What about pianist Annie Fischer?

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Lance
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What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Lance » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:22 pm

The Hungarian-born pianist Annie Fischer (1914-1995) enjoyed a successful career during her lifetime. Because she was Jewish, she had to flee to Sweden during the Nazi era. Having studied at the Franz Liszt Academy, she won the Franz Liszt Competition in 1933. Her major commercial recording years were in the 1950s and 1960s with EMI. In the 1970s, her concert activities were greatly curtailed with the emergence of a plethora of other fine pianists. Recording companies, such as EMI, showed no more interest in recording her work. She subsequently made a (now) famous traversal of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas for the Hungarian Hungaroton label, which she did not approve, suspending their release only after her death. As we listen today, they are remarkable performances by most standards. The final 15 years of her life saw even less live concert activity although she was summond to substitute for an ailing Alfred Brendel in London at the very last moment.

Annie Fischer worked and recorded with such prominent conductors as Fricsay, Klemperer, Boult, Efrem Kurtz, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.

While listening to live performance concerto recordings of Beethovens Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 (with Fricsay) and Mozart's Piano Concerto #22 in E-flat Major (K482) (with Klemperer) from 1957 and 1956 respectively [Palexa 0515], one cannot help but observe Annie Fischer's wonderful musicality and interpretive powers at their greatest.

Others have a love for this pianist, too, I trust?
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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by dirkronk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:10 pm

Most assuredly. And while I have the Palexa you mention, it was her studio version of the Beethoven 3rd PC--again with Fricsay--and even moreso, the Mozart rondos with which the LvB was partnered on DGG vinyl "back when" that made me truly sit up and take notice of Ms. Fischer. Since then, I have been fairly addicted, feeling compelled to pick up everything I can find by this artist.
:wink:

Dirk

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Lance » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:03 pm

Hi Dirk ... great response! Unfortunately, the commercial recordings of Annie Fischer are not all that voluminous for such a long and distinguished career. I have CDs of her Mozart Concerti Nos. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 27 on EMI [67000, 67001, 67002, 67778, and 68529]; her "Artist Profile" 2-CD set [68733], which includes a Bartók PC #3 w/LSO under Markevitch; Schumann Kreisleriana and Kinderszenen and two Schubert Impromptus, Op. 142/2, 4; the EMI 4-CD "Introuvables" set [69217], which includes the Schubert Sonata in B-flat, Op. Posth.; Schumann Fantasy in C; Carnaval, Kinderszenen and Kreisleriana; two Schubert Impromptus, Op. 142/2, 4; Beethoven Sonatas 8, 14, 18, 21, 24, 30 and 32 (some repertoire that is duplicated in the "Artist Profile" set mentioned.) Also, a Schumann Piano Concerto w/Klemperer and the Philharmonia on EMI [64145].

Other labels include some of the Hungaroton Beethoven sonatas (that she didn't want released!); another Schubert Sonata B-flat, Op. Posth. coupled with the Liszt Sonata in B Minor [31494]; a Beethoven PC #3 in C Minor, Op. 37 w/Esser conducting coupled with the Mozart Fantasy & Fugue and Schubert's Impromptu, Op. 142/1 [31493]. On Palexa [0514], there's a live recital of Mozart's Sonata #12 in F/K332, Schubert's Sonata in A Major, Op. Posth., and Schumann's Carnaval (Montreal, live 1984). Dante issued three CDs [014, 097, and 101] of live material of all kinds. And we cannot forget four BBC Legends releases of live material [4054, 4141, 4166, and 4199]. I also have a number of Price-Less CDs that duplicate much of the EMI-derived material. The EMIs are far better reissues, however, but the Price-Less came out first (cheaply) and I grabbed while they were hot.

You probably have all of this material, but if not, perhaps the above will be of assistance in your tracking things down. Do you have anything that has not been listed above?
dirkronk wrote:Most assuredly. And while I have the Palexa you mention, it was her studio version of the Beethoven 3rd PC--again with Fricsay--and even moreso, the Mozart rondos with which the LvB was partnered on DGG vinyl "back when" that made me truly sit up and take notice of Ms. Fischer. Since then, I have been fairly addicted, feeling compelled to pick up everything I can find by this artist.
:wink:

Dirk
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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by dirkronk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:12 pm

Hi Lance:

Don't have the 4-CD EMI set or some of the Mozart PCs, but do have a good deal of the rest. Here are the Annie Fischer items from my CD collection listings:

