Friday, September 23, 2016

Ignaz Friedman - Complete Recordings, vol. 4

No less celebrated than Ignaz Friedman’s epic Chopin Mazurka interpretations from September, 1930 are the nine Mendelssohn Songs without Words he set down at the same sessions. They are absolutely amazing, and I don’t think it’s rash to claim that no pianist living or dead comes close to matching Friedman in this repertoire. His soaring poetry, astonishing technique, huge, sumptuous sound, and kick-ass rhythmic sense belie any notion of these works as dainty parlor music. The Op. 19 n° 3 “Hunting Song” is rollicking and impetuous, with the horn call effects wonderfully ablaze. Op. 19 n° 6 shows Friedman’s hammerless legato and genius for textural variety at their apex. Op. 102 n° 5 gets a fleet, straightforward treatment that minimizes the music’s inherent cornyness. Op. 30 n° 6 offers a masterclass (indeed, a doctoral thesis) in melody/arpeggio separation, with possibly the most gorgeous trills ever captured by a recording device, and that includes singers. Similar felicities color Op. 38 n° 2 and n° 2 and 4 from Op. 53, while Op. 67 n° 2’s staccato chords resonate with remarkable lightness and inner drama.

Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata constitutes Friedman’s only recorded chamber music foray. Violinist Bronislaw Huberman’s brusque, slashing sonorities fuel the outer movements’ intensely pointed tempo changes and mood swings. Even the tender, central movement acquires an edgy undercurrent once the variations begin. However, Friedman’s piano is balanced too far back. An alternate take of the opening movement’s first side essentially offers the more familiar take’s performance, but it’s less well played in spots like Huberman’s introductory unaccompanied solo and the in piano arpeggio at measure 36. As for Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody n° 2, Friedman’s all over it, so to speak, in full dramatic, oratory splendor. It’s a pity that he recorded so little Liszt, but then again, what a pity Friedman didn’t record the complete standard piano repertoire! Ward Marston’s transfers capture more of the original 78s than those effected for Philips’ "Great Pianists" series, and they benefit from cleaner copies (especially the Liszt). There’s enough genius pianism on Volume 4 of Naxos’ complete Friedman edition to tide you over until the fifth and final volume.
Jed Distler

Source :

Ignaz Friedman
Complete Recordings, vol. 4


English Columbia 1930-1931

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Songs Without Words
1 Op. 19, n° 3 in A Major  2:04
2 Op. 19, n° 6 in G Major  2:13
3 Op. 1°2, n° 5 in A Major  1:08
4 Op. 30, n° 6 in F-Sharp Minor  3:21
5 Op. 38, n° 2 in C Minor  2:23
6 Op. 38, n° 6 in A-Flat Major  3:15
7 Op. 53, n° 2 in E-Flat Major  2:27
8 Op. 53, n° 4 in F Major  2:50
9 Op. 67, n° 2 in F-Sharp Minor  1:52

Ludwig van Beethoven

Violin Sonata n° 9 in A Major, Op. 47
10 I. Adagio sostenuto. Presto  10:49
11 II. Andante and Variations  12:49
12 III. Finale. Presto  8:07

13 I. Adagio sostenuto. Presto  10:52
[alt. take of side 1]

Franz Liszt

14 Hungarian Rhapsody n° 2  8:51


Ignaz Friedman -p
Bronislaw Huberman - vl [# 10-13]

Recorded between September 17, 1930 & December 17, 1931


Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

This is a treasure, Beethoven's Kreutzer by Friedman and Huberman is priceless. Thanks so much, MM.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you very much (4) Mel