Notes and Editorial Reviews
These classic recordings, originally released on LPs by Musical Heritage Society, and brought to CD for the first time, bring together two of the leading Mozart pianists of their generation–Nadia Reisenberg and Artur Balsam. Reisenberg was born in Russia, studying there with Leonid Nicolaieff (the teacher of Shostakovich, among many other leading Russian pianists). In the USA, Ms. Reisenberg studied with the legendary Josef Hoffman, at the Curtis Institute. Among Ms. Reisenberg's outstanding achievements, was the performance of all 27 Piano Concertos of Mozart. Ms. Reisenberg taught at Curtis, NYU, USC, and the Jerusalem Academy. Artur Balsam was born in Poland, and won the First Prize in the Berlin Competition of 1930, and the Mendelssohn
Prize in Berlin in 1931. Balsam recorded hundreds of works of both the solo and chamber repertoire, including all of Mozart's solo music, and recorded Sonatas with Nathan Milstein, Zino Francescatti, Joseph Fuchs and Zara Nelsova, among many others. A number of Balsam's chamber performances can be heard on BRIDGE 9063, 9066 and 9110
R E V I E W S:
"In short, I cannot remember a more joyous recorded performance of Mozart piano music than these delightful renditions. They are beyond lively; they are transcendental because they are so natural. They really do sound as if these two highly respected musicians simply decided to get together for an evening of casual music-making. I’ll bet that that was the occasion for this recording coming into being. These pieces actually sound as though they were composed for the delectation of the performers rather than for an audience. For one thing, they sound as though they are technically very challenging for the performers. The K 521 and K 497 sonatas are the kind of complex and lengthy pieces that certainly display the musical and technical strengths of the performers, and I can think of few musicians more suited to the four-handed repertoire of Mozart than Artur Balsam and Nadia Reisenberg. Both were more than capable solo musicians, though Balsam was more renowned as one of the best accompanists—if not the best—for violinists like Nathan Milstein, Yehudi Menuhin, and Zino Francescatti. He also accompanied cellists such as Rostropovich and Pierre Fournier, and often played with the Budapest Quartet. Reisenberg was famous for her Haydn sonatas, but she also played the Romantic composers with equal strength and conviction.
There is no indication of when these marvelous recordings were actually made, but their mono sound is quite rich and full. There is an integrity and spontaneity in the playing that seems to belong to a past era, and I have no explanation why that kind of spiritual generosity is rarely a part of classical music today. It might be that Balsam and Reisenberg were close personal friends for many years, and it’s that close personal community that is a necessary component for making music with such joy and open-hearted celebration. The minute you put this CD in the machine you will smile, and continue smiling from first note to the last. This is joyous music played joyously like you’ve never heard before. It’s a genuine romp!"
Patrick Meanor, FANFARE
Works on This Recording
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