Annie Fischer

Artist Profile—2 CD EMI
1. Schubert impromptus op.142/2,4; LvB sonata 8 op.13 “pathetique”, 14 op.27/2 “moonlight”, 32 op.111.
2. Schumann kinderszenen op.15, kreisleriana op.16; Bartok piano cto.3 (w/Markevitch & LSO)

LvB sonatas—complete, 9 CDs Hungaraton
Vol. 1: op.26, op.10/2, op.110, op.27/1
Vol. 2: op.13 “pathetique”, op.2/3, op.2/1
Vol. 3: op.111, op.49/2, op.10/3, op.14/2
Vol. 4: op.31/3, op.106 “hammerklavier”
Vol. 5: op.90, op.14/1, op.27/2 “moonlight”, op.101
Vol. 6: op.57 “appassionata”, op.31/2, op.28 “pastorale”
Vol. 7: op.31/1, op.109, op.2/2, op.78
Vol. 8: op.10/1, op.53 “waldstein”, op.7
Vol. 9: op.79, op.49/1, op.81a, op.22, op.54

Brahms son. 3 op.5; Bartok 15 hungarian peasant songs; BBC
Liszt trois etudes de concert s144/3, grandes etudes
de paganini s141/6; Dohnanyi rhapsody in C op.11/3 (live)

Mozart piano cto.20 & 23 (w/Boult/Philharmonia) EMI

Mozart piano cto.22 (Klemperer & COA live 1956)/ Palexa
LvB piano cto.3 (Fricsay & Berlin RSO live 1957)

Mozart piano cto. #22 K482 (6/22/83); Leitner cond. (Download)
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, live at Tokyo Shibuya Hall
(w/ Beethoven symphony #5 op. 67 – 6/17/83)

Haydn andante & vars in f min; LvB sonata 14 op.27/2 BBC
“moonlight”; Chopin schuerzo 3 op.39; LvB 32
variations on original theme WoO880; Kodaly
dances of marosszek; Mozart sonata 14 K457.

Schubert D960/ Liszt Sonata in Bm s178 Hungaraton

“In Concert in Montreal 1984”: Mozart sonata #12 K332; Palexa
Schubert sonata #20 D959; Schumann carnival op.9.

“In Moscow”: Bartok allegro barbaro, romanian folkdances; (Download/Private)
Beethoven fuer elise WoO 59; Chopin ballade #1 in Gm
op.23, fantasy-impromptu op.66; Kodaly "everlasting song";
Liszt concert etude #3 “un suspiro”, Hungarian rhapsody #14;
Mendelssohn rondo capriccioso op.14; Mozart sonata in C
K330; Schuber impromptus D935 #1 & 3.

Not included is the studio Beethoven PC#3 w/ Fricsay on the "Historic Beethoven" set on DGG CD. And I think there may be a couple of private downloads not yet catalogued.

On LP--which I unfortunately do NOT have catalogued at all--I have about three different copies of the Fricsay Beethoven/Mozart release. Plus a 2-LP Melodiya issue that includes some things not on the "In Moscow" private download above, among which is a Schumann PC w/ Keilbert/Cologne RSO (live from 1961).

That's pretty much it. For now, anyway.
:D

Dirk

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by RebLem » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:26 pm

I know Annie Fischer only from her Hungarton box of the Beethoven piano sonatas, which I consider by far the best set ever recorded. She is absolutely flawless and unerringly tasteful in her choice of tempos, dynamics, and phrasing. I have no other performances I think even approach hers. The only thing bad about them is she'll spoil you for anyone else.
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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:49 pm

There are four discs by her on BBC Legends, her EMI Mozart Concerto recordings are excellent and her Beethoven Cycle for Hungaraton is very special...

I see Hungaraton discs are being distributed in America again, there is lots of good stuff on that Label...
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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Lance » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:04 am

Dirk, in researching Annie Fischer, the Beethoven PC #3 w/Fricsay and the Mozart Rondos ... my question: the commercial Beethoven #3 made it to CD only in Volume 20, a six CD set in the "Complete Beethoven Edition" on DGG, called "The Historical Recordings." Do you know if it was ever issued as a single CD? I have two LP copies on DGG/Heliodor {HS-25001, domestic USA issue and 2547.238, German import}. If the Beethoven was reissued on single CD, I didn't catalogue it. If you have the DGG number, could you identify it? The two Mozart Rondos K 382 and K 386 w/Fricsay were issued on a DGG 2-CD set 477 5808. It's just the Beethoven PC #3 that I may have "lost" in the shuffle.

