Monday, December 28, 2015

William Kapell Edition

Musicians wept when they heard that William Kapell had died in a plane crash in 1953. Kapell had been en route to California to record the two remaining Brahms Violin Sonatas with Jascha Heifetz (they had done the Third in 1950). Heifetz later refused to record those Sonatas with another pianist. “They belonged to Willy,” he said. And he never did record them again.
In recent years it has been difficult for those who never heard Kapell to find out why such a legend had developed around an American pianist who died at 31. His LPs went out of print, and commonly brought prices of $100 or more when they could be found at all. And until now, RCA had reissued only a few of his recordings on little-publicized CDs.
The label has now made up for lost time in a spectacular way, producing a set that is certain to revive Kapell’s reputation. All of his commercial recordings are here, along with a number of previously unpublished takes and even an interview.
The biggest news is the discovery, in fine sound, of a complete 1953 Frick Collection recital broadcast from New York. Kapell never recorded any of the major works in this recital, which includes a superb performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie, and one piece in particular that his admirers had given up hope of hearing : Copland’s Piano Sonata. Kapell’s playing of this piece had drawn much favorable comment in the music press, and we can now hear why. Copland so admired Kapell’s playing of his Sonata that he was writing his Piano Fantasy for Kapell when the pianist died. It was dedicated to Kapell’s memory.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Kapell is the range of his artistry. He made his early reputation in the 1940’s by playing the big virtuoso concertos of the 20th century. His recordings of concertos by Khachaturian, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninov are still as blazingly intense, virtuosic, and exciting as they seemed years ago. But he could also play Schubert with the greatest tenderness, and Chopin Mazurkas with idiomatic rhythms and lively imagination. His chamber music collaborations, including the Brahms Sonata with Heifetz, are superbly judged and balanced, virtuosos pushing each other towards greater involvement with the music, not towards display or competition.
One special treasure of the set is Debussy’s Children’s Corner, issued complete for the first time. (Half of it came out on an ultra-rare 45.) Kapell’s unpretentious delivery of "Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum" demonstrates his intelligence and his sly, understated humor. The "Golliwog’s Cakewalk" gets the proto-ragtime rhythm just right, as few pianists do, and the brief parody of Wagner in its center might just make you laugh out loud.
And then there’s Kapell’s visionary Bach. All we have is a brief Suite and most of the Partita n° 4. (He never finished recording the final "Gigue".) Had Kapell lived to play and record more Bach performances like these, the release of Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations in 1955 might have come as less of a revelation to listeners. Kapell played Bach with the same kind of clarity and intensity, almost unique among the musicians of his time.
The previously-unpublished interview with Kapell was obviously done for a radio broadcast, not long before his death. It starts out rather stiffly, pianist and interviewer a bit uncomfortable with each other. But before long both of them relax, and Kapell gets to some very insightful and, eventually, quite moving observations on music-making and recording. The personality that comes across in this precious recording is somehow reserved and outgoing simultaneously. You can sense the dedication that Kapell’s colleagues frequently mentioned.
This set does not attempt to include the complete surviving recordings of Kapell. Other material issued on CD by smaller labels (Pearl, Arbiter, Music & Arts) is not duplicated in this set. Nor, alas, is the material once on an LP issued by the International Piano Archives, which included several pieces not currently available anywhere in Kapell’s performances. But to complain would be churlish. This set is a voyage of discovery for piano lovers, beautifully produced and lovingly transfered from the best available source materials. It belongs in any music-lover’s collection.
Leslie Gerber

Source : http://www.lesliegerber.net/writing/reviews/william-kapell-edition/

The
William Kapell
Edition

Tracks

Cd. 1

Frédéric Chopin
(1810-1849)

