Paul Godwin - Violin / Viola








An early pre 1925 acoustic recording on the colorful Polydor label: The Paul Godwin Orchestra plays a potpourri of Franz von Suppé's Boccaccio (Polydor 60988)








Philips A 00690 R: Franz Schubert's Forellen Quintet (Trout) performed by Alice Heksch (Piano), Nap de Klijn (Violin), Paul Godwin (Viola), Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp (Cello), and Leon Groen (Bass). Alice Heksch and Nap de Klijn performed together as "The Amsterdam Duo" (Das Amsterdamer Duo). Picture taken from Philips S 04012 L.





Paul Godwin can also be heard in Dvorak's String Quartet reissued on the Fontana label, and in Mozart's String Quartets K 499 and K 589 on the Philips Minigroove label, reference A00232L.


Paul Godwin was a member of The Netherlands String Quartet: Nap de Klijn, violin; Jaap Schröder, second violin; Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp, cello. And the quartet became The Amsterdam Quintet when pianist Alice Heksch joined and after she had died in 1957 was replaced by George van Renesse. For the performance of the Trout Quintet (Schubert), the bass player was Leon Groen.




Before World War Two Nap (Nathan) de Klijn had started playing in a radio orchestra. Later he became a member of the Waleson Quartet - Dick Waleson (violin) Nap de Klijn (violin), Giel Smit (alto) and Guillaume Hesse (violoncello). The photograph below appeared in the Dutch weekly 'Panorama' in 1936 when it was announced that he was to take up the post of violin teacher at the 'Maatschappij voor Toonkunst' in Leiden on September 1st.


Nap de Klijn (1909-1979) was married to pianist Alice Heksch (1936-1957). Famous are their recordings of several Mozart Sonatas. They are also admired playing violin gems together under their respective pseudonyms, Romano Rubato (Nap de Klijn) and Bianca Ritorno (Alice Heksch), for the Philips label, issued in the 10 inch S-R Series. The early death of Alice Heksch completely changed Nap de Klijn's carreer as a performer. In later years he concertised with pianist Rudolf Jansen. They recorded for the Iramac label. In the 1950s he was preparing a publication with the title "Technical Studies for the Left and Right Hand for Violin".



Bert Robbe (VARA image)

A few titles of the VARAGRAM 0030 LP: Im Prater blüh'n wieder die Bäume, La Serenata, Si vous aviez compris, Auf der Heide blüh'n die letzten Rosen, Chanson de l'adieu.



PPaul Godwin and his Orchestra and Master Trio

Kleiner Wiener Marsch - Bretonse Liederen - Guitarre - Petite Marie - Poupéee Valsante - Tes Jeux - Romanesca - Salut d'amour - Wals - Musette - Danse Russe - Caprice Viennois - Pizzicato Polka - Kaiser Walzer - Du alter Stefansturm - 1001 Nacht - Tic-tac Polka

Paul Godwin, Violin - Jan de Nobel, cello - Gerard Hengeveld, Piano

Many years ago a collector of vinyl records asked me for an LP recording by violinist Paul Godwin.
Since there was practically no information on the world wide web at the time, I published a few pictures and details on a page so he (and others) could read about this violinist who performed as an altist as well. For the collector it was the info that he needed on Paul Godwin.
Since then the page about the violinist has evolved to the current stage it is in.

Paul Godwin was actually named Pinchas Goldfein. He was born in Sasnowiec, Poland, on March 28, 1902, and passed away on December 9, 1982, in Driebergen, the Netherlands.

At age 10, the talented boy was discovered by Herman Kaplan who was originally from Latvia. Kaplan jad deserted the Russian army and had to flee. He took the talented boy with him to Vienna. Kaplan exploited the young Pinchas who had to pay for the lessons Kaplan gave him by cleaning the house and doing errands. Paul Godwin later said : "I've never known a childhood..."

Because of the changing political and social climate he went to Budapest and studied with Jen÷ Hubay (1858 - 1937). The bad political climate after the estab;lishment of the Horthy regime made him leave Hungary and he finally came to Berlin were he studied at the "Hochschule für Musik" with Willy Hess (1859-1939).

