale A-G-F#-E-D, both bowed and pizzicato, on an open D string. And the composer’s famous bel canto style is very much in evidence in this performance. Even the orchestra seems inspired by Staryk’s presence. You’d expect playing like you hear on this disk from a major world orchestra such as the Concertgebouw or the Toronto, but the North German Radio Orchestra, under a conductor with whom I was totally unfamiliar, really surpass themselves here.

One more example of Staryk’s prowess, and then I’ll give my fingers a rest before I wear them to a nub. The Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 in A minor requires utmost concentration from both violinist and orchestra because of its deep, pronounced and fluctuating moods and its demand for high energy playing for long stretches at a time. There is a special challenge for the performer to make it palatable to the listener because so much of this music is dire and pessimistic. That is especially true of the first two movements, an opening Nocturne marked by waves of fear and trembling (I got a mental image of Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream while listening to this movement) and a grotesque Scherzo based on a sarcastic dance in quadruple time. The turning point of the entire work is the Passacaglia, in which the mood changes slowly to one of calm, assured resolution . Of the greatest emotional depth, this movement challenges the soloist with its long, pure, expressive melodies requiring seamless artistry all the way to the end of a bowing, and an extended cadenza that leads us right into the high energy finale, titled Burlesque. The music here is raucous, in a mood of levity marked by impudence that is nonetheless a form of celebration and life-affirmation. In this work, Steven Staryk has some of his best moments.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 2 – Violin Gems

Disc 1

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
1 Violin Sonata (Sonatina) in A minor, Op. 137, No. 2, D. 385: IV. Allegro Lisa Bergman & Steven Staryk Franz Schubert 3:03
2 Liebesleid Steven Staryk & Jane Corwin Fritz Kreisler 3:30
3 Liebesfreud Steven Staryk & Jane Corwin Fritz Kreisler 3:18
4 Schon Rosmarin Steven Staryk & Jane Corwin Fritz Kreisler 1:48
5 2 Mazurkas, Op. 19: No. 2. Le menetrier, “Dudziarz” Steven Staryk & Adela Kotowska Henryk Wieniawski 3:15
6 Piece en forme de habanera Steven Staryk & Robin Wood Maurice Ravel 2:35
7 12 Morceaux, Op. 40: No. 2. Chanson triste (arr. J. Moelker for violin and orchestra) Steven Staryk & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 2:52
8 Gypsy Caprice Steven Staryk & Jane Corwin Fritz Kreisler 4:38
9 Tambourin chinois, Op. 3 Steven Staryk & Jane Corwin Fritz Kreisler 3:36
10 6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 3. Margaritki (Daisies) (arr. F. Kreisler for violin and piano) Steven Staryk & Raymond Parnell Sergei Rachmaninoff 3:10
11 Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22: II. Romance: Andante Steven Staryk & CBC Vancouver Orchestra Henryk Wieniawski 4:42
12 6 Romances, Op. 6: No. 6. None but the Lonely Heart (arr. J. Moelker for violin and orchestra) Steven Staryk & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 2:26
13 6 Morceaux, Op. 51: No. 6. Valse sentimentale (arr. R. Klopcic for violin and piano) Steven Staryk & Laurent Philippe Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 2:19
14 Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23: II. Langsam Steven Staryk, Douglas Gamley & London Festival Orchestra Robert Schumann 4:11
15 Thais, Act II: Meditation Steven Staryk & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Jules Massenet 5:22
16 Berceuse, Op. 16 (version for violin and piano) Steven Staryk & Robert Linzon Gabriel Fauré 3:28
17 Caprice viennois, Op. 2 Steven Staryk & Jane Corwin Fritz Kreisler 4:21
18 Roman nepi tancok (Romanian Folk Dances), BB 68: No. 3. Pe loc (In One Place) – No. 4. Buciumeana (Horn Dance) (arr. Z. Szekely for violin and piano) Steven Staryk & Raymond Parnell Béla Bartók 2:34
19 Gloomy Sunday (arr. for gypsy ensemble) Primas Stefan and his Royal Tziganes Rezso Seress 2:41
20 Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 (arr. for violin, orchestra and gypsy ensemble) Primas Stefan and his Royal Tziganes & London Festival Orchestra Pablo de Sarasate 7:59
Total time 71:49