Incidentally, I just relistened to Palexa 0515 of the Mozart PC #22 w/Klemperer and the Beethoven PC #3 w/Fricsay. The Beethoven is absolutely spectacular! What a ravishing live performance, hampered only by some master tape dropouts and slips, but otherwise is one of the most rewarding recordings I've heard of that of late.
dirkronk wrote:Most assuredly. And while I have the Palexa you mention, it was her studio version of the Beethoven 3rd PC--again with Fricsay--and even moreso, the Mozart rondos with which the LvB was partnered on DGG vinyl "back when" that made me truly sit up and take notice of Ms. Fischer. Since then, I have been fairly addicted, feeling compelled to pick up everything I can find by this artist.
:wink:

Dirk
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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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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by dirkronk » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:41 am

Lance wrote:Dirk, in researching Annie Fischer, the Beethoven PC #3 w/Fricsay and the Mozart Rondos ... my question: the commercial Beethoven #3 made it to CD only in Volume 20, a six CD set in the "Complete Beethoven Edition" on DGG, called "The Historical Recordings." Do you know if it was ever issued as a single CD?
Lance, I've never seen a listing for the commercial (studio) LvB PC#3 with its previous Mozart rondo LP mates on compact disc. Too bad. Would've been a natural for the DGG Originals re-release series. And yes, the vol.20 of the "Complete Beethoven Edition" is the only place I've ever seen the Beethoven in digital format (and although I see now that my phrasing was unclear, I DO have that 6-CD set--I just have it listed in a different part of my collection catalog than Annie Fischer's area...almost everything on those 6 discs is amazingly good!). I also didn't know that the Mozart rondos ever got ANY release on CD, so thanks for the heads-up.

And now that you've made those remarks about the live performance, I think I'll dive under my desk and pull out the box with that Palexa CD, so I can listen again in the near future!

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by gfweis » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:27 pm

I'm a tremendous Annie fan. I agree with RebLem (as I have often in the past) about her Beethoven. I implore anyone interested in these sonatas to give one of her Hungarotons a listen. The integrity of Serkin, with more passion. I don't believe anyone has mentioned her great Mozart d minor concerto with Lukacs (Hungaroton). The K. 467 and Rondo K. 382 are superb discmates. Annie plays everything the way Klemperer conducted on his best days, viz. in a way that convinces you that the music is really important. Annie's Schumann is, like her Beethoven, compelling and sui generis. I like all the late '50's/early-'60's Schumann that is in her EMI box, but the real revelation for me are her live performances on a BBC-L cd, the K-szenen and Kreisleriana from 1986, and the C major Fantasie from 1971. Every lover of Schumann simply must hear these fiery, deep performances.
Greg Weis

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:18 pm

Greg, what a fine appraisal! I'm delighted to find so many Annie Fischer admirers. There were five BBC Legends discs of live performances (mentioned in my traversal above) that are very special, for sure! Do you have her Palexa disc with the Beethoven PC #3 (w/Fricsay) and the Mozart #22 w/Klemperer? Both, powerful performances, but the Beethoven came across stunningly.
gfweis wrote:I'm a tremendous Annie fan. I agree with RebLem (as I have often in the past) about her Beethoven. I implore anyone interested in these sonatas to give one of her Hungarotons a listen. The integrity of Serkin, with more passion. I don't believe anyone has mentioned her great Mozart d minor concerto with Lukacs (Hungaroton). The K. 467 and Rondo K. 382 are superb discmates. Annie plays everything the way Klemperer conducted on his best days, viz. in a way that convinces you that the music is really important. Annie's Schumann is, like her Beethoven, compelling and sui generis. I like all the late '50's/early-'60's Schumann that is in her EMI box, but the real revelation for me are her live performances on a BBC-L cd, the K-szenen and Kreisleriana from 1986, and the C major Fantasie from 1971. Every lover of Schumann simply must hear these fiery, deep performances.
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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by gfweis » Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:37 am

Yes, Lance, I believe I heard that Palexa cd about five years ago when it first came out, courtesy of a friend of mine who buys everything good (and who lends it all to me---lucky me). But for some reason I can't call the performances to mind. I'll have ask him to lend it to me again. I also like very much the Palexa (that both you and dirkronk mention) with the K. 332, Schubert D. 959, and Carnaval. That latter one I bought.
Greg Weis

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by ccar » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:20 pm

The Doremi edition (1 cd plus 2 dvd) with live performances of Beethoven (the 3rd with Dorati), Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Schumann concerti is also very interesting.

