Ronald Smith

Biography

Born: January 3, 1922; London, England   Died: May 27, 2004; London, England  
Ronald Smith is best remembered as the pianist who reintroduced the complex, but fantastic compositions of Charles-Valentin Alkan to the world in the 1960s, some 90-120 years after they were first written and 40 years after Alkan's previous great champion, Ferruccio Busoni, had died. Smith received his first piano lessons from his mother and when he entered school, others recognized his talent as well. He won a scholarship to study at the Royal Read more Academy of Music in London, where he intended to take up composing, but moved more and more into piano performance. Perhaps it was that early exposure to other musical disciplines that gave him the acuity to learn from other musicians, not just pianists, an important lesson he tried to pass on to his own students. His official debut was at a Proms concert, performing Bach with conductor Henry Wood, and in his early career was frequently associated with the music of Bach, the Classical composers, and early Romantics such as Beethoven and Schubert. He was introduced to the music of Alkan by a BBC producer who gave him a score and asked if Smith could play it. Smith not only could, but he went on to record much of Alkan's music, to help found the Alkan Society, and to write four books about the composer. In addition to Alkan, Smith often played the music of Alkan's contemporaries, Chopin and Liszt. Smith's playing, and indeed the man himself, was noted for its vitality. He was said to have a repertoire of over 40 concertos. In 2002, although he had severely impaired sight, he performed a very full recital for his 80th birthday celebration at Queen Elizabeth Hall. He performed a similarly challenging program that included Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata; Chopin's Etudes, Op. 25; a Liszt Hungarian Dance; and Alkan's Le festin d'Esope just four days before his death in 2004. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas - Pathetique, Moonlight, Appassionata / Smith
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7723 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Smith
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  • 2.
    Chopin: Etudes Op 10 & 25 / Smith
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5223 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Ronald Smith
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  • 3.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Balakirev, Scriabin: Sonatas / Smith
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5187 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mily Balakirev,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Scriabin
    Performer:  Ronald Smith
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  • 4.
    Icon - Edwin Fischer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 29499 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer,  Ronald Smith,  Denis Matthews,  Raymond Clark  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Edwin Fischer,  Josef Krips,  Lawrence Collingwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    A Festival Of Ballet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67063 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Susan Bickley,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Catherine Pierard  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  André Previn,  Paavo Järvi,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $100.98
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  • 6.
    Best Chopin 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58513 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Danielle Laval,  Teresa Llacuna,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Charles Dutoit,  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 7.
    Chopin 200th Anniversary Edition - Complete Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67117 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Benjamin Grosvenor,  Anna Tilbrook,  Andreas Brantelid  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Balakirev / Béroff, Smith
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 97695 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Mily Balakirev
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Ronald Smith
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    On sale! $11.98
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  • 9.
    Alkan: Grand Sonata Op 33, Etc / Ronald Smith
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64280 Release Date: 10/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Valentin Alkan
    Performer:  Ronald Smith
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  • 10.
    Chopin: Polonaises / Ohlsson, Smith
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76930 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Ronald Smith
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  • 11.
    Rarities Of Piano Music - 1989
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 349 Release Date: 02/03/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Valentin Alkan,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Leopold Godowsky,  Zez Confrey  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Smith,  Michael Ponti,  Marc-André Hamelin,  Jozef De Beenhouwer  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 12.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 Arr. Liszt / Smith
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5013 Release Date: 07/30/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ronald Smith
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