Buy the double-disc album at Centaur Records (CRC 3186/3187)
or download it from iTunes & Classics Online.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 3 – Bach

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
1 Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041: I. Allegro Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw, Conductor Bernard Haitink Johann Sebastian Bach 4:02
2 Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041: II. Andante Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw, Conductor Bernard Haitink Johann Sebastian Bach 6:03
3 Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041: III. Allegro assai Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw, Conductor Bernard Haitink Johann Sebastian Bach 3:39
4 Violin Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1023: I. — Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 1:17
5 Violin Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1023: II. Adagio ma non tanto Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 2:59
6 Violin Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1023: III. Allemanda Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 1:57
7 Violin Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1023: IV. Gigue Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 2:02
8 Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: I. Allemanda Steven Staryk Johann Sebastian Bach 2:19
9 Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: II. Courante Steven Staryk Johann Sebastian Bach 1:24
10 Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: III. Sarabande Steven Staryk Johann Sebastian Bach 2:31
11 Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: IV. Gigue Steven Staryk Johann Sebastian Bach 1:59
12 Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: V. Ciaccona Steven Staryk Johann Sebastian Bach 15:41
13 Violin Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1020: I. Allegro (Attrib. to C.P.E. Bach, H.542.5 Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 3:25
14 Violin Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1020: II. Adagio (Attrib. to C.P.E. Bach, H.542.5 Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 2:42
15 Violin Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1020: III. Allegro (Attrib. to C.P.E. Bach, H.542.5 Steven Staryk, Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach 3:22
16 Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042: I. Allegro Steven Staryk soloist and conductor, Vancouver Baroque Orchestra Johann Sebastian Bach 7:57
17 Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042: II. Adagio Steven Staryk soloist and conductor, Vancouver Baroque Orchestra Johann Sebastian Bach 6:21
18 Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042: III. Allegro assai Steven Staryk soloist and conductor, Vancouver Baroque Orchestra Johann Sebastian Bach 2:44
Total time 72:24

Buy the album at Centaur Records (CRC 3211)
or download it from iTunes & Classics Online.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 3 – Bach > Reviews

Phil’s Classical Reviews
Audio Video Club of Atlanta

February 2012

Released to the public as the “Steven Staryk Retrospective,” they reveal a concert artist who was remarkably true to himself. That goes double for these 1961-1978 Bach recordings. Whether “live” or made under studio conditions, it makes no difference. The Staryk sound is distinctively the same. For this artist, the music was the thing, and his grasp of the subject went well beyond the scope of the instrument itself.

We pick hear the magisterial quality that led Gramophone to describe Staryk as “one of the great ones.” Staryk prefers to let the music speak for itself, without any gimmicks, so that the heart-melting quality of the music in the Andante – and even more so, that of the Adagio in the sumptuously rich Concerto No. 2 in E major, with Staryk serving as soloist and conductor of the Vancouver Baroque Orchestra in a 1975 studio recording – comes through naturally and unforced as an essential element of the music.

The Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard, BWV 1020, and E minor, BWV 1023, were both recorded with harpsichordist Kenneth Gilbert. For once, there is an equal partnership in these as Staryk and Gilbert make telling contributions without either partner sacrificing his own distinctive artistry.

This Chaconne staggers the imagination in its seemingly endless wealth of inspiration and range of moods, from pensive to exultant, and even including an imitation posthorn call. Staryk explores it all with the utmost in concentrated power and insight that made his name famous.

Read the full review here.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 4 – Prokofiev

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19
1 I. Andantino: Andante assai Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 3:41
2 II. Scherzo: Vivacissimo Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 7:50
3 III. Moderato – Allegro moderato – Moderato – Piu tranquillo Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 6:23
Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op.77: I. Nocturne. Adagio
4 I. Andante assai Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 7:06
5 II. Allegro brusco Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 6:43
6 III. Andante Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 7:22
7 IV. Allegrissimo Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 4:36
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94bis
8 I. Moderato Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 6:44
9 II. Scherzo: Presto Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 6:43
10 III. Andante Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 7:22
11 IV. Allegro con brio Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 4:36
Total time 70:11

Buy the CD at Centaur Records (CRC 3186/3187)
or download it from iTunes & Classics Online.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 4 – Prokofiev

It gets better and better. Volume 4 in the Steven Staryk Retrospective reveals the master violinist showing all this formidable arsenal of skills. Staryk’s demon control of dynamics, his spot-on phrasing, and his uncanny ability to always employ the right degree of tonal color for what he wants to say with the music at any given moment. Here we have on display the bite and brilliance we expect from Prokofiev, but there is more. In Staryk’s hands, we have wonderful, abundant lyricism all through this work. Allegro brusco, is sensationally “brusque” and biting in its phrasing. Steven Staryk and his partner, pianist Mario Bernardi give these accounts a real authority and a feeling of absolute “rightness.”