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:27 pm

Welcome to CMG, Carlos! Thank you for the tip on the Doremi issue!
ccar wrote:The Doremi edition (1 cd plus 2 dvd) with live performances of Beethoven (the 3rd with Dorati), Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Schumann concerti is also very interesting.
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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Bösendorfer » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:24 pm

is this the 1957 studio recording? it's certainly great (unfortunately it has a brutal cut near the end of the 1st movement)



florian
dirkronk wrote:
Lance wrote:Dirk, in researching Annie Fischer, the Beethoven PC #3 w/Fricsay and the Mozart Rondos ... my question: the commercial Beethoven #3 made it to CD only in Volume 20, a six CD set in the "Complete Beethoven Edition" on DGG, called "The Historical Recordings." Do you know if it was ever issued as a single CD?
Lance, I've never seen a listing for the commercial (studio) LvB PC#3 with its previous Mozart rondo LP mates on compact disc. Too bad. Would've been a natural for the DGG Originals re-release series. And yes, the vol.20 of the "Complete Beethoven Edition" is the only place I've ever seen the Beethoven in digital format (and although I see now that my phrasing was unclear, I DO have that 6-CD set--I just have it listed in a different part of my collection catalog than Annie Fischer's area...almost everything on those 6 discs is amazingly good!). I also didn't know that the Mozart rondos ever got ANY release on CD, so thanks for the heads-up.

And now that you've made those remarks about the live performance, I think I'll dive under my desk and pull out the box with that Palexa CD, so I can listen again in the near future!

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:39 am

Lance wrote:Dirk, in researching Annie Fischer, the Beethoven PC #3 w/Fricsay and the Mozart Rondos ... my question: the commercial Beethoven #3 made it to CD only in Volume 20, a six CD set in the "Complete Beethoven Edition" on DGG, called "The Historical Recordings." Do you know if it was ever issued as a single CD?
Lance-

The DG webshop has Fischer's performance of Beethoven PC#3 available, paired with Schneiderhan performing the Mendelssohn VC. It is apparently a single issue, although I can't find the physical disc for sale on any site. Maybe amazon.de has it. If that fails, it can be downloaded as FLAC, which is easy enough to rip to CD and is lossless.

Here's a link to the DG download page:

http://deutschegrammophon.com/cat/singl ... ation=flow

or alternatively you can try the Decca Classics site:

http://www.deccaclassics.com/cat/single ... ANGUAGE=us

Fischer's performance of the 3rd Beethoven concerto is a real barn burner, one of my favorites. That being said, it's her Mozart I adore above all else.

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Bösendorfer » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:49 pm

thanks! i saw that one too actually (and it's also on itunes). same question: is this the studio recording? if yes, i'll buy it. florian

p.s.: what are your other favourites of this one, contrapunctus?

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:48 pm

Bösendorfer wrote:thanks! i saw that one too actually (and it's also on itunes). same question: is this the studio recording? if yes, i'll buy it. florian
it is indeed the studio performance.
p.s.: what are your other favourites of this one, contrapunctus?
As far as stereo recordings go, off the top of my head:

Richter/Sanderling/VS (DG)
Fleisher/Szell/CO (Sony)
Pollini/Bohm/VPO (DG)
Gulda/Stein/VPO (Brilliant)

That said the Fischer recording has an energy the competition can't match.

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by Bösendorfer » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:08 pm

thanks a lot! i just bought it, and i look forward to listening tomorrow!

florian

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Re: What about pianist Annie Fischer?

Post by barney » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:11 pm

RebLem wrote:I know Annie Fischer only from her Hungarton box of the Beethoven piano sonatas, which I consider by far the best set ever recorded. She is absolutely flawless and unerringly tasteful in her choice of tempos, dynamics, and phrasing. I have no other performances I think even approach hers. The only thing bad about them is she'll spoil you for anyone else.
Wow. That is high praise indeed, given the people who have done Beethoven cycles.

Borrowing from another thread, perhaps you should call them "definitive". :mrgreen:

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