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Icon - Edwin Fischer

Fischer,Edwin
Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 29499   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachWolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig van BeethovenFranz Schubert,   ... 
Performer:  Edwin FischerRaymond ClarkGareth MorrisManoug Parikian,   ... 
Conductor:  Edwin FischerSir John BarbirolliLawrence CollingwoodJosef Krips,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edwin Fischer Chamber OrchestraPhilharmonia OrchestraOrchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 12 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A vast amount of music to which to listen, and to treasure.

The latest of EMI’s ‘Icon’ series to reach me is this 12 CD set devoted to Edwin Fischer. It bears the subtitle ‘Piano Playing from the Heart’ which rather puts me in mind of Semprini, but that apart - Piano Playing from the Bowels, anyone? - all is well.

I’ve sampled throughout these discs, and will just note some highlights. Fischer’s Bach is still a marker. In the first disc we have the Keyboard concertos. There is sufficient metrical variety to keep things moving and of course the slow movements are nobly contrived, not least in the slow movement of the D minor or the wonderfully touching F minor. The eloquent string terracing in the
Read more Larghetto of the concerto in A attests to the rapport he had generated with his own Chamber Orchestra in these Berlin recordings of 1933-38. The first disc ends with the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, from the 1952 Philharmonia set and the second disc opens with the second concerto. The concerto for three keyboards is the familiar recording with Ronald Smith and Denis Matthews. If you’ve not come across the 1949 Fantasia in C minor recording make its acquaintance; so too the 1937 Fantasia and Fugue in A minor. Inevitably, and rightly, three discs are given over to Fischer’s Well Tempered Clavier set which was recorded in London between 1933 and 1936.

Disc six gives us Mozart. The concertos are a mix of self-directed and conducted by a series of colleagues with whom he seemed to get on, more or less. Despite being colleagues in their earlier days, I was interested to read a letter that Adolf Busch wrote to his brother Fritz in which he said he’d been listening to Fischer’s recording of the K491 concerto and found it ‘dilettantish’. This was recorded in London in 1937 with Lawrence Collingwood on the rostrum. It doesn’t sound so to me, though Busch had an axe to grind, and had been opposed to the Fischer-Furtwängler axis since the 1920s. It was Barbirolli who said, after the war, that he never knew when to bring the orchestra in after one of Fischer’s cadenzas. You can hear Barbirolli, pre-war, with his own chamber orchestra manfully accompanying in the E flat K482 and providing a plush string carpet. Josef Krips provides staunch support in a 1947 recording of the concerto in C, K503.

Discs nine and ten are devoted to Beethoven. We have concertos 3, 4 and 5. The former two are self directed, the Emperor with Furtwängler. The orchestra is the Philharmonia. These are amongst the best known of Fischer’s recordings, humane, powerful, well balanced, and often transferred - indeed the fifth concerto has recently been transferred by Naxos [8.112025]. Given the relative ubiquity of these recordings perhaps one should be directed to the sonata performances as well, as one should to the Mozart sonata performances in this set as well - of which there are two and some miscellaneous pieces. The Beethoven sonatas are the Pathétique and Appassionata (both 1952).

Fine though these are, they are, for me, rather eclipsed by the Schubert recordings enshrined in disc eleven, recordings of the two Impromptu sets from 1938 and the Moments Musicaux from 1950. Magnificently encompassing and all-embracing no Fischer collection should be without them. As ever, if there any finger slips they are trivial when set against so much insight and imagination. The final disc serves up the famous wartime Brahms Second Concerto performance of 1942, a mighty, tempestuous and expansive affair given added impetus by the conductor whose wartime inscriptions were invariably tinged with a piercing intensity. The coupling here is Furtwängler’s own Symphonic Concerto.

Fischer first recorded in 1928 for Electrola but nothing was released from these sessions. His first concerto performance was Mozart’s K466 with Jochum but it too was not issued and was remade with the London Philharmonic, Fischer directing. So this set concentrates on concerto and solo performances, and specifically avoids those occasions when Fischer acted solely as a conductor - for example in Haydn - or as a duo collaborator (with Gioconda de Vito) or with his piano trio with Schneiderhan and Mainardi.

There’s a fine booklet essay by Stephen Plaistow to read, and a vast amount of music to which to listen, and to treasure.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edwin Fischer Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1933 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
2.
Concerto for Harpsichord in A major, BWV 1055 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edwin Fischer Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/05/1936 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
3.
Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edwin Fischer Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/23/1938 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
4.
Brandenburg Concerto no 5 in D major, BWV 1050 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Raymond Clark (Cello), Gareth Morris (Flute), Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720-1721; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/20/1952 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
5.
Brandenburg Concerto no 2 in F major, BWV 1047 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Geraint Jones (Harpsichord), Sidney Sutcliffe (Oboe), Harold Jackson (Trumpet),
Manoug Parikian (Violin), Gareth Morris (Flute), Raymond Clark (Cello)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1718; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1953 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
6.
Concerto for 3 Harpsichords in C major, BWV 1064 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Denis Matthews (Piano), Edwin Fischer (Piano), Ronald Smith (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/16/1950 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
7.
Concerto for Harpsichord in E major, BWV 1053 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edwin Fischer Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1950 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
8.
Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 906 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/31/1949 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
9.
Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/05/1937 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
10.
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1931 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
11.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1933-1934 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
12.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, BWV 870-893 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738-1742; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1935-1936 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
13.
Concerto for Piano no 17 in G major, K 453 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/07/1937 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
14.
Concerto for Piano no 20 in D minor, K 466 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/24/1933 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
15.
Sonata for Piano no 10 in C major, K 330 (300h) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783 
Date of Recording: 03/06/1937 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
16.
Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Barbirolli Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/06/1935 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
17.
Concerto for Piano no 24 in C minor, K 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Collingwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/03/1937 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
18.
Sonata for Piano no 11 in A major, K 331 (300i) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/06/1937 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
19.
Concerto for Piano no 25 in C major, K 503 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Josef Krips
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/10/1947 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
20.
Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K 382 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1936 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
21.
Fantasia for Piano in C minor, K 396 (385f) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/28/1934 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
22.
Fantasy for Piano in C minor, K 475 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
23.
Romance for Piano in A major, K Anh. 205 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1947 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
24.
Minuet for Piano in G major, K 1 (1e) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1761-1762; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/25/1933 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
25.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1951 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
26.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1952 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
27.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1952 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
28.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1954 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London 
29.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Edwin Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1954 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 1 Studio, London 
30.
Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 899/Op. 90 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1938 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
31.
Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 935/Op. 142 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1938 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
32.
Moments musicaux (6) for Piano, D 780/Op. 94 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823-1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/18/1950 
Venue:  Abbey Road no 3 Studio, London 
33.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1942 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 
34.
Symphonic Concerto for Piano in B minor: Adagio by Wilhelm Furtwängler
Performer:  Edwin Fischer (Piano)
Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1936; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/25/1939 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 

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