WILHELM BACKHAUS The complete pre-War Beethoven recordings

COMPACT DISC 1 (65.57)  
1-3. Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 recorded September 1929 & March 1930 
4-6. Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 73 ‘Emperor’ recorded January 1927
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra conducted by Landon Ronald
COMPACT DISC 2 (76.21)  
1-3. Sonata No 8 in C minor Op 13, ‘Pathétique’ recorded January 1927 
4-6. Sonata No 14 in C sharp minor Op 27 No 2, ‘Moonlight’ recorded November 1934 
7-9. Sonata No. 26 in E flat major, Op 81a, ‘Les Adieux’ recorded November 1934 
10-11. Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 recorded May 1937 
12-13. Prelude and Fugue No 1 in C major, BWV846 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1) recorded May 1937 
14-15. Prelude and Fugue No 22 in B flat minor, BWV867 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1) recorded November 1934 
16. Pastorale from Christmas Oratorio BWV248 (arr. Clarence Lucas) recorded November 1934

Wilhelm Backhaus (1884–1969) left a 60-year recorded legacy which began in 1908, but though known particularly for Beethoven and Brahms in his later years, he performed a much wider repertoire before the war (as seen on the companion set APR6026) and the four sonatas and two concertos included here are the totality of his early Beethoven output. These are nevertheless important recordings – the ‘Emperor’ concerto was only the second ever recording and the first recorded by the ‘electric’ process. The 4th became an instant classic and still stands high among recorded versions. The sonatas benefit from the spontaneity of youth – the didactic and gruff presentation which occasionally afflicts Backhaus’s later complete sonata cycles is little in evidence here. Three of the sonatas were issued with Bach ‘fillers’ and we have included these here to reveal yet another side of Backhaus’ musicianship.

WILHELM BACKHAUS Chopin, Liszt, Schumann & encore pieces
Chopin, Liszt Schumann & encore pieces: HMV recordings 1925-1937   
COMPACT DISC 1 (79.25)   
1. CHOPIN 12 Études Op 10 
13. 12 Études Op 25
25. Prélude in C major Op 28/1; 26. Berceuse in D flat major Op 57  
27. Waltz in E flat major Op 18; 28. Waltz in D flat major Op 64/1 
29. Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor Op 66  
30. MENDELSSOHN/HUTCHESON Scherzo from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’  
31. SMETANA Polka No 3 in F major from Czech Dances  
32. DELIBES/DOHNÁNYI Waltz from ‘Naïla’ (abridged)  
COMPACT DISC 2 (80.44)  
1. MOZART/BACKHAUS Serenade from ‘Don Giovanni’; 
2. SCHUBERT/BACKHAUS Marche militaire in E flat major D733/3  
3. SCHUBERT/LISZT Soirée de Vienne No 6 in A major S427/ 6  
4. LISZT Waldesrauschen, S145/1; 5. Liebesträume No 3 S541/3 
6. Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C sharp minor S244/2  
7. SCHUMANN/LISZT Widmung S566 
8. SCHUMANN Aufschwung No 2 from Fantasiestücke, Op 12; 9. Traumes Wirren No 7 from Fantasiestücke, Op 12  
10. Nachtstück in F major Op 23 No 4
11. Fantasie in C major Op 17  
14. ALBÉNIZ Triana No 3 from Iberia, Book 2 
15. ALBÉNIZ/GODOWSKY Tango Op 165 No 2  
16. MOSZKOWSKI Caprice espagnole Op 37

Wilhelm Backhaus (1884–1969) left a 60-year recorded legacy which began in 1908, but the champion of Beethoven and Brahms we know from his later years performed a much wider repertoire before the war. This set focuses on this more ‘romantic’ repertoire – his Chopin études from 1928 were the first complete recorded cycle and still astonish with their virtuosity. His Schumann Fantasy is another landmark recording, the 78rpm era benchmark, and what a delightful surprise it is to hear him in his own spectacular transcriptions or in works by Albéniz and Moszkowski.

MARIUS-FRANÇOIS GAILLARD The complete Debussy recordings
MARIUS-FRANÇOIS GAILLARD:  Complete Debussy Recordings 
& CARMEN GUILBERT Debussy, Fauré & Ravel

COMPACT DISC 1 (73.10)

Marius-François Gaillard – DEBUSSY (Odéon recordings 1928-1930)

1. Jardins sous la pluie (Estampes, No 3) 

2. Rêverie 

3-4. Deux Arabesques 

5. Reflets dans l’eau (Images, Set I, No 1)

6. La soirée dans Grenade (Estampes, No 2) 

7. La Cathédrale engloutie (Preludes, Book I, No 10) 

8. Ballade

9-11. Pour le piano 

12-15. Preludes, Book 1 – Danseuses de Delphes, La fille aux cheveux de lin, La serenade interrompue, Minstrels

16. Mazurka; 17. La plus que lent 

18-21. Preludes, Book 2 – La Puerta del Vino, General Lavine – exentric, Ondine, Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq., P.P.M.P.C.


