Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dances by Bronislaw Gimpel

Bronislaw Gimpel
A happy Chanukah to all my Jewish friends (as well as everyone else)! Here's a little present for the sixth day: an album of dances played by the Polish-American violinist Bronislaw Gimpel (1911-1979), one of which, Joseph Achron's Dance Improvisation, is based on the Yiddish folk tune "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah." (Another bit of serendipity, that I would realize this while working on this transfer!)  This set was made for the fledgling Vox label, founded in 1945 by George H. de Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a descendant of the composer, and still in operation 67 years later.  Vox was dedicated to presenting unusual repertoire from the very start, as well as introducing less established artists to perform it - pianists like Leonard Shure, Shura Cherkassky, and Jakob Gimpel, and violinists like Jakob's brother Bronislaw Gimpel and Ruggiero Ricci all made 78-rpm records for Vox.  I believe this album, reviewed in the Nov. 22, 1947 issue of Saturday Review, was Bronislaw Gimpel's debut recording:

Bartók: Rumanian Folk Dances (arr. Szekely)
Stravinsky: Petrouchka - Danse Russe (arr. Dushkin)
Wieniawski: Mazurka in D, Op. 19, No. 2 ("Dudziarz")
Achron: Hebrew Dance, Op. 35, No. 1
Achron: Dance Improvisation on a Hebrew Folk Tune, Op. 37
Sarasate: Jota Navarra (Spanish Dance No. 4), Op. 22, No. 2
Bronislaw Gimpel, violin; Artur Balsam, piano
Issued in 1947
Vox album 616, four 10-inch 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 75.18 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 41.63 MB)


  1. Very timely, Bryan. Many thanks and happy Chanukah.

  2. Bryan, Thanks so much for this rarity. I'll be advising some other Gimpel fans to pay you a visit. He was really a great artist, and your transfer nicely complements the Vox recordings still in print.
    All the best,

  3. Hanukkah sameah!i like gimpel's tone,not too kletzmer...Do you know Beethoven's triple concerto with Gimpel,Schuster and Wuhrer.?it's one of the very best recordings I know.Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  4. Thanks a lot ! I really like Gimpel. Have you seen the Audite box set? :

  5. thank you very much!

    Gimpel really was "jewish violinist" : his "yikhes / ancestry" is fantastic!

    his father, Adolf, was a musical director of Jewish theater in Lemberg and his grandfather, Yakov Berб was the founder of this theater!

    his first professional teacher was Moritz Wolfstahl. his brother, Khone Wolfstahl, was conductor and principal composer of that theater!

    and so on


    thank you VERY much again!

  6. I make a research about the the first Jewish Theater in Lwow-Lemberg.
    how can I reach Mr. PETER GIMPEL the nephew or any other relative?
    Bracha, Israel.