 

 

 

 

A Retrospective: Volume 5 – Works of Mozart

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216
1 I. Allegro Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 8:58
2 II. Adagio Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 7:56
3 III. Rondeau: Allegro Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 6:03
4 I. Andante assai Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 7:03
5 II. Allegro brusco Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 5:49
6 III. Andante Steven Staryk & Mario Bernardi Sergei Prokofiev 9:37
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94bis
7 I. Allegro Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 12:54
8 II. Adagio Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 9:54
9 III. Rondeau: Allegro Steven Staryk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink Sergei Prokofiev 6:48
Total time 75:01

Buy the CD at Centaur Records (CRC 3186/3187)
or download it from iTunes & Classics Online.

 

A Retrospective: Volume 6 with John Perry – Beethoven & Bartok

Name Artist(s) Composer Time
Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47, “Kreutzer”
1 I. Adagio sostenuto – Presto Steven Staryk & John Perry Ludwig van Beethoven 3:41
2 II. Andante con variazioni Steven Staryk & John Perry Ludwig van Beethoven 7:50
3 III. Finale: Presto Steven Staryk & John Perry Ludwig van Beethoven 6:23
Violin Sonata No. 1, BB 84
4 I. Allegro appassionato Steven Staryk & John Perry Béla Bartók 7:06
5 II. Adagio Steven Staryk & John Perry Béla Bartók 6:43
6 III. Allegro Steven Staryk & John Perry Béla Bartók 7:22
Total time 65:10

Buy the CD at Centaur Records (CRC 3186/3187)
or download it from iTunes & Classics Online.

 

Biography

A young Staryk mesmerizes 

Born April 27, 1932 in Toronto of Ukrainian immigrant parents, Steven Staryk began his violin studies at the age of seven. The publication of his career memoirs and observations in Fiddling With Life has been lauded by reviewers and distinguished musicians. His prodigious career was a unique and extraordinary integration of related activities: soloist, pedagogue, chamber musician and concertmaster; he surpassed the summit in each and every role. The title “King of Concertmasters” was bestowed upon him by The Strad magazine after having led three major orchestras by the age of 35: the Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw (the first British subject to attain a major position in continental Europe) and the Chicago Symphony. He also served as Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Symphony and the Boyd Neel Orchestra. Staryk taught at several of the foremost music schools including the Amsterdam Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory (the youngest full professor in the institution’s history), Northwestern University (Chicago) and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory, culminating in his receiving the Distinguished Teaching Award (the first ever awarded to a professor in the University of Washington’s School of Music).

Steven Staryk was the first Canadian invited to serve on the Jury of the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow.

A sample of the vinyl released in Staryk’s name

 

His memorable performances and recordings illustrate an amazing wealth of musical knowledge. These have secured him international awards and distinctions, as listed in 23 publications including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The Great Violinists, Wikipedia, etc. Other awards include the coveted Shevchenko medal, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee Medals, Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Toronto’s York University, Arts Awards from the Canada Council, an Honorary Fellowship from the Glenn Gould School of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music and Officer of the Order of Canada.

The following paragraph by violin historian, archivist, and author of the Discopaedia of the Violin, James Creighton of the University of Toronto, provides a fine summary of Staryk ‘s qualities:

His successful diversity of styles is not equalled by any other violinist. He gained a tremendous reputation and vast musical experience with such greats of our time as Beecham, Szell, Krips, Kubelik, Jochum, Kempe, Giulini, Sanderling, Rilling, Rodzinski, and a host of others. In this respect his musicianship was greatly influenced by non-violinists and developed far beyond the limitation of his instrument. The extraordinary accomplishments of this internationally-respected cosmopolitan remain unparalleled in the history of music.