COMPACT DISC 2 (76.23)

Marius-François Gaillard – DEBUSSY (Odéon recordings 1928-1930)

1. Masques

2. Pagodes (Estampes, No 1)

3. Valse romantique

4-6. Suite Bergamasque – Prélude, Menuet, Clair de lune


Carmen Guilbert (Pathé recordings 1930-1938)


7. Minstrels (Preludes, Book I, No 12); 8. Bruyères (Preludes, Book II, No 5); 

9-10. Pour le piano – Sarabande, Toccata


11. Impromptu No 2 in F minor, Op 31; 

12. Barcarolle No 6 in E flat major, Op 70; 

13. Nocturne No 3 in A flat major, Op 33, No 3

14. Nocturne No 6 in D flat major, Op 63; 

15. Thème et variations, Op 73

16. RAVEL Alborada del gracioso (No 4 from Miroirs)

This release launches an important new APR series devoted to the French Piano School. For around 150 years France has nurtured a distinctive style of pianism centred on the teaching of the Paris Conservatoire. The heyday of the school was probably the first fifty years of the 20th century and this series of recordings aims to explore in depth the often-forgotten recordings made at this time. Marius-François Gaillard was the first pianist to perform the complete piano works of Debussy in concert, which he did first in 1920, and again in 1922. He subsequently made the recordings featured here, and these were by far the largest body of Debussy piano recordings until the 1930s. As such they give us the closest view of Debussy playing to the composer’s own time and reveal a clarity and objectivity which exemplifies the traditions of French pianism but is somewhat different from the ‘impressionist’ style of Gieseking which was to follow and become the accepted model. Gaillard later pursued a career as a composer and his early recordings were forgotten. To commemorate the 100th anniversary year of Debussy’s death, this is their first reissue. Carmen Guilbert also had a short active career, but as a pupil of Marguerite Long her playing, particularly of Fauré, is important. These are her complete classical recordings, though she also recorded three discs of Billy Mayerl!

FREDERIC LAMOND The Liszt recordings & HMV & Electrola electrical recordings
The complete Liszt recordings  1919–1941 & HMV & Electrola electrical recordings 1926–1936 
COMPACT DISC 1 (79’08) 
1. SCHUBERT/LISZT Erlkönig S558/4, 5 September 1919
2. LISZT Gnomenreigen S145/2, 7 November 1921 
3-5. LISZT Un sospiro S144/3 (three versions), 7 November 1921, 23 November 1925 & 29 March 1927 
6. LISZT Gnomenreigen S145/2 29 March 1927   7. SCHUBERT/LISZT Erlkönig S558/4, 29 March 1927
8. ROSSINI/LISZT Cujus animam S553/1, 4 February 1929   
9. LISZT Sonetto 104 del Petrarca S161/5, 4 February 1929 
10. LISZT Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli, S162, 4 February 1929  
11. LISZT Valse-Impromptu S213, 4 February 1929 
12. AUBER/LISZT Tarantella from ‘La muette de Portici’ S386, 5 February & 12 June 1929  
13. LISZT Feux follets S139/5, 5 February 1929 
14. LISZT Gnomenreigen S145/2, 6 December 1935 15. LISZT Waldesrauschen S145/1, 6 May 1936  
16. LISZT Liebesträume No 3 S541/3, 6 May 1936 17. LISZT Un sospiro S144/3, 6 May 1936  
COMPACT DISC 2 (79’21) 
1. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 8 in C minor Op 13 ‘Pathétique’, 20 October 1926   
4. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 12 in A flat major Op 26 ‘Funeral March’, 8 March 1928   
8. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 14 in C sharp minor Op 27 No 2 ‘Moonlight’, 20 October 1926  
11. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 17 in D minor Op 31 No 2 ‘Tempest’, 14 December 1927 & 8 March 1928  
14. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 23 in F minor Op 57 ‘Appassionata’, 29 March 1927  
COMPACT DISC 3 (79’43) 
1. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 21 in C major Op 53 ‘Waldstein’, 5 March 1930   
4. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 31 in A flat major Op 110, 14 December 1927 & 8 March 1928   
8. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 6 in F major Op 10 No 2 – ii. Allegretto, 29 March 1927  
9. BEETHOVEN Sonata No 18 in E flat major Op 31 No 3 – ii. Scherzo, 5 March 1930 & – iii. Menuetto, 29 March 1927  
11. BEETHOVEN Rondo in G major Op 51 No 2, 6 May 1936 
12. BRAHMS Capriccio in B minor Op 76 No 2, 8 March 1928  
13. CHOPIN Nocturne in A flat major Op 32 No 2, 12 June 1929 
14. RUBINSTEIN Barcarolle No 3 in G minor Op 50 No 3bis, 4 February 1929  
15. GLINKA/BALAKIREV L ’Alouette, 29 March 1927  
16. LISZT Un sospiro S144/3, 16 May 1941 (Decca recording) 
17. LISZT Gnomenreigen S145/2, 16 May 1941 (Decca recording)

