Geza Anda,, Troubadour of the Piano, 5 CDs on DGG

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Lance
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Geza Anda,, Troubadour of the Piano, 5 CDs on DGG

Post by Lance » Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:54 am

Geza Anda, pianist
Deutsche Grammophon 477.5289 [5 CDs]

_______________

Collectors of pianists will be delighted to know that Deutsche Grammophon has just issued a 5-CD set of pianist Geza Anda's recordings made between 1942 and 1967. Born in Budapest in 1921, Anda died prematurely in 1976 at the age of 55. His teachers included Dohnanyi and Kodaly at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy where he also won the Liszt Prize in 1940. Among his accomplishments was to be the first to record (conducting from the piano) all of Mozart's piano concertos. He was among the top-shelf of pianists who recorded for DGG in the early- to mid 1960s. He also recorded for EMI Records and was frequently found playing two-piano works with the celebrated Clara Haskil.

Why "Troubador of the Piano?" It was after Anda made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic playing Franck's Symphonic Variations. The conductor, Wilhelm Furtwangler, attached this phrase to his name.

The earliest recordings from the 1940s include:

*Schumann Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 [r. 1943]
*Liszt/Busoni: La Campanella [r. 1942]
*Chopin: Etude in E Minor, Op. 25/5; Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 67/4; Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 68/2 [r. 1943]
*Franck: Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra with
the Concertgebouw Orchestra, van Beinum, conductor [r. May 1943]

Later stereo recordings include:

*Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 with the Berlin PO, Kubelik, conductor [r. 1963]
*Brahms: Piano Concerto #2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 with the Berlin PO,
Fricsay, conductor [r. 1960]
*Bartok: Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 1 with the Berlin Radio SO, Fricsay, conductor [r. 1960]
*Liszt: Concert Study #1 (Forest Murmurs) [r. 1966]
*Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 [r. 1961]
*Schubert: Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. Posth. [r. 1963] [first time on CD]
*Chopin: 24 Preludes, Op. 28 [r. 1959]
*Schumann: Davidsbundlertanze, Op. 6 [r. 1966]
*Schumann: Kreisleriana, Op. 16 [r. 1966]
*Schumann: Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17 [r. 1963]
*Schumann: Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 [r. 1963]

Many original LP cover photos are included and the booklet contains a fine biographical sketch of Anda by Jeremy Siepmann. This is surely another one of these great Univeral Group multi-CD productions we can't be without. Transfers are, as we would expect, first-class, and the box set is budget-priced.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:51 am

Thanks very much for the tip, Lance. His recording of the Schumann "Fantasie in C" is still the best I've ever heard!

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Lance
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Post by Lance » Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:16 pm

Geza Anda is one of those pianists who seems to be falling from memory (he's only been gone since 1976), but I'm sure his time will come again. After traversing this wonderful DG set, I'm finding some extraordinary playing, interpretively and technically. He possessed a wonderfully rich tone and illustrated interpretative ideas that were truly unique to the pianist.

Among his finest recordings pairs him in two concerti with Clara Haskil, Bach's C Major "Double," and Mozart's two-piano concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Galliera's direction. While hard to find, the disc is still supposed to be in the catalogue and is worth having: EMI 63492, both stereo. Most of the LP issues were mono, though I have an old Electrola LP that offered it in stereo. Simply most memorable performances. Their Bach compares most favorably to the legendary Artur and Karl Ulrich Schnabel recording from the 1930s.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:30 pm

A Brahms 2nd concerto with Fricsay? Worth the asking price alone, if their Bartok recordings are anything to go by. Thanks for the heads-up.

herman
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Post by herman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:40 am

Lance wrote:Geza Anda is one of those pianists who seems to be falling from memory (he's only been gone since 1976), but I'm sure his time will come again. After traversing this wonderful DG set, I'm finding some extraordinary playing, interpretively and technically. He possessed a wonderfully rich tone and illustrated interpretative ideas that were truly unique to the pianist.
Not from my memory. I have always liked him a lot (my folks used to have a lot of his records, so I kind of grew up with his Mozart and Davidsbündlertänze and Symphonische Etuden), and have quite a bunch of his recordings - too many perhaps to warrant duplicating them with this box (unless I can snap up a bargain).

Based on the recorded legacy I would say his tone is not very subtle or rich, which is why his Mozart concerti ultimately don't make it to the top rank for me. For me he stands out for a kind of spontaneity, forthrightness and rhythmic acuity which I cannot help but associate with the fifties and sixties.

Please correct me if I'm too wrong. Maybe you have seen him live in concert and his tone was quite different?

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Post by Lance » Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:17 am

herman wrote:
Lance wrote:Geza Anda is one of those pianists who seems to be falling from memory (he's only been gone since 1976), but I'm sure his time will come again. After traversing this wonderful DG set, I'm finding some extraordinary playing, interpretively and technically. He possessed a wonderfully rich tone and illustrated interpretative ideas that were truly unique to the pianist.
Not from my memory. I have always liked him a lot (my folks used to have a lot of his records, so I kind of grew up with his Mozart and Davidsbündlertänze and Symphonische Etuden), and have quite a bunch of his recordings - too many perhaps to warrant duplicating them with this box (unless I can snap up a bargain).

Based on the recorded legacy I would say his tone is not very subtle or rich, which is why his Mozart concerti ultimately don't make it to the top rank for me. For me he stands out for a kind of spontaneity, forthrightness and rhythmic acuity which I cannot help but associate with the fifties and sixties.

Please correct me if I'm too wrong. Maybe you have seen him live in concert and his tone was quite different?
I never had the good fortune to see Anda in concert. I know his work only from records, but as a concert piano technician, my ears are always glued to the quality of tone of a pianist, his piano (of course) and the acoustics of the recording. Just prior to the new DGG release, Scribendum records has issued a four-CD box set of his "Concert Hall" recordings. Not much information is given about the actual dates of the recordings themselves, though I believe them to be from the 1960s. In these recordings, his piano tone is harsh because the instrument is microphoned too closely in my opinion. You can sometimes actually hear the 'twang' of the hammers. DG afforded him a much finer sound quality, epsecially in the Schumann works, the Schubert B-flat Op. Posth sonata, etc. The earliest in the DGG also don't provide a luscious, singing tone, but here I attribute that (in the 1940s) to the recording techniques employed. Anda, for me, does convey considerable sensitivity, his techique is right-on ... and the interpretations are, in my view, not also "standardized." But why make recordings of works if they are all going to sound the same anyway? Also, the pianos used in the mono and stereo recordings are far superior (probably Hamburg Steinways) to the Concert Hall discs. He does offer a rich, sonorous tone in many of his DGG recordings. As far as subtlety in his playing, that's not always one of his hallmarks, at least to me. Spontanaeity he certainly has in abundance, and, as you said, rhythmic acuity.

As for the price, this box set is truly a bargain for all one gets, but maybe you can pick it up at a sale. Personally, I'm delighted to have as much of his recorded repertoire as possible, the EMI and Testament recordings included.

I have his boxed set of the Mozart concerti and some of them (particularly the early concerti) I have enjoyed enormously. I believe he also acts as his own conductor in this DGG set. He was, in the final analysis, a fine, cultured and highly-gifted artist.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the pianist.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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