Sunday, October 30, 2016

Benno Moiseiwitsch Plays Schumann, Grieg & Palmgren

Benno Moiseiwitsch was one of the most eloquent and aristocratic of Romantic pianists, and his recordings have garnered recent attention from reissue firms like Arbiter, Pearl, APR, and Testament. By the 1950s, however, Moiseiwitsch’s imposing technique had lost some of its dash and scintillation, as borne out in this long-out-of-print 1953 Schumann Concerto. To be sure, the pianist makes beautiful sounds, and the music’s inherent lyricism spins out in unhurried paragraphs. But there’s a lack of vitality and thrust, exaggerated perhaps by poorly balanced engineering that shoves the piano in the background. The Grieg Concerto fares much better on the pianist’s part, and Otto Ackermann elicits more disciplined, alert playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra. While the overall pace is slower compared to Moiseiwitsch’s 1941 recording (reissued on APR), the soloist has more breathing room here. As Bryce Morrison points out in his booklet notes, Moiseiwitsch dolls up the first movement cadenza’s harmonies and textures near the end. Schumann’s F-sharp Romance and Vogel als Prophet date from Moiseiwitsch’s prime recording years in the early 1940s, and enjoy their quietest transfers to date. Likewise, a pair of delightful bon-bons by Selim Palmgren are served on an elegant musical featherbed. Let’s hope that APR or Testament will now bring us Moiseiwitsch’s post-war Chopin Preludes, never reissued complete.
Jed Distler

Source :

Benno Moiseiwitsch


Robert Schumann

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 
1 I. Allegro affettuoso — Andante espressivo — Allegro  14:32
2 II. Intermezzo Andante grazioso  5:32
3 III. Allegro vivace  10:32

Edvard Grieg

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
4 I. Allegro molto moderato  12:28
5 II. Adagio  6:07
6 III. Allegro marcato  9:48

Robert Schumann

7 Romance for piano in F-Sharp major (n° 2, Einfach), Op. 28 n° 2  3:53
8 Waldszenen n° 7 ("Vogel als Prophet"), for piano, Op. 82 n° 7  2:44

Selim Palmgren

9 Refrain de Berceau  3:00
10 West Finnish Dance, Op.31 n° 5  1:37


Benno Moiseiwitsch - p
Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Ackermann - dir [# 1-6]

Recorded at Abbey Road Studio n° 3, London ; September 8 & 9, [# 1-3] & 9 & 10, 1953 [# 4-6] ; May 13, 1941 [# 8] ; & November 10, 1941 [# 9 & 10] ; & at Holdworth Hall, Manchester ; October 23, 1941 [# 7]


chuchuni said...

New to me, thanks Mel.

Juan said...

Hi! Excellent post, as always. But links are dead. Could you please upload the files again? Thank you very much!

Daniele said...

I saw you updated and added various Moisewitsch recs, so maybe you could renovate this as well as asked by Juan? It would be highly appreciated by me as well! Thanks.


JLJ said...

Could you please reupload this Moiseiwitsch and also:
Benno Moiseiwitsch - The Complete Acoustic Recordings (1916-1930).

Many thanks in advance,

Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

Never enough Benno, thaks so much MM!