In order to pay for his studies young Godwin played in restaurants and small orchestras in theaters. But the "misuse of one's own talent by deviating from the serious path" was punished by the management of the "Hochschule" and Godwin was expelled. That actually was his first step to success. He became the leader of the famous "Heller Revue Orchester", he played in the first radio broadcasts and by 1928 there were already more than 1500 records of Paul Godwin available on the market and he was the best selling artist at the time. With his orchestra he also performed scores for several movies. He toured the country and was a regular performer in radio broadcasts.
But times changed and in 1933 he took his last 8 Deutsche Mark and his 1713 Stradivarius violin, fled Germany and came via Luxembourg to Holland. When in 1940 the Germans occupied the Netherlands, Godwin was not deported to a concentration camp because his wife was "Arian" (she died in 1971).

After the war he played serious music in various ensembles and he founded ensembles himself.
Paul Godwin in the late nineteen forties.
Picture taken from 'Radio Encyclopedie', Amsterdam 1949.

From 1946 on he worked for the Dutch Broadcasting Corporation (Nederlandse Radio Unie, NRU), was violist in the "Alma Musica" ensemble, and again alto in "The Amsterdam String Quartet" together with Nap de Klijn (violin), Dick Vos (2nd violin), and Frank Maurits (cello).
Together with pianist Alice Heksch, violinist Nap de Klijn, violoncellist Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp, and bass player Leon Groen, he formed The Amsterdam Piano Quintet.
He also was a member of "The Netherlands String Quartet" playing with Nap de Klijn (violin), Jaap Schröder (violin), Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp (cello). Lateron George van Renesse was the pianist in "The Amsterdam Quintet". Hence there exist two different recordings with Paul Godwin of Schubert's "Trout Quintet", one with pianist Alice Heksch and another with George van Renesse; both issued on the Philips label.

In 1955 Paul Godwin started a series of radio broadcasts for Dutch VARA Broadcasting Association. Mrs. Godwin recorded these transmissions at home. Before her husband left for the studio, he prepared the tape machine for recording and when the broadcast started only the "record button" had to be pressed down. During recording the level may have been slightly adjusted by Mrs. Godwin. Today we can still witness the radio performances by Paul Godwin of small gems by Kreisler, Bloch, Hubay, Wieniawski and others. These original home made recordings have been marvelously improved and were released on LP, VARAGRAM 0018.


On VARAGRAM 0030 Paul Godwin plays with his soloists as he used to in the 1930s. And this time Dutch singer Bert Robbe who initially sang classical music can be heard in various songs. The recording was made at the time when Robbe was director of the popular music division popular of Dutch radio.


Isja Rossišan who is the pianist on VARAGRAM 0018 was born on September 16, 1905, in Vilnius (Vilna, Lithuania). He studied in Vienna, Berlin and Lausanne and worked for "Radio Berlin".

Already in 1934 Rossican started working for the "Dutch Broadcasting System" and performed with violinist Eddy Wallis. He later became a music producer/director for the NRU (Nederlandse Radio Unie). He was an admired accompanist. He accompanied Kathleen Ferrier in a recital in the famous Concertgebouw. He had formed a duo with violinist Paul Godwin until he passed away in 1968. He can be found on Musical Masterpiece Society LP MMS 153, playing one of the pianos - with Jean Antonietti - playing the other - in 'Carnival of Animals' (Saint-Saëns) together with the "Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra", Walter Goehr conducting.

VARAGRAM 0024 is a modern analog LP recording in stereo of Paul Godwin and Dutch pianist George van Renesse. Renesse had studied in Amsterdam with composer Sem Dresden, in Paris with Ricardo Vi˝ez (1875-1943) and in Berlin with Leonid Kreutzer (1884-1953, who himself was a studient of Alexander Glazunov). George Van Renesse was born in 1909, in Zaanslag (Netherlands) and started an international career. He performed in Rome with Willem Mengelberg, made numerous tours with the "Budapester Trio" (1930-1945) and accompanied Yehudi Menuhin during one of his first international tours (1947). Before and during the war he was a principal teacher at the "Amsterdam Conservatory" (1930-1945).

Mozart's Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello K 370: Jaap Stotijn (oboe), Nap de Klijn, Paul Godwin, Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp. Philips 45 RPM: 400 014 A.

