With the academic year underway, it is timely to pay tribute to CDs from teachers, whose artistry often outweighs that of more publicized career virtuosi. Queens-born Harriet Wingreen, longtime professor at the Manhattan School of Music and orchestral pianist with the New York Philharmonic, comes from a Lithuanian Jewish family whose name was changed from Vengeren by an Ellis Island official. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has just released on CD an early 1960s recording of Wingreen’s lively, elegant performance of two Mendelssohn sonatas for cello and piano, accompanying the then-youthfully vigorous cellist David Soyer.
An older teacher, Hungarian Jewish violinist and composer Jeno Hubay, whose many students included the eminent Joseph Szigeti, is enjoying a belated moment in the sun with a CD of viola compositions from Hungaroton Classic. Hubay was born Eugen Huber in Pest to a German Jewish family in 1897. Joyously idiomatic and highly expressive of a jaunty personality, like his violin works, also available from Hungaroton, Hubay’s viola pieces are enchanting. Even more venerable, the 1838 “Méthode des méthodes” (Ultimate Method) of didactic piano works by a dozen Romantic composers, many of them Jewish, has just been magisterially recorded with relaxed adroitness by the Israeli-American pianist Mordecai Shehori on his own label, Cembal d’amour.