Parnassus Records is releasing an album with several of Toscha Seidel’s rarest recordings from his prime years as a Columbia Records artist, including movements from the concerto repertoire, popular music, and a live performance of Chausson’s Poème with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra led by Leopold Stokowski.

Toscha Seidel’s name is unknown among the general public but a legend among violinists, and some said the greatest violinist you’ve never heard of.


Achron Hebrew Melody
Kreisler: Schön Rosmarin
Kreisler: Liebesfreud
Schubert Ave Maria
Wieniawski: Romance
Hubay: Hejre Kati
Kreisler: Caprice viennois
Schubert: Ständchen
Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole Andante
Mendelssohn: Concerto in D minor, Op. 64 -Finale
Cui: Orientale
Margie: Valse bleue
Burleigh: Indian Snake Dance
Rimsky-Korsakov Chanson Arabe
Saint-Saëns: Prélude
Paderewski: Minuet in G Major
D’Ambrosio: Canzonetta
Chausson: Poème, Op. 25
Kellette: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles


Fritz Kreisler’s Schön Rosmarin, Liebesfreud, and Caprice viennois are all three played by Seidel with Viennese charm. Schubert’s Ave Maria and Ständchen are delivered with the same elegance the artist infuses into Achron’s Hebrew Melody and into Wieniawski’s Romance. Throughout the recording, Seidel elevates to the level of fine compositions Alfred Margie’s Valse bleue, Cecil Burleigh’s Indian Snake Dance, Alfredo d’Ambrosio’s Canzonetta, John Kellette’s I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and César Cui’s Orientale – selections that in lesser hands could be written off as salon ditties.

Seidel’s playing of Jenő Hubay’s czardas Hejre Kati is pure Magyar fire. The Andante from Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole delivers an even mix of Spanish and French colors. The Finale of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto – abbreviated in this recording – gives further evidence of Seidel’s virtuosity. The Chanson Arabe from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Camille Saint-Saëns’s Prélude, and Paderewski’s Minuet in G highlight Seidel’s superbly carefree bowing technique and his plummy tone. Ernest Chausson’s Poème – the single major work given in its entirety in the Parnassus release Toscha Seidel: Rare and Newly Remastered! – shows yet again Seidel’s technical gifts and his deep musicality.

It is simply amazing that someone with Tosha Seidel’s enormous talent should have died at the age of sixty-three in complete obscurity after a career that took him all over the world starting at the age of sixteen. Fortunately, this Parnassus release begins to address the neglect the Ukrainian Jewish virtuoso has endured for such a long time.

Rafael de Acha © 2023

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