29 Mazurkas

1 Mazurka n° 2 in C-Sharp minor, Op. 6 n° 2  2:20
2 Mazurka n° 6 in A minor, Op. 7 n° 2  3:14
3 Mazurka n° 9 in C major, Op. 7 n° 5  0:39
4 Mazurka n° 11 in E minor, Op. 17 n° 2  1:53
5 Mazurka n° 12 in A-Flat major, Op. 17 n° 3  4:34
6 Mazurka n° 13 in A minor, Op. 17 n° 4 4:22
7 Mazurka n° 14 in G minor, Op. 24 n° 1  2:40
8 Mazurka n° 16 in A-Flat major, Op. 24 n° 3  1:30
9 Mazurka n° 20 in D-Flat major, Op. 30 n° 3  2:29
10 Mazurka n° 22 in G-Sharp minor, Op. 33 n° 1  1:37
11 Mazurka n° 24 in C major, Op. 33 n° 3  1:29
12 Mazurka n° 25 in B minor, Op. 33 n° 4  5:07
13 Mazurka n° 26 in C-Sharp minor, Op. 41 n° 1  3:19
14 Mazurka n° 27 in E minor, Op. 41 n° 2  2:21
15 Mazurka n° 31 in A-Flat major, Op. 50 n° 2  2:52
16 Mazurka n° 32 in C-Sharp minor, Op. 50 n° 3  4:27
17 Mazurka n° 35 in C minor, Op. 56 n° 3  5:15
18 Mazurka n° 36 in A minor, Op. 59 n° 1 3:48
19 Mazurka n° 37 in A-Flat major, Op. 59 n° 2  2:36
20 Mazurka n° 40 in F minor, Op. 63 n° 2  1:38
21 Mazurka n° 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63 n° 3  1:53
22 Mazurka n° 43 in G minor, Op. 67 n° 2  1:39
23 Mazurka n° 44 in C major, Op. 67 n° 3  1:22
24 Mazurka n° 45 in A minor, Op. 67 n° 4  2:02
25 Mazurka n° 47 in A minor, Op. 68 n° 2  2:24
26 Mazurka n° 48 in F major, Op. 68 n° 3  1:43
27 Mazurka n° 49 in F minor, Op. 68 n° 4  1:51
28 Mazurka in A minor, Op. Posth.  3:35
"Notre temps"
29 Mazurka in B flat major, Op. Posth.  1:19
(1826)

*

William Kapell - p

Recorded at RCA Studios, Hollywood & in Town Hall, New York City ; between December 20, 1951 & June 24, 1952
________
It was a bold move on RCA's part to start their William Kapell collection with a disc of Chopin Mazurkas. Kapell was a notoriously fastidious artist who spent hours and hours and hours perfecting every detail of his interpretations of core repertoire. But not, apparently, the Chopin mazurkas. The story is that he more or less tossed off his performances of the Mazurkas, that he would sit down and sight-read through them with nonchalant sangfroid. Of course, any third-year piano student could sight-read through most of the Chopin Mazurkas : to look at them on paper, they are simple, straightforward Polish dances. But to play them is to go deep into Chopin's poetic Polish heart, a place of warm love and chilly loneliness, of giddy exhilaration and gloomy despair. And these are things that cannot be tossed off. Nor does Kapell toss them off. His interpretations are very free rhythmically ; one rarely gets the sense from Kapell's subtle tempo rubato of the pieces being in strict triple time, but rather of a fluid and fluent mix of duple and triple time. This rhythmic freedom allows Kapell's mazurkas to sing as well as dance. Rarely does one hear such depths from the mazurkas : Kapell's interpretations of the A minor melancholy of Op. 67, n° 4 ; of the A minor lyricism of Op. 59, n° 1 ; and especially of the A minor suicidal desperation of Op. 17, n° 4, are deeply affecting. Nor are Kapell's interpretations all sorrowful : his D-Flat major Op. 30, n° 3, is a tender charmer ; his A-Flat major Op. 50, n° 2, is lissomely seductive; and his F major Op. 68, n° 3, is a sweetly wistful, delicately lilting central section. These are masterful and moving performances.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/chopin-mazurkas-mw0001839571

*

You have to admire RCA for putting out this performance of Chopin's "Funeral March" Sonata recorded in 1953 in Geelong, Australia, of all places. The recorded sound is frankly awful, extremely limited in color and dynamics with a layer of tape hiss as thick as burnt tomato sauce. But since William Kapell is playing and since Kapell left so very little recorded evidence of his playing, RCA decided to release this Funeral March as part of the Kapell Edition, Vol. 2. It was a wise decision. Its sonic flaws aside, this is one of the great recordings of the sonata: brilliantly virtuosic, darkly violent, and utterly despairing. The Grave opening of the first movement is enough to wake the dead with a second theme that longs for life. The Scherzo is truly demonic, skulking, and screaming its rage at life. The "Marche funèbre" itself is dramatic, heroic, lyrical, and not at all histrionic with a coda that'll leave you shuddering. And the pianissimo "Presto" finale is truly a wind across the grave. The rest of the performances on this disc are just as good, but, thankfully, mostly in much better sound. The Chopin Sonata n° 3 is as violent as the Sonata n° 2 with a Finale of diabolical power. While the disc is filled out with smaller pieces that Kapell plays at the same exalted level, the Chopin Waltz in E-Flat is a little stiff and the Nocturne in B-Flat is lovingly sung. Kapell's performance of Mendelssohn's song without words The Shepherd's Complaint sounds better than the piece is, his Schumann Romance is touchingly intimate, and his concluding Mozart "Adagio" is grandly lyrical. Another great volume in the Kapell Edition.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/chopin-sonatas-nos-2-3-mw0001410966

