Vlado Perlemuter's Chopin

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Lance
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Vlado Perlemuter's Chopin

Post by Lance » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:41 pm

Those of you who know most of the late Vlado Perlemuter's pianistic art from his Nimbus recordings are, in my opinion, not getting the full and true picture of his pianism. Like most of Nimbus's piano recordings made at their "castle" in England, the acoustics weren't too kind nor realistic for the piano. The sound simply didn't breathe. Even Cherkassky's many recordings are deficient in the kind of piano tone he produced.

Comes now this fairly new Scribendum 2-CD set [SC-015] featuring Chopin's 14 Waltzes, and 15 Preludes from Chopin's Op. 28. All the recordings on this disc are "The Concert Hall Recordings," much loved and enjoyed when issued on LPs. This is the Perlemuter sound that I cherish. The Preludes, recorded by Radio Suisse Romande in Geneva in 1960, are absolutely exquisite. Feast your ears on the Prelude No. 13 in F# Minor (Lento). This is some of the most liquid and refined playing I've heard from Perlemuter. All of the Preludes and Waltzes have something special to offer. The pianist was 56 years of age at the time this recording was made. He was at the peak of his interpretive powers.

Annotator Jon Page writes: "[Perlemuter's] Chopin performances seemed unique; there were simple and conceived structurally. Despite a concentration on the larger pattern, the details were not lost; they simply gained from the imporant things being put first. These details gradually came to seem natual and inevitable and it is this uniqueness that enables one to listen again and again."

Ovation magazine said of Perlemuter: "[He] plays with such depth that something new about Chopin's music seems to be revealed on each listening."

Disc two includes Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto recorded in Vienna in 1960 with the Vienna Festival Orchestra conducted by Christian Vöchting.

For those that may not know, Vlado Perlemuter passed away at the age of 98 in September 2002.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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herman
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Post by herman » Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:19 am

I never liked the Nimbus sound either; I think they did Perlemutter a real disservice recording the Chopin in that swimmy sound.

Those Waltzes look interesting. Do you have any idea how the Preludes compare to V.P.'s 1972 BBC Legends recording, Lance? The Preludes are a work of never-ending fascination.

Lance
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Post by Lance » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:15 am

herman wrote:I never liked the Nimbus sound either; I think they did Perlemutter a real disservice recording the Chopin in that swimmy sound.

Those Waltzes look interesting. Do you have any idea how the Preludes compare to V.P.'s 1972 BBC Legends recording, Lance? The Preludes are a work of never-ending fascination.
Herman: so far, I've found any recording made outside of Nimbus's studios by Perlemuter—in a seemingly more natural acoustic—to capture his singing tone, making it more appealing to the ears when his music can breathe.

In using the Prelude No. 13 as an aural test between the Scribendum recording (made in 1960 by the 56-year-old pianist) vs. the BBC 1972 issue [4138] when he was 68, there seems to generally be more emphasis on the left hand thus not allowing the melodic line of the right to emerge as beautifully as it might. However, you get the whole set of 24 Preludes in the BBC recording vs. only 15 in the Scribendum "Concert Hall" recordings. Personally, I favor what Perlemuter does in the Scribendum issue. The microphoning of Perlemuter's piano in the BBC disc is much more distant and has a lot of "air" around it distorting the clarity a bit. Further, Perlemuter's piano in the BBC is not quite as evenly voiced. Just one man's opinion, but you're right, the Preludes are a never-ending source of fascination. Both, the Scribendum and BBC issues are superior to my ears than the Nimbus [5064].
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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herman
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:00 am
Location: Dutch Sierra

Post by herman » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:15 am

Maybe this is confusing on a Perlemuter topic, but I was wondering whether you are familiar with Sofronitsky's Chopin, Lance.

Last night I listened to his Preludes, and to a bunch of his Mazurkas and Waltzes, and apart from the wrethed piano he's playing on some of these gigs, I think Sofronitsky is an oustanding Chopin interpret, with a beautiful singing treble and very little use of the pedal.

I'm listening to these performances on Japanese Denon issues.

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