Thursday, November 2, 2017

Benno Moiseiwitsch - The Complete Acoustic Recordings (1916-1930)

Among recent Benno Moiseiwitsch reissues, the present release from Pearl is the most unusual yet systematic of the crop. It contains all of his acoustic recordings, dating from 1916 to 1925 when the emerging pianist was in his 20s and 30s. These discs are contemporaneous with early phonographic efforts by Hofmann, Rachmaninov, Busoni, Cortot, Grainger, Backhaus, and other keyboard eminences, and clearly reveal that Moiseiwitsch held his own among older, more established colleagues. Where do you begin to describe the numerous musical and pianistic felicities here ? Try, for starters, the perfectly-spaced rubatos and revelatory inner lines throughout the pianist’s supple Brahms B minor Capriccio (Op. 76 n° 2). Or listen to the easy ebb and flow of his passagework, blissfully liberated from the tyranny of the barline, in the Chopin/Liszt My Joys, the Chopin F-sharp Impromptu, and Schumann/Liszt Frühlingsnacht (the latter is more songful and relaxed than Josef Lhevinne’s famous electrical traversal). And what stupefyingly quick, feathery, and crystalline unison runs he achieves in Selim Palmgren’s Bird Song and The Sea. Rarely has Scriabin’s Nocturne for the left hand emerged with such freshly delineated textures : it sounds as if two hands on two separate pianos are involved !
Moiseiwitsch was not one to play by the book, and astute listeners will notice and hopefully delight in the pianist’s textual emendations at times, such as those in the Chopin E minor Nocturne Op. 72 n° 1, or that sparkling coda he adds to Henselt’s knuckle-busting etude If I Were a Bird. There are a few selections Moiseiwitsch re-recorded more effectively in the electric era, like Debussy’s Jardins sous la pluie and Ravel’s Jeux d’eau. Conversely, the pianist’s acoustic Chopin C minor prelude is relatively straight and unadorned next to the one in his complete 1948 traversal of the Op. 28 Preludes. An interesting textual sidebar : the 1948 C-minor Prelude incorporates the “traditional” E-natural on the final beat of measure three, while the acoustic version sports the “controversial” E-flat favored by latter-day Urtext practitioners like Claudio Arrau.
Producer Donald Manildi adds a generous bonus in the form of some of the pianist’s rarest early electrical sides. These include a Wagner/Liszt Liebestod (minus its opening measures) spun out in lyrical, independent lines and a Scarlatti-Tausig Pastorale and Capriccio with ravishing legato that melts in your mouth. Here also is the first and still best recording of Abram Chasins’ once-popular Rush Hour in Hong Kong–so feathery, fleet, and nonchalant. Seth Winner’s transfers are generally clear and clean. Comparing the present transfer of the acoustic Mendelssohn G minor Concerto to Winner’s earlier Pearl transfer (Benno Moiseiwitsch Volume 1, GEMM 9135), I found the earlier refurbishing noisier yet with more room tone and pedaling details. The differences, to be sure, are ultimately inconsequential given the built-in sonic limitations of acoustic orchestral recordings ; but they are there. All in all, a set that no Moiseiwitsch lover and historic piano recording enthusiast should ignore.
Jed Distler

Source :

Benno Moiseiwitsch
The Complete Acoustic Recordings


Cd. 1

Louis-Claude Daquin

1 Le Coucou, rondeau in E minor (Pièces de clavecin, Suite n° 3)  2:00

Claude Debussy

2 Jardins sous la pluie (from Estampes)  3:15

Frédéric Chopin

3 Berceuse in D-Flat major, Op. 57  4:00

Maurice Ravel

4  Jeux d'eau  4:19

Johannes Brahms

5 Capriccio in B minor, Op. 76 n° 2  3:09

Frédéric Chopin
[transcr. Liszt]

6 Meine Freuden (after Chopin, Op. 74 n° 12, Chants polonais n° 5), S. 480 n° 5  4:11

Alexander Scriabin

7 Nocturne in D-Flat major (for left hand alone), Op. 9 n° 2  4:21

Claude Debussy

8 Clair de lune (Suite Bergamasque n° 3)  4:15

Selim Palmgren

9 Bird Song  1:04
10 The Sea, Op. 17 n° 12  1:40

Frédéric Chopin

11 Prelude in C minor, Op. 28 n° 20  1:28
12 Waltz in D flat major ('Minute'), Op. 64 n° 1  1:34

Jean-Philippe Rameau

13 Gavotte & Doubles in A minor (Nouvelles suites)  3:57

Domenico Scarlatti
[arr. Tausig]