 

Cd. 2

Frédéric Chopin
(1810-1849)

Piano Sonata n° 3 in B minor, Op. 58
1 I. Allegro maestoso  8:44
2 II. Scherzo: Molto vivace  2:21
3 III. Largo  8:54
4 IV. Finale: Presto, non tanto  4:38

5 Waltz for piano n° 1 in E-Flat major, Op. 18  4:51

Piano Sonata n° 2 in B-Flat minor, Op. 35
6 I. Grave - Doppio movimento 5:44
7 II. Scherzo  5:38
8 III. Marche funèbre  6:57
9 IV. Presto  1:30

10 Nocturne for piano n° 1 in B-Flat minor, Op. 9 n° 1  5:37

Felix Mendelssohn
(1809-1847)

11 Song Without Words for piano n° 35 in B minor, Op. 67 n° 5  2:10
"The Shepherd's Complaint"

Robert Schumann
(1810-1856)

12 Romance for piano in F-Sharp major (Einfach), Op. 28 n° 2  4:11

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
13 2. Adagio from Piano Sonata n° 16 in B-Flat major, K. 570  7:47

*

William Kapell - p

Recorded at Town Hall, New York City & RCA Studios, Hollywood, California ; May 19 & 21, 1951 & June 23, 1952 [# 1-4] ; RCA Studios, Hollywood ; June 24, 1952 [# 5] ; in concert in Geelong, Australia ; October 22, 193 [# 6-9] ; in concert at Carnegie Hall, New York City ; February 28, 1945 [# 10] ; at Town Hall ; December 8, 1950 [# 11] ; December 21, 1949 [# 12] ; & March 12, 1953 [# 13]

*

The critical line at the time William Kapell and Fritz Reiner's recording of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was that Kapell "found the modernist in the Rhapsody without betraying Rachmaninov's Romantic heart." Well, maybe. Sure, this Rhapsody's angular and edgy, which might qualify Kapell's interpretation as modernist. And sure, this Rhapsody still got a super-soupy 18th variation, so maybe Kapell's interpretation didn't betray Rachmaninov's Romanticism. But the most interesting thing about Kapell's interpretation was how funny it was. Right from his first entrance — those absurd rising C sharp octaves — Kapell seems to find the humor in the Rhapsody without giving up on either Modernism or Romanticism. And suddenly the Rhapsody seems like a new piece : not a misguided attempt on Rachmaninov's part to write a Modernist work nor a failed attempt to fuse modernism and Romanticism, but a droll, witty parody of Modernism and Romanticism. This might not be interpretively correct, but it sure is funny.
However, this approach doesn't workso well for the Rachmaninov Concerto n° 2, which also appeared on this volume of the Kapell Edition. First, the piece isn't funny ; second, the piece isn't modernist ; third, playing it as if every note counted is a big mistake. In the Rachmaninov n° 2, notes count less than feelings and Kapell seems really passionate only about getting the notes right. The three Shostakovich Preludes that appear as fillers work much better as droll, witty modernist music since they are in fact droll, witty modernist music. Particularly effective is the parody of Chopin's Prelude in C-Sharp minor. Kapell brilliantly catches the work's combination of sarcasm and sentimentality. While not perhaps to all tastes, this is still a great disc.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/rachmaninoff-concerto-no-2-rhapsody-on-a-theme-of-paganini-mw0001836547


Cd. 3

Sergei Rachmaninov
(1873-1943)

