Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

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Lance
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Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by Lance » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:08 pm

At 94 years young, Menahem Pressler, the German-born, Israeli-American pianist (whom I've had the pleasure of meeting, talking with, and preparing his Steinway ... and what a gentleman!) is re-emerging as a solo pianist. No doubt, he is one of the finest chamber music pianists one might find attested to by his many Beaux Arts Trio (and friends') recordings for Philips (now on Decca in the mega-box). I knew of Pressler as a soloist through his recordings on MGM LPs (and I think Vox) via LPs. DOREMI has issued two items, one all Mendelssohn (including the first piano concerto), and another all-Chopin including the first and second piano concertos and solo music.

I have not had an opportunity to hear his newest DGG recording [479 8756] (Debussy, Ravel, Fauré), but it sits here waiting for my ears. Another interesting disc appears in a lavishly presented disc on the La Dolce Volta label (LDV-12) entitled "Tales from Vienna," which embraces Schubert's Piano Sonata No. 18 in G Major, Mozart's Rondo in A MInor, K511, and Beethoven's Bagatelles, Op. 126 (complete). An interview within the text pages gives us a good idea of how he thinks about the music he performs. He has made some concerto recordings as well.

A victim of the Hitler years, losing much of his family in the Holocaust, his early life was most unfortunate. May this great man have another 94 years!
Lance G. Hill
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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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John F
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Re: Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by John F » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:58 am

Pressler was outstanding as leader of the Beaux Arts Trio, but I haven't heard any of his solo recordings. Have you listened to the Chopin disc yet? I wouldn't think Pressler's rather aggressive style would suit the concertos at all well, but you never know.
John Francis

Rach3
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Re: Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by Rach3 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:58 am

There are earlier recordings of Pressler in the Chopin concertos at YouTube. I have not heard them. Also several earlier and recent Mozart concertos , eg., 17,23.

I did hear this podcast in October,2017, unfortunately no longer available at RTBF. Most went reasonably well, except the Ballade which did not. Was a live performance.

Mozart - Fantasie en do mineur, K. 475
Debussy - Cinq Preludes, Book I - La plus que lente - Rêverie - Clair de lune
Chopin - Mazurka en si mineur, op. 33 - Mazurka en fa dièse mineur, op. 59/3 - Mazurka en la mineur, op. 67/4 - Ballade No. 3 en la dièse, op. 47

Enregistré le 14 juillet à Ruhr Festival 2017

Lance
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Re: Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:01 pm

I have to re-listen to the Chopin material again to make any comment. It's been a while that I've traversed Pressler's solo material. I'll give them a listen very soon.
John F wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:58 am
Pressler was outstanding as leader of the Beaux Arts Trio, but I haven't heard any of his solo recordings. Have you listened to the Chopin disc yet? I wouldn't think Pressler's rather aggressive style would suit the concertos at all well, but you never know.
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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Rach3
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by Rach3 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:47 pm


Lance
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Re: Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by Lance » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:02 pm

Yesterday, I heard both of Chopin's piano concertos on Doremi 7989/90. Both concertos fill the first CD. I believe Doremi has used the original Concert Hall Society LPs in the remastering, and it is basically a good remastering. Concert Hall Society was founded by David Josefowitz and his, I think, brother. It was a controversial company in the manner in which they marketed their recordings. In the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11, David Josefowitz is the conductor of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. It is a decent performance and Pressler has a good piano tone and virtuosity. In comparison to someone like Artur Rubinstein, it is not as beautifully executed. I was more impressed with Pressler's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21, same forces, but conducted this time by Hans Swarowsky, no stranger to us with his many Vox recordings. Here, the concerto seemed to be held together with a bit more security technically, and the orchestra, too, sounded richer and more resonant. When Pressler was attempting to make it big as a piano soloist or in concertos during those early periods of his life, he was up against some pretty stiff competition. It was probably to his best advantage to move into chamber music where he eked out a grand career for himself, which lasted for decades. That is not to say his musicality is not presented even in these early recordings for Concert Hall Society and the MGM label. However, you may want to look up the name of David Josefowitz who did much to further his personal love through music, which made him a very rich man who also gave much of it away, including making treasured stringed instruments available to some great artists. His is an interesting story! As far as Pressler is concerned, I am still very much interested in his solo recordings because the man does have something to say.
Lance wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:01 pm
I have to re-listen to the Chopin material again to make any comment. It's been a while that I've traversed Pressler's solo material. I'll give them a listen very soon.
John F wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:58 am
Pressler was outstanding as leader of the Beaux Arts Trio, but I haven't heard any of his solo recordings. Have you listened to the Chopin disc yet? I wouldn't think Pressler's rather aggressive style would suit the concertos at all well, but you never know.
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 &*$#@+#]

Image

John F
Posts: 19856
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Menahem Pressler, the SOLO pianist!

Post by John F » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:02 am

Thanks, Lance. It's no shame and not much of a surprise for a musician who is excellent in other repertoire to be nothing special in Chopin, Not that Chopin's music requires a specialist, Artur Rubinstein was by no means a specialist, but it does require aptitudes different from Beethoven and Haydn.

I wasn't aware that Concert Hall was controversial. They began as a subscription mail-order outfit, offering competent and fairly cheap recordings mainly of standard repertoire but also including the Arriaga string quartets and such, and were successful enough to sell their products retail in the stores.
John Francis

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