Sunday, April 2, 2017

Benno Moiseiwitsch - Great Pianists, vol. 2

In general, Ward Marston’s transfers for Naxos’ second CD devoted to the great pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch are oriented toward the top-end. The Schumann and Liszt items common to the present reissue and Benno Moiseiwitsch Volume One (Pearl GEMM 9135) have more bottom-end information and room tone in the latter Seth Winner transfers. Ditto for APR’s warmer, plummier-sounding remastering of the 1930 Beethoven Andante Favori. But none of these competing transfers sonically misrepresent the original 78s. Given Naxos’ rock-bottom price, and the amazing piano playing contained on this release, your best bet is to ignore my transfer police blotter.
If you wonder what a piano can do under the hands of an effortless technician with a golden, unforced tone and an aristocratic temperament, start with Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, gussied up with Karl Tausig’s naughty cadenzas and counterlines. Moiseiwitsch’s inspired sprints through Hummel’s E-flat Rondo and Mendelssohn’s E minor Scherzo may not rabble-rouse like Ignaz Friedman’s celebrated versions, but they’re every bit as rollicking and characterful. Moiseiwitsch nonchalantly negotiates Henselt’s finger-twisting etude "Si oiseau j’étais, à toi je volerais !" and adds his own little coda for fun. The aforementioned Beethoven selection may not match Schnabel’s stylish inflection and febrile intensity (on an out-of-print Arabesque CD), but many listeners will respond positively to Moiseiwitsch’s pianistic orientation.
No qualms about Moiseiwitsch’s incandescent Liszt playing, though ! Few other pianists in history have made Liszt’s fiendish arrangement of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture sound so utterly easy to play, or the Third Liebesträume and Second Hungarian Rhapsody so unhackneyed, heartfelt, and natural as breathing. Play the F minor Etude de Concert (La Leggierezza) and you’ll be awestruck by Moiseiwitsch’s controlled freedom, feathery passagework, bass lines that gently soar over the barline, and that delectable Leschetitsky cadenza at the end. This is one of my all-time favorite piano recordings, and I envy anyone hearing it for the first time. Schumann’s Prophet Bird and F-sharp Romance also showcase the pianist’s eloquent lyricism. Note that collectors who’ve already acquired Pearl’s complete Moiseiwitsch acoustic recordings will duplicate that release’s electrical fillers : two Mendelssohn Songs Without Words, Henselt’s "Si oiseau j’étais, à toi je volerais !", and the abbreviated Wagner/Liszt Liebestod. But that matters little. What’s important is that this disc is one that all piano lovers can afford, and no piano lover can afford to miss.
Jed Distler

Source :

Benno Moiseiwitsch
Great Pianists, vol. 2


Johann Nepomuk Hummel

1 Rondo in E-Flat Major, Op. 11 (Rondo Favori)  4:13

Ludwig van Beethoven

2 Andante Favori in F Major, WoO 57 (Andante Favori)  8:42

Carl Maria von Weber

3 Rondo Brillant in D-Flat Major, J. 260 (Invitation to the Dance) (arr. Tausig)  9:19

Robert Schumann

4 Grillen (Fantasiestücke, Op. 12)  3:25
5 Romance for piano in F-Sharp major (n° 2, Einfach), Op. 28 n° 2  3:48
6 Vogels als Prophet (Waldszenen, Op. 82, n° 7)  2:40

Felix Mendelssohn

7 Scherzo in E Minor, Op. 16, n° 2  2:09
8 Song Without Words, n° 3 in 1 Major, Op. 19, n° 3 (Huntig Song)  3:06
9 Song Without Words, n° 22 in F Major, Op. 53, n° 4  2:06

Adolf von Henselt

10 Etude caractéristique, Op. 2, n° 6 ("Si oiseau j’étais...")  1:45

Franz Liszt

11 Etude de concert n° 2 in F Minor (La Leggierezza)  4:05
12 Hungarian Rhapsody, n° 2 in C-Sharp Minor  9:31
13 Liebesträume n° 3 in A-Flat Major  4:27

Richard Wagner

14 Isoldes Liebestod [fragment] (arr. Liszt)  4:30
15 Tannhäuser Overture (arr. Liszt)  15:18


Benno Moiseiwitsch - p

Recorded between December 10, 1925 & October 12, 1941


Melanchthon said...

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thanks a lot Mel

Historicus said...

Thanks a lot for sharing!