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
1 Introduction: Allegro vivace; Variation 1: (Precedente)  0:30
2 Tema: L'istesso tempo  0:18
3 Variation 2: L'istesso tempo  0:17
4 Variation 3: L'istesso tempo  0:23
5 Variation 4: Più vivo  0:26
6 Variation 5: Tempo precedente  0:26
7 Variation 6: L'istesso tempo  1:01
8 Variation 7: Meno mosso, a tempo moderato  1:01
9 Variation 8: Tempo 1  0:31
10 Variation 9: L'istesso tempo  0:29
11 Variation 10: Poco marcato  0:50
12 Variation 11: Moderato  1:18
13 Variation 12: Tempo di minuetto  1:09
14 Variation 13: Allegro  0:26
15 Variation 14: L'istesso tempo  0:40
16 Variation 15: Più vivo scherzando  1:03
17 Variation 16: Allegretto  1:21
18 Variation 17: [Allegretto]  1:35
19 Variation 18: Andante cantabile  2:44
20 Variation 19: A tempo vivace  0:35
21 Variation 20: Un poco più vivo  0:35
22 Variation 21: Un poco più vivo  0:26
23 Variation 22: Un poco più vivo (Alla breve)  1:42
24 Variation 23: L'istesso tempo  0:47
25 Variation 24: A tempo un poco meno mosso  1:16



Piano Concerto n° 2 in C minor, Op. 18
26 I. Moderato: Allegro  9:29
27 II. Adagio sostenuto  10:43
28 III. Allegro scherzando  10:52

29 Prelude for piano n° 1 in C-Sharp minor, Op. 3 n° 2  4:01
"The Bells of Moscow"

Dmitry Shostakovich
(1906-1975)

30 Prelude for piano, in D minor, Op. 34 n° 24  1:12
31 Prelude for piano, in C-Sharp minor, Op. 34 n° 10  1:54
32 Prelude for piano, in D major, Op. 34 n° 5  0:26
"Velocity etude"

*

William Kapell - p
Robin Hood Dell Orchestra, Fritz Reiner - dir. [# 1-25] ; William Steinberg - dir. [# 26-28]

Recorded at Academy of Music, Philadelphia ; June 27, 1951 [# 1-25] ; & July 7, 1950 [#  26-28] ; RCA Studio n° 2, New York City ; March 19, 1945 [# 29] ; & RCA Studio 2 ; December 11, 1944 [# 30-32]

*

You always knew there were a lot of notes in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto n° 3, ever since you heard the Prokofiev recording. But it's a safe bet you never thought there were as many notes as Kapell plays in his performance of the work with Antal Dorati and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra — as many notes or as many loud notes. It's not just the primitive 1949 sound that has Kapell's piano riding over the orchestra like a surfer at Laguna Beach ; Kapell's just that loud. Is this a good thing ? Maybe for the Khachaturian concerto that shares this volume of the Kapell Edition, but not for the Prokofiev. Often described as both athletic and lyrical, Kapell's interpretation sounds more muscle-bound and hard-hearted. While Kapell's performance is extremely impressive in its sheer bravura technique, he misses half the concerto by drawing so much attention to his virtuosity. This approach is fine in the Khachaturian concerto, which, in its outer movements at least, is indeed muscle-bound. But even in Khachaturian's central Andante, Kapell misses the soulful lyricism.
Maybe velocity and volume will do it for you. Maybe it's a mistake to look for lyricism in pieces were there just isn't any lyricism. Or maybe Kapell's performances are truly magnificent in their breathtaking technique. Try it for yourself and decide.
But certainly, if you want to hear breathtaking technique, listen to the last of the three Shostakovich preludes that follow the Khachaturian. In 26 seconds, Kapell plays more notes at a greater velocity than you would have imagined possible. Overall, though, perhaps one of the less-impressive volumes of the Kapell Edition.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/khachaturian-concerto-prokofiev-concerto-no-3-mw0001373225


Cd. 4

Sergei Prokofiev
(1891-1953)

Piano Concerto n° 3 in C major, Op. 26
1 Andante: Allegro  8:17
2 Tema: Andantino  0:51
3 Variation 1: Listesso tempo  1:02
4 Variation 2: Allegro  0:46
5 Variation 3: Allegro moderato (poco meno mosso)  0:57
6 Variation 4: Andante meditativo  2:03
7 Variation 5: Allegro giusto  1:14
8 Tema: Listesso tempo  1:15
9 Allegro ma non troppo  8:50

Aram Khachaturian
(1903-1978)

Piano Concerto in D-Flat major
(also arranged for 2 pianos)
10 I. Allegro maestoso  15:10
11 II. Andante con anima  10:51
12 III. Allegro brillante  9:38

Dmitry Shostakovich
(1906-1975)

13 Prelude for piano, in E-Flat minor, Op. 34 n° 14  2:15
"Zoya prelude"
14 Prelude for piano, in C-Sharp minor, Op. 34 n° 10  1:45
15 Prelude for piano, in D major, Op. 34 n° 5  0:25
"Velocity etude" 