Staryk playing the role of Vivaldi

 

In 2008, Staryk completed a 30-CD anthology of some of his recordings and performances from the years 1952-2003. This anthology’s main purpose is to provide a retrospective of over half a century which exhibits the extraordinary diversity of Staryk as soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster and pedagogue, to say nothing of the jazz fiddler, Gypsy primas, Stehgeiger, consultant and collector of many of the finest Italian violins and French bows still in existence today, “… played as well as humanly possible.” (American Record Guide)

“It is strange that Staryk’s fame didn’t spread throughout the world … a curious phenomenon within the music scene.”
(Fono-Forum, Germany)

“Why it took so long for the Planet Staryk to reach Earth will always remain a mystery!”
(American Sting Teachers, USA)

“… a virtuoso of the highest rank who is constantly being “discovered” by awestruck reviewers.”
(The Strad, London)

“How can one explain that this magnificent instrumentalist is not more the violinist of the general public, while his playing has the highest esteem with his colleagues!”
(Le Devoir, Montreal)

 

Awards & Distinctions

Steven Staryk has received many awards and distinctions over the course of his legendary career. The following are some of the more significant ones.

  • Youngest concertmaster – at age 24 – to be chosen by Sir Thomas Beecham of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (London, U.K.)
  • First British subject to attain major positions in continental Europe
  • The youngest full professor in the history of Oberlin Conservatory
  • The first ever to be awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Washington’s School of Music
  • The Shevchenko Medal
  • The Queen’s Silver Jubilee
  • The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals
  • Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Toronto’s York University
  • Arts Awards from the Canada Council
  • Honorary Fellowship from the Glenn Gould School of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music
  • Officer of the Order of Canada.

Recognition

 When you hear the present 2-CD set, you will probably wonder, as I did, “Where has this guy been all my life?” Recognition by the general public of an artist whom the British magazine  The Gramophone proclaimed, “among the great ones” has been incredibly slow in coming. His technique and artistic temperament were never in doubt.
~ Audio Video Club of Atlanta

Staryk performs so brilliantly that light from the Staryk Galaxy permanently illumines our musical skies.

Anyone who has owned the Beecham recording of Scherazade has awed at and pondered over the talent of this master of his instrument. … the performance of the Paganini Concerto (live January 1969) has to rank of among the most intensely blistering virtuosi renditions in my experience. …If the Paganini might be construed as relatively “shallow music”, try Staryk in the classics by Beethoven (also live September 1961). …enjoys a singularly breath of vision, Apollinian and grandly conceived that mark this work’s innate nobility”… The consistent virility of execution sends both music and audience into another dimension.
~ Audiophile Audition

Staryk has shown me, disc after disc, that he is one of the finest musicians ever to set bow to string. …violinists of his calibre (and I can count those among the living on one hand)… Every disc in this 30-CD set is ample evidence that audiences and music lovers all over the world, except in Canada, Great Britain, and where his concerts were enthusiastically attended, missed the chance to hear and know this extraordinary musician. … His is not the kind of virtuosity that is off-putting. His musicianship always directs the listener to the beauty of the music…
~ American Record Guide, May/June 2009

I have such a high opinion of your playing that it would pain me to no end if artistry of such calibre would not have the recognition it deserves.
~ George Jellineck, critic, reviewer, and music director of WQXR (Radio station of the New York Times)

It is strange that Staryk’s fame didn’t spread throughout the world…a curious phenomenon within the music scene.
~ Fono-Forum Germany

Why it took so long for the planet Staryk to reach Earth will always remain
a mystery!
~ American String Teachers Association

…a virtuoso of the highest rank…who is constantly being “discovered” by awestruck reviewers.
~ The Strad, London

…should reawaken an appreciation of what solo violin playing meant to generation ago.
~ Gramaphone, London

Staryk soared into Walton’s opening movement … playing with an Olympian detachment that has everything under control…it was interesting to observe that the warmest applause came from the stage, from fellow professionals who react to the way the notes are actually played more than the glamour and fame.
~ Toronto Star

How can one explain that this magnificent instrumentalist is not more the violinist of the general public, while his playing has the highest esteem with his colleagues!
~ Le Devoir, Montreal

The preceding quotes should give rise to many tantalizing questions!