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The Piano G&Ts. Volume Four
Recordings from the Gramophone and Typewriter Era 1900-1908
LOUIS DIÉMER (1843-1919)
Grande Valse de concert in D flat Op.37 [2:29]
Chant du nautonier [3:07]
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)

Valse chromatique Op.88  [3:01]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Songs without Words – No.34 in C major Op.67/4 La Fileuse [1:37]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne in D flat Op.27/2 [3:34]
Louis Diémer (piano) rec. Paris, 1904
LOUIS DIÉMER (1843-1919) 
Grande Valse de concert in D flat Op.37 [2:43]
Chant du nautonier [3:01]
Louis Diémer (piano) rec. Paris, 1906
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Sonata in E, K20 [1:12]
Sonata in G, K14 [1:01]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Ballade in G minor, Op.118/3 [2:38]
Waltz in E major, Op.39/2 [1:03]
Waltz in A flat, Op.39/15 [0:59]
Ilona Eibenschutz (piano) rec. London, 1903
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Song without words Op.19/3 (Hunting Song) [2:09]
Song without words Op.62/6 (Spring Song) [2:38]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Polonaise in A, Op.40/1 [2:59]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Marche Militaire arranged Tausig [4:24]
Der Erlkönig arranged Franz LISZT (1811-1886) [4:54]
Josef Hofmann (piano) rec. Berlin, 1903

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Suite No.5 in E: Air & variations (The Harmonious Blacksmith) [3:15]
Carl Maria von WEBER
Sonata No.1 in C: Presto (Perpetuum-mobile) [3:32]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Prelude Op.28/1 [0:42]
Etude Op.10/1 [2:04]
Fantaisie-Impromptu Op.66 [3:55]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Liebestraume No.3 in A flat [3:41]
Paganini Etude No.3 in A flat minor (La Campanella) [3:44]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Norwegian Bridal Procession Op.19/2 [2:52]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Prelude in C sharp minor, Op.3/2 [3:36]
Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) rec. London, 1908
APR 5534 [73:28]

 


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.

Eibenschütz’s records 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 Brahms circle.

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.

Backhaus’s complete 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.

Excellent discographic and biographical information completes another noteworthy release from an indispensable series.

Jonathan Woolf  
 

 


 

 


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