*

William Kapell - p
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Antal Dorati - dir. [# 1-9]
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky - dir. [# 10-12]

Recorded at State Fair Music, Dallas, Texas ; January 7, 1949 ; Symphony Hall, Boston ; April 19, 1946 ; & RCA Studio 2, New York City ; March 19, 1945

*

What's all the hubbub, bub ? Why'd everybody seem to think that William Kapell was such hot stuff back there in the early '50s ? Why'd everybody mourn his death at the age of 31 in 1953 ? Why did RCA honor Kapell the same way they honored Horowitz and Rubenstein by putting out a William Kapell edition ? And was Kapell so bloody great that every single thing he ever recorded, no matter how small and how obscure, is included in the Kapell Edition ?
Yep, Kapell was that bloody great. In this the fifth volume of the Kapell Edition, Kapell takes some of the most unlikely repertoire and makes it sound like just about the greatest music ever written for the piano. The disc opens with a Beethoven Concerto n° 2, which Kapell recorded with Vladimir Golschmann when he was 24. The young Kapell takes a piece that even Beethoven thought wasn't all that hot and plays it as if it's a masterpiece. With a performance of fire and passion, of control, and above all of blinding virtuosity, Kapell transforms the Concerto n° 2 into a masterpiece.
At least the concerto is a big work ; the rest of the disc is filled with some of the smallest and slightest works ever written for the piano. There are ten dinky dances by Schubert, plus one impromptu ; a short romance by Schumann; a tender little intermezzo by Brahms; and three super-duper virtuoso pieces by Liszt. Maybe the Liszt is the disc's pièce de résistance, and maybe Kapell's performances are of the transcendental variety of virtuosity but Kapell's interpretations of the Schubert dances are truly transcendental. He takes tiny little pieces and turns them into works of sublime genius and that's what's the hubbub, bub.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/beethoven-concerto-no-2-mw0001820411


Cd. 5

Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770-1827)

Piano Concerto n° 2 in B-Flat major, Op. 19
1 I. Allegro con brio  13:33
2 II. Largo  8:45
3 III. Rondo: Allegro scherzando  5:28

Franz Schubert
(1797-1828)

4 Moment musical for piano in F minor, D. 780 n° 3, Op. 94 n° 3  2:07
"Air russe"
5 Waltz n° 2 in B major, D. 145 n° 2  0:50
6 Waltz n° 6 in B minor, D. 145 n° 6  1:09
7 Waltz n° 26 in E major, D. 365 n° 26  0:39
8 Waltz n° 32 in F major, D. 365 n° 32  1:03
9 German Dance n° 6 in B-Flat, D 783 n° 6  0:36
10 German Dance n° 7 in B-Flat major, D 783 n° 7  0:46
11 Waltz n° 34 in F major, D 783 n° 7  0:49
12 Ländler n° 1 in G major, D. 734 n° 1  1:01
13 Ländler n° 2 in D major, D. 734 n° 2   0:40
14 Impromptu for piano in A-Flat major, D. 935 n° 2 (Op. posth. 142 n° 2)  7:21

Robert Schumann
(1810-1856)

15 Romance for piano in F-Sharp major (Einfach), Op. 28 n° 2  3:32

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

16 Intermezzo for piano in E major, Op. 116 n° 6  3:11

Franz Liszt
(1811-1886)

17 Sonetto del Petrarca n° 104 (Pace non trovo; II) for piano  6:48
(Années II n° 5), S. 161 n° 5 (LW A55 n° 5)
18 Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano n° 11 in A minor, S. 244 n° 11 (LW A132 n° 11)  5:14
19 Mephisto Waltz (I & II), for piano n° 1  9:51
(Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke), S. 514 (LW A189)

*

William Kapell - p
NBC Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Golschmann - dir.

Recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York City ; June 24, 1946 ; at Town Hall, New York City ; December 21, 1949 [# 4] ; March 1953 [# 14] ; & May 19, 1951 [# 18] ; at RCA Studios, Hollywood, California ; July 3, 1952 [# 4-13] ; at RCA Studio 2, New York City ; January 7, 1947 [# 15] ; at RCA Studio 2 ; April 27, 1945 [# 16] ; August 22, 1947 [# 17] ; & March 19, 1945 [# 19]