This set is a tribute to the great Scottish pianist and Liszt pupil, Frederic Lamond (1868–1948), whose 150th anniversary falls in 2018. He was renowned as a Beethoven interpreter, perhaps the greatest before Schnabel, and his Liszt performances bear the imprimatur of the composer. All the published electrical studio recordings he made, plus the remaining Liszt acoustic ones, are included.

CARLO ZECCHI The complete Cetra solo recordings
The Complete Cetra Recordings 1937-1942 & selected additional 78s  
COMPACT DISC 1 (72.38)  Cetra Recordings, Milan 1937-1942 
1. GALILEI/RESPIGHI Gagliarda (from Antiche danze et arie) 
2. ANONYMOUS/RESPIGHI Siciliana (from Antiche danze et arie)  
3-6. SCARLATTI Sonatas in G major, Kk259; C major, Kk159; D major, Kk96; G major, Kk523  
7-9. VIVALDI/J S BACH Concerto in C Major, BWV 973 
10. J S BACH Prelude and Fugue No 13 in F sharp major, BWV 858  
11. J S BACH/REGER Ich ruf’ zu dir, herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 
12-14.  J S BACH Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D major, BWV 1050 with Arrigo Tassinari (flute) and Gioconda de Vito (violin)
 E.I.A.R. Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fernando Previtali 
15. SCHUBERT Moment musical in A flat, Op 94 No 6 
16-28. SCHUMANN Kinderszenen, Op 15 
COMPACT DISC 2 (76.13)  
1-2. LISZT Paganini Études No 5 in E major, ‘La chasse’ (S141/5) & No 4 in E major, ‘Arpeggio’ (S141/4)  
3. LISZT Étude de concert No 2 in F minor, ‘La leggierezza’ (S144/2) 
4. CHOPIN Waltz No 5 in A flat major, Op 42 
5-7. CHOPIN Mazurkas in A minor, Op 17 No 4; C sharp minor, Op 30 No 4; B minor, Op 33 No 4  
8. CHOPIN Berceuse in D flat major, Op 57 
9. CHOPIN Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op 60 
10. DEBUSSY Poissons d’or (No 3 from Images, Book II)
11. TICCIATI Toccata 
Ultraphone Recordings, Paris 1934/5  
12. SCARLATTI Sonata in A major, Kk113 
13-14. CHOPIN Études in G flat major, Op 10 No 5; F major, Op 10 No 8 
15. CHOPIN Grande Polonaise in E flat major, Op 22
16. RAVEL Alborada del gracioso (No 4 from Miroirs) 
MusTrust Recordings, Moscow 1930  
17. LISZT Étude de concert No 2 in F minor, ‘La leggierezza’ (S144/2) 
18. CHOPIN Ballade No 1 in G minor, Op 23

Carlo Zecchi (1903-1984), studied with both Busoni and Schnabel and had a brief, but meteoric, career as a soloist, before switching in 1942 to conducting, with occasional forays into chamber music. Like his fellow Italians Michelangeli, Vidusso and Fiorentino, he possessed an immaculate technique, which gives his playing a sense of lightness and ease in even the most difficult passages. The recorded Liszt etudes are almost unrivalled in their virtuosity and in Scarlatti and Bach the evenness of his finger-work has to be heard to be believed. But he was a poet and a colourist too, as the more lyrical works of Chopin, and the Debussy Poissons d’or reveal. Sadly, Zecchi’s recorded repertoire is small and this set includes an example of every piano work he recorded on 78s. Long known as a cult pianist to a select few, it is hoped these new transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn will bring his small but priceless legacy of piano recordings to a wider audience.


New releases