14 Pastorale in E minor  2:25
15 Capriccio  1:51

Claude Debussy

16 Minstrels (from Preludes, n° 12)  2:12

Franz Schubert
[transcr. Liszt]

17 Ständchen (Horch, horch! die Lerch) (after Schubert, D. 889), S. 558 n° 9  3:04

Frédéric Chopin

18 Waltz n° 11 in G-Flat major, Op. 70 n° 1  2:15
19 Waltz n° 11 in G-Flat major, Op. 70 n° 1  2:16
20 Impromptu in F-Sharp major, Op. 36  4:44

Carl Maria von Weber

21 Piano Sonata n° 1 in C major ('Perpetuum Mobile'), Op. 24
Finale. Moto perpetuo  3:44

Selim Palmgren

22 West Finnish Dance, Op. 31 n° 5  1:35

Theodor Leschetizky

23 Arabesque en forme d'Etude, Op. 45 n° 1  1:41

Frédéric Chopin

24 Impromptu for piano in F-Sharp major, Op. 36  4:34

Léo Delibes

25 Passepied (from Le Roi s'amuse 'Six airs de danse dans le style ancien')  1:40

Moritz Moszkowski

26 Etude, Op. 52 n° 4 'La jongleuse'  1:42


Cd. 2

Modest Mussorgsky

1 Gopak, (from the opera 'Sorochintsï Fair')  1:33

Robert Schumann

2 Traumeswirren (from Fantasiestücke, Op. 12)  2:48

Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein

3 Barcarolle in F minor, Op. 30 n° 1  4:18

Frédéric Chopin

4 Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 n° 1  4:02
5 Mazurka in A minor 'Notre temps', Op. Posth.  2:56

Robert Schumann
[transcr. Liszt]

6 Frühlingsnacht (after Schumann Op. 39 n° 12), S. 568  2:40

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

Concerto n° 1 in G Minor, Op 25

7 I. Molto allegro e vivace  7:21
8 II. Andante  6:31
9 III. Presto: Molto allegro e vivace  6:04

Adolf von Henselt

10 If I Were a Bird (from Études caractéristiques, Op. 2 n° 6)  1:44

Abram Chasins

11 Flirtation in a Chinese Garden  2:06
12 Rush Hour in Hong Kong  1:19

Domenico Scarlatti
[arr. Tausig]

13 Pastorale in E minor  3:15
14 Capriccio for piano  2:40

Jacques Ibert

15 The Little White Donkey (from 'Histoires' n° 2)  1:53

Selim Palmgren

16 Rococo  2:51

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

17 Song Without Words for piano n° 22 in F major, Op. 53 n° 4  3:07
18 Song Without Words for piano n° 21 in G minor, Op. 53 n° 3  2:05

Richard Wagner
[transcr. Liszt]

19 Isoldens Liebestod (Schlußszene aus 'Tristan und Isolde'), S. 447  4:29

Johann Nepomuk Hummel

20 Rondo in E-Flat major 'Favori', Op. 11  4:12


Benno Moiseiwitsch - p
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra/Sir Landon Ronald - dir. [Cd. 2, # 7-9]

Recorded between April 13, 1916 & February 3, 1930

See the complete artwork


Anonymous said...

Dear Mel - I can not thank you enough for Benno. His music lives in my heart, he was unique.

woland said...

Thank you. I love Moiseiwitsch, one of the giants of 20th century piano.

Unknown said...

Amazing. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

What's the file type here though? I've been downloading but unable to open/unstuff these more recent posts... They aren't .rar or .zip... What are they?
Thanks much for any help...

glinka21 said...

An under-rated master. I don't think the UK realized what a great pianist they had living there after WWII; they just simply accepted him as a good emigre performer. But Rachmaninoff considered him in some respects a better interpreter of his own music than the composer.

Li Jianmin said...

Could you upload this set? Thanks.

JLJ said...

Yes, please reupload this set.
Many thanks in advance

rev.b said...

Once more reup? Please? thx.

Melanchthon said...

blissedout said...

Thanks for the magnificent Moiseiwitsch, Mel