Arrau Live Recitals 1954, 1960, 1963 Ludwigsburg

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Lance
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Arrau Live Recitals 1954, 1960, 1963 Ludwigsburg

Post by Lance » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:32 am

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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... SY355_.jpg
SWR Music, 19504, 5 CDws

Other than his earliest recordings for RCA and EMI, the late Claudio Arrau did not prove to be as interesting to me as much as in his earlier mono recordings. Some of the later Philips recordings were joyful, but others were a let-down. I have always felt, however, that Arrau's MOZART recordings for Philips were some of his finest playing (now on Decca).

Now comes SWR Music in three Ludwigsburg recitals from 1954, 1960, and 1963. The 1954 recital was of primary interest to me. It is unfortunate, however, that the longer he plays, my listening is hampered by a piano that goes seriously out of tune commencing with moments in the Appassionata sonata of Beethoven and progressively gets worse to the end of the recital. There is, nonetheless, some surprisingly gorgeous playing by Arrau, especially in the first two selections by Mozart and Beethoven (despite some notes starting to slip out of tune in the Beethoven). Yes, a few finger-slips, but over all, a memorable and remarkable live recording. Given the demanding program of 1954 on the piano, it is not a surprise to find the piano going out of tune by the end of the recital, but to say it is offensive to my ears when it happens is putting in mildly. The piano technician should have been on hand to touch up the offending notes during an intermission if there was one, of course.

All the recordings are from the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele and all are in mono but provide a a spacious sound allowing the vibrating strings to fill the air with realism with some of Arrau's most amazingly musically sensitive performances; there is, of course, virtuosity where needed in abundance.

I will next traverse the 1960 and 1963 recitals but felt pianophiles might be interested to know about this historical set of recordings. Accompanying the recordings is a booklet giving full details in England and German. The article about Arrau and his Ludwigsburg recitals is very much in depth as provided by Peter Cossé.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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barney
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Re: Arrau Live Recitals 1954, 1960, 1963 Ludwigsburg

Post by barney » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:52 am

I reckon Arrau was one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters. And when he played Schubert, he was one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters. And when he played Chopin, ditto. Everything seemed to sound like Beethoven: intense, serious, noble, proportionate. But a truly great pianist.

maestrob
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Re: Arrau Live Recitals 1954, 1960, 1963 Ludwigsburg

Post by maestrob » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:42 am

barney wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:52 am
I reckon Arrau was one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters. And when he played Schubert, he was one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters. And when he played Chopin, ditto. Everything seemed to sound like Beethoven: intense, serious, noble, proportionate. But a truly great pianist.
Am going through Arrau's Beethoven sonata cycle these days, and finding them excellent all over again. Both Arrau & Richter sound like themselves, but very close with tempi. Agree with you, Barney, that Arrau made everything sound like Beethoven, which is where he was at his best. We mustn't forget that Arrau began recording in 1929, which makes his Beethoven cycle (recorded in 1960) quite mature, and not a young man's interpretation at all.

Lance, I'll look into those recital discs: thanks for the heads-up! :)

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Re: Arrau Live Recitals 1954, 1960, 1963 Ludwigsburg

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:05 am

Arrau is rather neglected these days, though it is not unusual for our stalwart Lance to uncover things like that. It is from Arrau (on a radio broadcast) that I first heard the simple but fantastically correct interlocution, "How do you know when to take a repeat in Beethoven?" "The rule is simple. In Beethoven, one always takes the repeats."


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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