The Fourth volume
in APR’s Piano G & T series has arrived. It surveys the
work of four pianists in recordings made between 1903 and 1908.
Louis Diémer plays
two of his own sweetmeats but he was better known as an executant
and teacher than as a composer. The five sides here were made
when he was in his very early sixties, in 1904. His own Chant
du nautonier is a rather meretricious etude-like affair
but is played with the same kind of brilliance that informs
the musicianship of his disc mates. His Godard is vivacious
though his Chopin is rather reserved and over-fleet of finger.
Five of the Diémer recordings have been transferred on Symposium
1305 – but not the 1906 remakes of his own Grande valse de
concert and the Chant du Nautonier. Symposium’s copies
are scuffier and suffer from a lot more blasting than APR’s
– the latter’s are considerably easier on the ear and the inclusion
of the later sides makes this the definitively preferable choice
in the case of his recordings.
are some of the most vital and important committed to disc.
Born in 1873 she studied with Clara Schumann and left behind
these few, precious traces of her performing style before marriage
took her away pretty much permanently from the concert hall
and recording studio, albeit she did makes some duo and chamber
appearances. We can note the delightful capriciousness of her
rubati in the Scarlatti Sonata in G but the Brahms sides are
the most important in view of her association with the composer.
He showed her the then unpublished Opp.118 and 119. Her playing
of the G minor Ballade Op.118 No.3 thus reverberates with this
knowledge; it’s a very rare recording indeed and intensely important,
allowing one intimate access to a performance from the immediate
All these sides
can also be found on Pearl’s 6 CD box set devoted to The
Pupils of Clara Schumann (CDS 9904-09). I do prefer some
aspects of Pearl’s works – its immediacy for one and they seem
to have utilised one or two better copies than APR. APR’s sound
is smoother overall but sometimes needs a treble boost. For
collectors this is rather academic, as they will need the Pearl
box given that it also contains private recordings Eibenschütz
made after the Second World War.
British acoustics have been transferred on the Pearl double
CD set GEMS 0102. The Pearl transfers are swishier and the APRs
are easier on the ear – though they have filtered more treble
frequencies and to that extent the Pearls do have something
strongly to offer. As well, of course, for the fact that the
whole collection of his recordings can be found there. There
are also some slightly inscrutable sides that Josef Hofmann
made in Berlin in 1903 – the usual kind of virtuoso pieces despatched
with dramatic brilliance.
and biographical information completes another noteworthy release
from an indispensable series.