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Nadia Reisenberg – Live Chamber Recitals and Home Solo Performances
Nadia Reisenberg (piano)
David Glazer (clarinet)
Galimir String Quartet (Dvořk)
Members of the Budapest String Quartet (Beethoven Op. 16)
David Glazer (clarinet): David Soyer (cello) (Mozart, Beethoven, Op. 11)
rec. Mannes College, May 1963 (Weber and Mozart K498), December 1963 (Beethoven, Op.11), November 1980 (Dvořk): Frick Museum, November 1952 (Beethoven, Op.16); piano solos, home recordings, c.1951.
ROMO 7318/19 [78:20 + 74:50]

There has been a steady increase in interest in the legacy of pianist Nadia Reisenberg in recent years, to the great advantage of her numerous admirers. I’ve reviewed several of these releases, where one can find some biographical material (review ~ review ~ review)

This slimline twofer presents live performances from second generation tape copies, a Beethoven Quartet that was recorded off air and a sequence of home recorded solo piano pieces somewhat compromised by the inevitably relatively primitive circumstances of the c.1951 recording. However, Seth Winner has been busy with remedial assistance and has made the set as listenable as one could hope.

The Weber Grand Duo Concertante and Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio were performed on 8 May 1963 as part of a faculty concert at Mannes College. The sound is slightly recessed but the definition between David Glazer’s clarinet and Reisenberg’s piano in the Weber is fine and the performance brings out the tangy wit and elasticity of the writing as well as the reminiscences of an operatic scena in the central movement. Reisenberg’s passagework in the finale sparkles. Cellist David Soyer joins for the Mozart, though unfortunately for matters of ensemble he is badly off-mic for much of the time, only coming to prominence in the finale, though even here he is covered by the piano. This is no one’s fault: it’s a casualty of the original set-up. The performance is technically adroit and wholly convincing notwithstanding these drawbacks. Beethoven’s Gassenhauer trio comes from a December 1963 run-through with the same three musicians, though they go straight through without stopping. Better balanced, the sprung rhythms are excellent, Soyer can expand in the expressive intensity of the Adagio and there are charming exchanges in the finale.

Two major string quartet ensembles are represented on disc two. Three members of the 1952 line-up of the Budapest Quartet join her for Beethoven’s Quartet in E flat, Op.16; violinist Jac Gorodetsky, violist Boris Kroyt and cellist Mischa Schneider. This comes from the Frick Museum via a live off-air WNYC broadcast. Congested though the sound may be the performance has real artistic merit, though in terms of sound I’d rate the April 1955 Library of Congress traversal, where Joseph Roisman was the violinist and Horszowski the pianist, higher. The most modern performance is Dvořk’s Op.8, a November 1980 Mannes College Concert where Reisenberg joins the Galimir Quartet – from which ensemble only Felix Galimir remained from its great days, decades before. This is a strong reading, with the Bohemian rhythms crisply delineated and the music’s emotive extremes well resolved. Rubati can be leisurely in places but not excessively so.

From 1951 or thereabouts one can hear Reisenberg solo, in a powerfully conceived Liszt Spanish Rhapsody, a charming performance of the Valse from Glazunov’s Three Miniatures, a Chopin Waltz and the C sharp minor Nocturne, all of which attest to her superior musicianship.

Reisenberg’s son Robert Sherman contributes a characteristically thoughtful note to this fine enterprise.

Jonathan Woolf
Disc contents
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Grand Duo Concertante, Op. 48, j204 (1815-16) [18:36]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Trio in E-flat Major, K. 498 “Kegelstatt” (1786) [19:47]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11 “Gassenhauer” (1797) [21:39]
Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 16 (1796) [23:22]
attrib. MOZART
Pastorale Varie [5:25]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Spanish Rhapsody, S254 (1863) [12:29]
Antonin DVOŘK (1841-1904)
Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81, B155 (1887) [40:34]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Valse Allegretto in D, Op. 42, No. 3 (1893) [3:15]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 42 [3:35]
Nocturne No. 20 in c-sharp minor, Op. Posth. [3:41]



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