Ruggiero Ricci was born of Italian immigrant parents on a San Francisco army base in 1918, and christened Roger Rich. (When he Italianized his name for the purposes of a concert career, Ruggero was misspelt as Ruggiero, and remained that way.) By the time he passed away in 2012, he could boast an extraordinary career of 85 years before the public.

Ruggiero Ricci Ruggiero Ricci. Photo © Universal Music Australia

Ricci’s approach to performance had something of the showman about it, like his idols Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz. He became famous for his ability to communicate with an audience and created a strong American following through frequent touring – not just to major cities. His repertoire was basically traditional, with a strong contingent of encores and showpieces by Kreisler, Sarasate, Paganini, Wieniawski, and similar violinist/composers.

Ricci made a large number of recordings, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s. The majority of his post-war recordings were made for British Decca, although a number in the 1960s were made for American Decca, at the time, a completely independent company.

This 20-disc...