From 1954 on Van Renesse was producer and recording director for the "Dutch Broadcasting System" and he had his own radio programs in which he analyzed and performed compositions by Schubert, Richard Strauss, Chopin and many others. He also was a marvelous accompanist admired by violinists and singers alike. He made recordings for the Artone and CNR labels of music by Schubert (Impromptus) and Chopin (Waltzes, Nocturnes).

In quartets, quintets and concertos Godwin is a skillful, serious musician. In his performances of the pieces of Fritz Kreisler, Godard, Bloch and so many others, he is also the entertainer and is of course somewhat less serious. Whatever composition he plays, his style bears the fruit of a long life of successes on the lighter side but also shows us the deeper meaning of what music is all about.

The program on VARAGRAM 0018:
Banjo and Fiddle
Bloch: Nigun
Elgar: La capricieuse
Albeniz/Kreisler: Tango
Hubay: Unter Ihrem Fenster (Serenade Op. 38 No. 2)
Kreisler: Tambourin chinois
Kreisler: La Gitana
Mussorgski/Dushkin: Hopak
Ravel/Kreisler: Pièce en forme de Habanera
Fall/Kreisler: Spanish Dance from 'La vida breve'
Burmester: Serenade
Wieniawski: 'Obertas' (mazurka)

The program on VARAGRAM 0024:

Kreisler: Liebesfreud, Liebesleid
Tchaikovsky-Flesch: Melodie
Godard: Canzonetta
Bloch: Aboda
Wieniawski: Kuyawiak
d'Ambroise: Canzonetta
Meijrowitz: Wus geven is geven
Massenet: Méditation
Moszkowski-De Sarasate: Gitarre
Kreisler: Schön Rosmarin.
Smetena: Aus meiner Heimat

Sextuor Instrumental 'ALMA MUSICA' plays Vivaldi on a French 45 RPM Ducretet-Thomson, 470 C 048, from around 1955.


Five gentlemen and a lady: The "Alma Musica" Instrumental Sextet.
From left to right: Carel van Leeuwen-Boomkamp (cello), Everard van Royen (flute), Gusta Goldschmidt (harpsichord), Haakon Stotijn (oboe d'amore and alto oboe), Paul Godwin (violin, alto), Johan van Helden (alto).

Their performance of "Das musikalische Opfer" was recorded by Ducretet-Tomson and ready for release by the end of 1954. German Telefunken licensed the recording and it became available as LE 6520 in the Netherlands from March 1955 on. A critic wrote that this was "a truly unequaled recording".

The later performance by the "Alma Musica" Instrumental Sextet of "Die Kunst der Fuge", as it was arranged by Dutch composer Bertus van Lier, was a broadcast by AVRO Radio in the nineteen sixties.
This performance was released for the first time on record in 1983 on the Dutch Contrapunctus label, reference 6818.181/182, pressed in the Philips plant in Baarn. It was a hommage to the artists and the composer involved and was issued a year after Paul Godwin's passing away in 1982.

The above photograph was taken in the small auditorium ("Kleine Zaal") of the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, in the early nineteen fifties. It headed the review of the Telefunken release in March 1955.

Paul Godwin was a member of the Netherlands String Quartet (Nederlands Strijkkwartet):
Nap de Klijn, violin - Jaap Schröder, violin - Paul Godwin, alto - Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp, violoncello
Image taken from Artone LP 9500 with String Quartets No. 19 (K 465) and No. 17 (K 458) of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


From left to right: Jaap Schröder, violin - Nap de Klijn, violin - Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp, violoncello -
Paul Godwin at far right, and Isaac Stern in front.
Note the bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Without it an American breakfast would be incomplete.

Many years ago a collector of vinyl records asked me for an LP recording by violinist Paul Godwin.
Since there was practically no information on the world wide web at the time,
I published a few pictures and details on a page so he (and others) could read the info needed.
For the collector it was the info that he needed on Paul Godwin.
Since then the page about the violinist has evolved to the current stage it is in.

Compiled from various Dutch sources and written by Rudolf A. Bruil - Sound Fountain.
Image of Paul Godwin in his late sixties from around 1970 taken from VARAGRAM 0024
Autograph taken from a signed copy of one of Godwin's VARAGRAM recordings.
Page first published July 2001.


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