*

There aren't many pianists who get to have a complete set of everything they ever recorded released by RCA. Horowitz, Rachmaninov, Rubinstein, and Kapell are the only ones. And the kicker is, Kapell recorded very, very little because his life was so very, very short. But so great is Kapell's reputation that every scrap he ever recorded is considered worth releasing on RCA's Kapell Edition. Most of what's on volume six certainly is. No lover of great piano playing could be anything other than grateful for the release of Kapell's crystalline recording of Bach's Partita in D major, one of the most serene and seraphic recordings ever made. And few lovers of great piano playing could be anything but disappointed that there is only one magnificently sculpted movement of Kapell's performance of Mozart's Sonata in B-Flat, K. 570, and one evocative movement of Albéniz's Iberia. But many lovers of great piano playing will be disappointed that Kapell wasted his precious time performing such lightweight works as Abram Chasins' Piano Playtime and such bravura balderdash as Robert Palmer's faux-Prokofiev Toccata ostinato. And perhaps only a few could object to Kapell's playing of Debussy's Children's Corner Suite, but honestly, Kapell's performance is unbearably cold and unfeeling. It's too fast, too charmless, too hard, too sharp, and far too humorless. But even those few would concede that Kapell's playing is certain to thrill lovers of great piano playing.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/bach-partita-no-4-suite-in-a-minor-debussy-childrens-corner-mw0001357011


Cd. 6

Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750)

Partita for keyboard n° 4 in D major, BWV 828
1 Ouverture  6:38
2 Allemande  7:40
3 Courante  3:48
4 Aria  2:33
5 Sarabande  4:54
6 Menuet  2:03

Suite for keyboard in A minor, BWV 818
7 Allemande  2:36
8 Courante  1:06
9 Sarabandes 1 & 2  3:42
10 Gigue  1:08
Domenico Scarlatti
(1685-1757)

11 Sonata for keyboard in E major, K. 380 (L. 23)  3:26
"Cortège"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)

Piano Sonata n° 16 in B-Fat major, K. 570
12 II. Adagio  6:19
Isaac Albéniz
(1860-1909)

Iberia Suite for piano, B. 47, Book 1
13 Evocación  4:26

Abram Chasins
(1903-1987)

Piano Playtime
14 N° 1: Waltz of the Rainbow (To Carol)  1:39
15 N° 4: By the Brook (To "Butten")  1:35
16 N° 5: Dancing Bagpipes (To David)  0:49
17 N° 6: Tricky Trumpet (To Bobby)  1:39

Claude Debussy
(1862-1918)

Children's Corner, suite for piano
(or orchestra), L. 113
18 Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum  2:00
19 Jimbo's Lullaby  3:11
20 Serenade for the Doll  2:32
21 The Snow Is Dancing  2:19
22 The Little Shepherd  2:34
23 Golliwog's Cakewalk  2:56

Robert Moffat Palmer
(1915-2010)

24 Sonata for piano n° 3  2:07
Toccata ostinato


William Kapell - p

Recorded at Town Hall, New York City ; December 18, 1952 & March 10/12, 1953 [# 1-6] ; December 21, 1949 [# 11 & 12] ; December 20 & 21, 1950 & June 4, 1951 [# 18-23] ; at RCA Studio 2, New York City ; January 7, 1947 [# 7-10] ; RCA Studios, Hollywood ; June 24 & 25, 1952 [# 14-17] ; at RCA Studio 2 ; April 27, 1945 [# 13] ; in Concert, Carnegie Hall, New York City ; March 21, 1947 [# 24]

*

One of the more disingenuous lines of ad copy attached to RCA's Kapell Edition has got to be that "[Kapell] was able to attract the finest artists to him." Well, sure, but it probably didn't hurt that the artists Kapell "attracted" were also under contract to RCA. And while no one would argue with a description of violinist Jascha Heifetz or violist William Primrose as being among the finest artists, cellist Edmund Kurtz might not rank among everybody's short list.
Be that as it may, the Kapell-Primrose collaboration on the Brahms Viola Sonata in F minor is beyond all argument, superb. Primrose plays the piece with a warm-hearted tone and open-hearted interpretation, and Kapell doesn't so much follow Primrose as wrap himself around him like a comfortable sweater. Less convincing is the Kapell-Heifetz performance of the Brahms Violin Sonata in D minor, especially if you have an antipathy toward Heifetz's playing in general and his Brahms playing in particular. Heifetz is simply too hard-hearted and unyielding for Brahms. And Kapell himself seems uncomfortable with Heifetz's interpretation: rather than a comfortable sweater, Kapell sounds like a too-tight straitjacket.
The surprise of this volume of the Kapell Edition is Edmund Kurtz. While not in the same league as RCA's house cellist Piatgorsky, Kurtz turns in a driven yet expansive performance of the Rachmaninov Cello Sonata. Together with Kapell's vigorous piano playing, Kurtz turns in nearly as fine a performance of the Rachmaninov as is imaginable. One of the more interesting volumes in the Kapell Edition.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/brahms-violin-sonata-no-3-viola-sonata-no-1-rachmaninoff-cello-sonata-mw0001819020


