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The Complete London Studio Recordings / Annie Fischer [8-CD Set]


Release Date: 04/08/2014 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 634123   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig van BeethovenFranz SchubertRobert Schumann,   ... 
Performer:  Annie Fischer
Conductor:  Sir Adrian BoultWolfgang SawallischEfrem KurtzOtto Klemperer,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraNew Philharmonia OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 8 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Annie Fischer’s complete EMI recordings have been available in various CD reissues over the years, yet never all together until now. Certain items in this 8-disc collection are newly transferred from stereo masters that sound more open, dynamically expanded, and full-bodied than in earlier mono incarnations. Much of the playing is wonderful. All six Mozart concertos stand out for Fischer’s singing tone and chamber-like give and take with her fellow musicians. I’m especially taken with K. 595’s finale. In contrast to most performances that treat the music with kid gloves and undermine Mozart’s Allegro marking, Fischer is refreshingly brisk and boisterous, helped by Efrem Kurtz’s like-minded shaping of the orchestra part, with its vivid Read more woodwind detailing.

Fischer’s EMI Beethoven legacy holds equal distinction. The “Pathetique” first-movement introduction and the “Moonlight” finale feature stinging accents and dramatic dynamic contrasts, while Op. 111 holds its own against similarly intense, massively textured versions–Arrau’s, for example. Fischer’s Op. 109 has long been a favorite, and I’ve often pointed out how she is one of the few pianists to accurately observe the composer’s alternating detached and legato phrasing in the Prestissimo. If her “Waldstein” outer movements fall slightly short of those by contemporaneous competitors (Serkin, Solomon, Nat), the hauntingly sustained Introduzione compensates.

Fischer’s flexible, poetic, and technically adroit Schubert B-flat D. 960 ranks alongside the catalog’s great versions, even without the now de rigueur first-movement exposition repeat. The A-flat D. 935 No. 2 Impromptu’s expansive, reposeful outer sections contrast to Fischer’s volatile temperament leading the way in the central minor-key episode. No. 4 of the set combines some of Serkin’s metrical rigor and technical honesty with Schnabel’s emphasis of the syncopated accents.

Aside from some rushing and a few snatched-at chordal leaps in the second movement, Fischer’s Schumann Fantasy breathes, sings, and constantly communicates. So does her Kinderszenen. Fischer’s studio Carnaval is more accurate but not quite so unbuttoned and fanciful as her existing broadcast and concert versions. What could have been one of the best Kreislerianas on disc is spoiled by a ridiculously fast final movement.

Unfortunately, Otto Klemperer’s stodgy, unyielding orchestral framework prevents Fischer’s Schumann A minor and Liszt E-flat major concertos from taking wing. But her Bartók Third with Igor Markevitch at the helm remains a classic in every way. Fischer’s phrasing consistently brings out the speech-like patterns and accentuations of Bartók’s melodic thinking, even in the finale’s scampering, scintillating unison lines. Piano connoisseurs need no further prodding to acquire this caringly produced and reasonably priced boxed set.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 20 in D minor, K 466 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 23 in A major, K 488 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 24 in C minor, K 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Efrem Kurtz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Concerto for Piano no 27 in B flat major, K 595 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Efrem Kurtz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Sonata for Piano no 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 935/Op. 142: no 4 in F minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 935/Op. 142: no 2 in A flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Phantasie for Piano in C major, Op. 17 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1838; Germany 
18.
Kinderszenen, Op. 15 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
19.
Carnaval, Op. 9 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1835; Germany 
20.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
21.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E flat major, S 124 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849/1856; Weimar, Germany 
22.
Concerto for Piano no 3, Sz 119 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Annie Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 

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