Sony Classical pays tribute to Artur Schnabel – one of the 20th century’s most influential pianists and musical thinkers. Artur Schnabel – The RCA Victor Recordings brings together all of the pianist’s sessions for RCA Victor, recorded within an intense two months of activity in 1942. Beethoven’s G major and “Emperor” Concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (conducted by its long time music director Frederick Stock) first appeared on 78s. Two late Beethoven Sonatas, No. 30 in E major op. 109 and No. 32 in C minor op. 111 were issued for the first time in 1976, inviting comparisons alongside Schnabel’s much imitated early 1930s versions. Also from the 1942 sessions are the previously unpublished Schubert Impromptus D 899, a significantRead more addition to Schnabel’s discography.
Not a single note is on automatic pilot. At every moment, you feel him having a living conversation with the music, deeply felt or deeply playful.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58by Ludwig van Beethoven Performer:
Artur Schnabel (Piano)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 1942
Schnabel in AmericaOctober 24, 2017By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH)See All My Reviews"This two CD set from Sony contains Artur Schnabels complete American recordings for RCA Victor, recorded in June and July of 1942. The repertoire consists of works Schnabel was well known for: Beethovens 4th and 5th Piano Concertos, the Sonatas, Op. 109 & 111, and Schuberts Impromptus D. 899. Of these works, only the Concertos were released during Schnabels lifetime. Ive seen no evidence that Schnabel specifically rejected these recordings, so the delay in publishing the other recordings may have been due to rationing imposed during Americas participation in the Second World War, when the issuing of non-essential recordings was limited. Schnabel was not the only pianist to be affected by such restrictions. Horowitz made only three studio recordings during that period: Czernys Variations on La Ricordanza, Tchaikovskys Dumka, and his own arrangement of Saint-Saens Danse Macabre. Rumor has it that the metal master for Rachmaninoffs recording of Liszts Spanish Rhapsody was donated and melted down. While Schnabel has been thought of as the high exemplar of the German school, he was in reality a Jew who was born near what today is Bielsko-Bia?a, Poland. Hence, he had good reason to flee Europe in 1939, and he eventually took up US citizenship the same as Arthur Rubinstein, whose reservations about Schnabels performances are recounted in his autobiography. Schnabels approach to Beethovens G major concerto is one that emphasizes the works overall arc but doesnt skimp on details. The opening movements tempo is relatively brisk by todays standards, but there is far more flexibility than one would typically hear today. While there are occasional finger fluffs (this was pre-splice, after all), the evenness of Schnabels scale work, the integration of his trills and ornaments within phrases, and the solid weighting of his chords testify to the state of his technique. (A musical acquaintance once remarked to me that Schnabel couldnt play an even trill to save his life, but his treatment of the short trills to the main theme of the finale is far superior to Rubinsteins, who had a tendency to splash trills.) All the more astonishing is how he holds the finale together, which is taken at a recklessly fast tempo. There is also his beautiful tone, a reminder that he studied with Leschetizky. The Emperor Concerto starts out a bit laid back, until midway through the opening movement where Schnabel starts pushing the orchestra into a quicker tempo during the battle sequence. The Adagio has a lovely sense of repose without dragging, while the Rondo is rollicking fun far from the pedantry Rubinstein objected to. The Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock provides an assertive accompaniment in both concertos. Schnabels renditions of Beethovens Op. 109 and Op. 111 Sonatas are, unsurprisingly, revelatory. Ive never heard the Andante from Op. 109 played with such a sense of repose, with the Theme and Variations building to a heavenly ecstasy. There is a bit of isolated scrambling during the opening movement of Op. 111, but no more than usual for Schnabel. But the struggling of the first movement makes the stillness of the Arietta all the more arresting, and the arrival in Heaven near the end feels like an event. The C minor Impromptu begins with a declamatory fervor that settles into a somber brooding appropriate for one of Schuberts darker works. Both the E-flat major and G major Impromptus are played at tempos that are faster than usual today. In the former, it results in the right-hand runs becoming a mélange of whirling notes, but the flowing quality of the G major Impromptu is entirely apt. The repeated notes in the popular A-flat major Impromptu are testament to the quality of Schnabels technique at age 60, while the central episode builds with a sense of inevitability. The recordings are mono, of course, and derive from 78rpm discs. However, the sound is relatively full with neither obtrusive noise nor obvious filtering. The set is issued in a jewel box, which includes a booklet with complete recording information (including Matrix numbers) a revealing essay by Jed Distler."Report Abuse