Cd. 7

Sergei Rachmaninov
(1873-1943)

Sonata for cello and piano in G minor, Op. 19
1 I. Lento - Allegro moderato  9:10
2 II. Allegro scherzando  6:13
3 III. Andante  5:38
4 IV. Allegro mosso - Meno mosso - Moderato - Più vivo  9:50

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

Sonata for clarinet (or viola) & piano n° 1 in F minor, Op. 120 n° 1
5 I. Allegro appassionato  6:47
6 II. Andante un poco adagio  5:38
7 III. Allegretto grazioso  3:55
8 IV. Vivace  4:36

Sonata for violin & piano n° 3 in D minor, Op. 108
9 I. Allegro  7:10
10 II. Adagio  4:24
11 III. Un poco presto e con sentimento  2:42
12 IV. Presto agitato  5:06

Personnel
William Kapell - p
Edmund Kurtz - cel [# 1-4]
William Primrose - vl [# 5-8]
Jasha Heifetz - vl [# 9-12]

Recorded at RCA Studio 2, New York City ; April 23 & 24, 1947 [# 1-4] ; May 7, 1946 [# 5-8] ; & at RCA Studios, Hollywood ; November 29 & 30, 1950 [# 9-12]

*

Most of the recordings on RCA's William Kapell Edition have seen the light of day before, albeit usually in less polished sound, but this 1953 recital from the Frick Collection in New York has never been issued before. Although edition performances up to this point featured fine remastered sound, this recital was the real revelation of the Kapell Edition. For as amazing as Kapell's other performances had been, this Frick recital is simply astounding.
It starts well enough with what must be the definitive recording of Aaron Copland's drowsy Piano Sonata, gets better with a couple of short but effective Chopin performances, turns on the heat for a sizzling "Polonaise-Fantaisie" -- and then Kapell really gets going. There have been several great recordings of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition in the world : Horowitz's slam-dunk performance, Richter's take-no-prisoners performance, and maybe one or two others. And now there is Kapell's, a performance as exciting as Horowitz's but less haughty, as magisterial as Richter's but with fewer dropped notes, a performance of staggering virtuosity and stunning insights, and a performance that can meet Mussorgsky's impossible technical requirements and find the musical heights and depths in every note and the unity in the whole. If Kapell had left no recordings but this Pictures, he would still be one of the great pianists of the twentieth century. The two encores are short but sweet: a tender slice of Kinderszenen and a tart bite of Scarlatti. As great a piano recital as has ever been recorded ; sublime.
James Leonard

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/album/frick-collection-recital-mw0001363553


Cd. 8

Aaron Copland
(1900-1990)

Piano Sonata
(1941)
1 I. Molto moderato  7:40
2 II. Vivace  4:37
3 III. Andante sostenuto  8:49

Frédéric Chopin
(1810-1849)

4 Nocturne for piano n° 5 in F-Sharp major, Op. 15 n° 2  5:00
5 Mazurka for piano n° 24 in C major, Op. 33 n° 3  1:32
6 Polonaise-Fantasy for piano n° 7 in A-Flat major, Op. 61  12:47

Modest Mussorgsky
(1839-1881)

Pictures at an Exhibition
7 Promenade  1:28
8 The Gnome  2:14
9 Promenade  0:51
10 Il vecchio castello / The Old Castle  3:58
11 Promenade  0:28
12 Tuileries  0:51
13 Bydlo  2:28
14 Promenade  0:41
15 Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks  1:04
16 Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle  2:02
17 Promenade  1:24
18 Limoges - The Market  1:11
19 Catacombs (Sepulchrum romanum)  1:28
20 Con mortis in lingua mortua  1:41
21 The Hut on Fowl's Legs  3:01
22 The Great Gate at Kiev  4:18

Robert Schumann
(1810-1856)

23 Kinderszenen n° 1 ("Von fremden Ländern und Menschen"), Op. 15 n° 1  1:52

Domenico Scarlatti
(1685-1757)

