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Claudio Arrau - The Early Years - Complete Pre-War Recordings


Release Date: 04/11/2000 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 52023-2   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinFranz SchubertFranz LisztMily Balakirev,   ... 
Performer:  Claudio Arrau
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is always fascinating to discover the first steps of a great performer, before he found the unique voice that made his fame. Unlike most important pianists born at the turn of the century (notably Horowitz), Claudio Arrau (1903-91) has been almost exclusively celebrated for his late recordings. His style, however, did change a lot throughout his career. A few years ago, two French EMI CDs in the collection Références revived his splendid Carnaval from 1939 and a complete set of Chopin Etudes recorded in the 1950s. Later on, further efforts by Pearl, Dante, and Sony confirmed that the young and middle-aged Arrau had a very different interpretive profile than the mature artist who abundantly recorded for EMI and then Philips. Read more Now, these new transfers of Arrau's complete pre-war recordings allow us to observe the metamorphosis from boiling virtuoso to wise man of the 88 keys.


The switch of repertoire is the most obvious change that occurred in the process. After the war, Arrau progressively abandoned showpieces, Spanish, and modern music altogether to concentrate on a handful of immortal classics--Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, and Debussy. A student of Liszt's disciple Martin Krause, the young Arrau shows evident affinities with the virtuoso universe of the Hungarian-born composer. Although not exempt from digital accidents, all the Liszt selections display the same elegant fluency and dramatic use of color. Balakirev's Islamey comes more as a lesson in singing tune and textural clarity than as an exotic virtuoso extravaganza (just compare it with Simon Barere's jaw-dropping live performance from Carnegie Hall on APR). However, even considering Arrau's peculiar, relaxed approach, the piece still misses some energy and flamboyance. Stravinsky's Danse Russe from Petrouchka bounces with choreographic petulance, while Busoni's magic Sonatina on Bizet's Carmen rarely has sounded so convincing and imaginative.


Over the years, the 1939 Schumann Carnaval has acquired a legendary status, and rightly so. Despite the 78's recording-time limitations, it's a grandiose reading driven by an extraordinary sense of continuity, and yet full of details framed within lovingly shaped phrasings. This is its best sonic incarnation released so far. Finally, the young Arrau's Chopin registers the most radical changes compared to his later recordings. The expression is direct, dark, and urgent, supported by a wonderfully balanced rubato that never distorts the melodic line. A vast improvement over the almost simultaneous Pearl release, Marston's sensitive transfers sound just as clear and intelligible as the historical material allows. Two English Vocalion 78s from 1921 are reissued here for the first time. Here's a real "must-have" set for all Arrau fans and piano lovers. [7/13/2000]
--Luca Sabbatini, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34: no 3 in F major, B 118 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1921 
2.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 3 in E major, B 74 "Tristesse" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: January 23, 1929 
3.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 4 in C sharp minor, B 74 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Poland 
Date of Recording: January 23, 1929 
4.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 8 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Poland 
Date of Recording: 1938 
5.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 9 in F minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Poland 
Date of Recording: February 27, 1928 
6.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 1 in A flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: January 23, 1929 
7.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 2 in F minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: January 23, 1929 
8.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 28: no 23 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: January 23, 1929 
9.
Tarantella for Piano in A flat major, B 139/Op. 43 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1938 
10.
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: April 4, 1939 
11.
Scherzo for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, B 125/Op. 39 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Mallorca (Majorca),  
Date of Recording: April 4, 1939 
12.
Moments musicaux (6) for Piano, D 780/Op. 94: no 3 in F minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823-1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1921 
13.
Transcendental Etudes (6) after Paganini, S 140: no 1 in G minor "Tremolo" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 1928 
14.
Transcendental Etudes (6) after Paganini, S 140: no 2 in E flat major "Octave" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 1928 
15.
Transcendental Etudes (6) after Paganini, S 140: no 5 "La Chasse" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 1928 
16.
Transcendental Etudes (6) after Paganini, S 140: no 6 in A minor "Theme and Variations" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 1928 
17.
Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 4, Au bord d'une source by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1854; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1928 
18.
Valse mélancolique, S 210 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839 
Date of Recording: February 27, 1928 
19.
Années de pèlerinage no 3, S 163: no 4, Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867-1877; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: November 15, 1928 
20.
Rhapsodie espagnole for Piano, S 254 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1863; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: September 4, 1933 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work. 
21.
Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1928 
22.
Concert Etudes (3) for Piano, S 144: no 2 in F minor, La leggierezza by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1848; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1928 
23.
Pétrouchka: Danse russe by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911/1947; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 1928 
24.
Elegies (7) for Piano, K 249: no 5, Die Nächtlichen by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1928 
25.
Sonatina super Carmen, K 284 "Kammerfantasie" by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1927-1928 
26.
Ständchen "Horch, horch!" (Schubert) for Piano, S 558 no 9 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; France 
Date of Recording: February 27, 1928 
27.
Carnaval, Op. 9 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1835; Germany 
Date of Recording: April 3-4, 1939 
28.
Tarentelle styrienne "Danse" by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1890; France 
Date of Recording: April 4, 1939 
29.
Estampes (3) for Piano: no 3, Jardins sous la pluie by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
Date of Recording: April 4, 1939 

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