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Myra Hess

Biography

Born: February 25, 1890; London, England   Died: November 25, 1965; London, England  
Dame Myra Hess was one of the best-known and most beloved of British pianists. She was a pupil of Julian Pascal and Orlando Morgan. At 12 she earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and became a pupil of Tobias Matthay, whom she viewed as her primary teacher.

She debuted at the age of 17 in Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, with Thomas Beecham conducting. In a departure for pianists of her era she took a special interest in chamber
Read more music, including participating in a piano duo with her cousin Irene Scharrer. She toured Europe and the United States.

She was a warm person and well liked, particularly in English-speaking countries, and visited America frequently. Her reputation was particularly enhanced by her innovative and deeply appreciated venture during World War II, the National Gallery Concerts. Wartime blackouts closed the concert halls of London. In the meantime, the National Gallery in London had been emptied of its art treasures, which were sent to parts of the country less vulnerable to German bombing. It was Hess's idea to open the Gallery to the public for concerts every day during the lunch hours.

Londoners flocked to these informal concerts. Hess arranged concerts from solo recitals to full-scale orchestral and choral music. She personally appeared more than any other artist (never asking for a fee), and got some of the finest musicians of the country to appear there. She received her knighthood as a Dame of the British Empire for this service in 1942. The effort was seen as a major boost to morale, and it is said that when the artworks were returned to the Gallery in 1946, ending the musical series, that there was considerable disappointment.

In common with many artists she adopted a wide-ranging repertory, including much music of her time, when she was younger, but focused increasingly on the great classic masters in later years. Her playing was noted for both warmth and thoughtfulness. She made numerous transcriptions, of which one in particular, Bach's chorale prelude Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring from Cantata 147, has become an international favorite. Read less
Browse 1-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Myra Hess: Mostly Schubert
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2098 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Myra Hess
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  • 2.
    Time Traveller - Wartime Britain
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 79012 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Cecil Armstrong Gibbs,  Richard Addinsell,  Walter Kent  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Adni,  Vera Lynn,  Noel Coward,  Al Bowlly  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir William Walton,  Vivian Dunn,  Kenneth Alwyn,  Tony Osborne  ... 
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  • 3.
    Brahms, Schubert, Ferguson, Beethoven: Sonatas /    Isaac Stern, Myra Hess
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1458 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Howard Ferguson,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Myra Hess
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  • 4.
    Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert: Violin Sonatas / Szigeti, Horszowski, Hess
    Label: Biddulph   Catalog: 80228 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Myra Hess
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  • 5.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Piano Trio No 2 / Joseph Szigeti
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Portrait   Catalog: 52535 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Myra Hess,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Schumann, Brahms / Myra Hess
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 5646 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Griller String Quartet
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  • 7.
    Legendary British Performers / Various
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 88461 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Enrique Granados,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Iris Du Pré,  Mark Deller,  Alfred Deller  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 8.
    Bach, Haydn, Schumann / Hess
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4201 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Myra Hess
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  • 9.
    Schumann, Beethoven, Bach: Piano Concertos / Hess
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4178 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Brahms: Violin Sonata No 1, Etc / Szigeti, Et Al
    Label: Biddulph   Catalog: 80212 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Milton Katims,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
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  • 11.
    Masters Of The Piano Roll - The Great Female Pianists Vol 1
    Label: Dal Segno   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 01/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wanda Landowska,  Myra Hess
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  • 12.
    Haydn, Beethoven, Weber / Emanuel Feuerman, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2008 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Schubert,  George Frideric Handel,  David Popper  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Emanuel Feuermann,  Hulda Lashanska,  Mischa Elman  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Grand Piano - Brahms / Backhaus, Bauer, Fischer, Hess, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 8806 Release Date: 06/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Harold Bauer,  Myra Hess,  Wilhelm Backhaus  ... 
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  • 14.
    Isaac Stern - My First 79 Years
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89049 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Emanuel Ax,  Jaime Laredo  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Daniel Barenboim,  Eugene Ormandy,  Milton Katims  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Great Pianists Of The 20th Century - Myra Hess
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 456832 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Rudolf Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Dame Myra Hess - Live Recordings, University Of Illinois Vol 1
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 5520 Release Date: 04/28/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Myra Hess
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  • 17.
    Grand Piano - Bach / Bauer, Friedman, Grainger, Hess, Samuel
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 8808 Release Date: 11/05/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Harold Samuel,  Ignaz Friedman,  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Harold Bauer  ... 
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  • 18.
    Grand Piano - Debussy / D'albert, Copeland, Grainger, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 8807 Release Date: 07/06/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Eugène d' Albert,  Artur Rubinstein,  Myra Hess,  George Copeland  ... 
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  • 19.
    Casals Edition - Brahms, Mendelssohn: Piano Trios / Hess
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66571 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Alexander Schneider,  Myra Hess  ... 
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  • 20.
    Emanuel Feuermann - English Columbia Recordings Vol Iii
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 9446 Release Date: 01/19/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Isaac Albeniz,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Emanuel Feuermann,  Paul Hindemith,  Szymon Goldberg,  Michael Taube  ... 
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  • 21.
    Myra Hess In Concert 1949-1960
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 0779 Release Date: 01/06/1970   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Myra Hess,  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Efrem Kurtz,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Robert Scholz,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  American Chamber Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 22.
    Dame Myra Hess Vol 2
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 9463 Release Date: 12/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Edward MacDowell,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Walter Goehr
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  • 23.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos 14 & 20 / Myra Hess, Bruno Walter
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 275 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
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