24 Sonata for keyboard in E major, K. 380 (L. 23)  3:17
"Cortège"

William Kapell - p

Recorded in concert, at he Frick Collection, New York City ; March 1, 1953

*


Cd. 9

Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750)

Partita for keyboard n° 4 in D major, BWV 828
1 Allemande [beginning]  2:18

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(176-1791)

Piano Sonata n° 10 in C major, K. 330
2 I. Allegro moderato [beginning]  1:51

Frédéric Chopin
(1810-1849)

Piano Sonata n° 3 in B minor, Op. 58
3 I. Allegro maestoso [beginning]  3:59
4 IV. Largo  9:28

5 Mazurka for piano n° 12 in A-Flat major, Op. 17 n° 3  4:31

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

Sonata for violin & piano n° 3 in D minor, Op. 108
6 II. Adagio  4:38

Felix Mendelssohn
(1809-1847)

7 Song Without Words for piano n° 34 in C major ("Spinnerlied"), Op. 67 n° 4  1:42

8 Interview with William Kapell  22:05

*

William Kapell - p
Jasha Heifetz - vl [# 6]

Recorded at Town Hall, New York Cty ; December 20, 1951 # 1 & 2] ; December 21, 1949 [# 3 & 4] ; December 27, 1951 [# 5] ; RCA Studios, Hollywood ; November 29 & 30, 1950 [# 6] ; at... home ; c. 1947 [# 7] ; in New York City ; March 1953 [# 8]

15 comments:

glinka21 said...

Wow. Quite the set. Thank you placing it up here. This will help fill some holes in my own Kapell collection nicely.

You realize that during the 50s, Kapell, conductor Guido Cantelli, and violinists Ginette Neveu and Jacques Thibaud, all died in plane crashes? And arguably with the exception of Thibaud, irreplaceable.

mel said...

Few people will remember that Kapell's recording of the theme from The Story Of Three Loves (MGM, 1953) with Fritz Reiner and the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra (actually a truncated version of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini) became a hit record. He had previously recorded the complete work on V-Discs in 1956.

glinka21 said...

I think you may mean The Love for Three Oranges suite, from the opera by Prokofiev.

chuchuni said...

I did not know about that hit record. Many thnaks for this beautiful set, Mel.

mel said...

@ glinka21

No, and to be more precise, it was the eighteenth variation from Rachmininov's Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, and when the film The Story Of Three Loves came out in 1953 many pianists and orchestras recorded it. It became very popular. Kapell's recording was the most popular of all, and actually appeared on the hit parades of the day - quite a feat for a classical work.

By the way, just in case it's not clear, I am not Melanchthon.

Giuseppe Fiorido said...

any chance of re-up? Please!

NanFiled said...

Could you re-upload them?Thanks

roberth said...

thanks for these i didn't get them all the first time. i love the mazzurkas. could you reupload cd2 and cd3. i have been lsitening alot to the ones i did get. thanks
robert

Stu Blag said...

Could re up load CD 4 when you have time.Thanks for your work.

Unknown said...

Hello,

would you be able to reupload the CD's? Thank you!

Melanchthon said...

artwork
http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/XzLa7jVH/file.html
http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/9F7BRM4E/file.html

Cd. 1
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/v0jdvTz3/file.html
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/e64gF31P/file.html
Cd. 2
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/Fs0WSkGC/file.html
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/wtRHY17X/file.html
Cd. 3
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/ZZXFUbB2/file.html
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/cDbaBggl/file.html
Cd. 4
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/clSKGe8e/file.html
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/BK6CPd5e/file.html
Cd. 5
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/IFKUmj6e/file.html
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/2Ma26i2x/file.html
Cd. 6
http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/dwxkkfCb/file.html
http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/H3GjvAKD/file.html
Cd. 7
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/jFuYFaI0/file.html
http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/LCvT0HqU/file.html
Cd. 8
http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/ysZPJBnP/file.html
http://www74.zippyshare.com/v/tKeKTvSV/file.html
Cd. 9
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/BSWKWz3h/file.html
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/nD8JEMWh/file.html

FEM said...

First: many many thanks for your treasures!
Sadly in CD3 (Rachmaninoff-Shostakovich) track 28 is missing: if you could kindly provide...
Happy New Year.

Melanchthon said...

cd. 3, track 28

http://www39.zippyshare.com/v/A38ZvU9t/file.html

roberth said...

hey thank you so much. i love his playing of bach and chopin especially.
i had a scratched vinyl copy of the bach. but totally appreciate it without those crackles. thanks again
robert

FEM said...

Many thanks!!!!