Backhaus Box

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maestrob
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Backhaus Box

Post by maestrob » Fri May 22, 2020 8:06 am

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Just received notice about this last night: It's about time! Released on the 50th anniversary of Backhaus's death, this superb 39 disc box features both sets of his Beethoven Sonatas (mono & Stereo), as well as a Carnegie Hall recital from 1954 and his final recital played just weeks before he died. In between we have the complete Decca transfers of everything he recorded for that label. A must-have: my 70th birthday is coming up on Sunday: This fits the bill! Thank you Decca for finally giving this forgotten pianist his due in remastered sound! Any other takers?

Rach3
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Re: Bakhaus Box

Post by Rach3 » Fri May 22, 2020 11:03 am

You may have, but if not, get also the 2-cd set (Decca?) of his complete acoustic recordings 1908-1925, many works he never recorded after 1925.

maestrob
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by maestrob » Fri May 22, 2020 11:51 am

Rach3 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:03 am
You may have, but if not, get also the 2-cd set (Decca?) of his complete acoustic recordings 1908-1925, many works he never recorded after 1925.
I may have read it wrong, but I believe those are included in this box. Backhaus was born early enough to have heard Brahms conduct Eugene D'Albert in the two piano concertos, and at age 14 he began to study with D'Albert. A remarkable talent, with such a deep, direct connection to the music he played.

Rach3
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Rach3 » Fri May 22, 2020 2:05 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:51 am
Backhaus was born early enough to have heard Brahms conduct Eugene D'Albert in the two piano concertos, and at age 14 he began to study with D'Albert.
Other comments about D'Albert:

"I shall never forget the titanic force of his rendition of Beethoven's Emperor. I am almost tempted to say he did not play it, he personified it.In his intimate contact with his instrument, he appeared to me like a new centaur,half piano,half man." Bruno Walter,1946.

Even more telling? : "I heard the complete Ring cycle (in Frankfurt, 1901) for the first time with lasting impression.Nevertheless, an Opera House concert with Beethoven's Emperor played in the fashion of a master by Eugen d"Albert remains a stronger memory." Otto Klemperer,1960.

Lance
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Lance » Sat May 23, 2020 1:04 pm

Ah ... so much Backhaus! A great pianist for sure. I have the preponderance of his Decca recordings, including reissues from Japan-Italy Decca, and some 60 off-label recordings. However, this would be a wonderful acquisition to have everything in one box as I'm sure there are some surprises therein that were not previously issued by the Decca people. APR has also iissued a number of items, Dante, Ermitage, Biddulph, Andante, Orfeo, Pearl, Archipel, Piano Library, and many others. So, the man has been well represented on CDs. Naturally, there is duplication among them all. Still, a must-have for piano aficionados.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Rach3
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Rach3 » Sat May 23, 2020 3:24 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:51 am
I may have read it wrong, but I believe those are included in this box.
Hope so.Per the liner notes, the acoustic recordings on the Pearl cd set from 1908-1925 were on the labels Victor, Schallplatte Gramophone,and HMV. Dont know if these rights were also acquired by Decca ?

maestrob
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by maestrob » Sun May 24, 2020 8:14 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:24 pm
maestrob wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:51 am
I may have read it wrong, but I believe those are included in this box.
Hope so.Per the liner notes, the acoustic recordings on the Pearl cd set from 1908-1925 were on the labels Victor, Schallplatte Gramophone,and HMV. Dont know if these rights were also acquired by Decca ?
Well, I checked, and indeed I read it wrong. From 1908-1948 Backhaus was on HMV, then he switched to Decca in 1950 for his first set of Beethoven Sonatas. It is the Decca recordings that are included in this box. I do wish that Warner would issue a similar box with all of the excellent recordings at their disposal. Now is the time! :!:

Lance
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Lance » Fri May 29, 2020 10:37 pm

Well, the Backhaus box has arrived, and it is a beauty! It is all you would expect and remains one of Decca's best boxes of the many they have produced. The booklet has one of the finest articles I have ever read on the pianist - by Jonathan Summers.

All we need now is to have the HMV/EMI/Warner recordings made by the pianist to be issued in a complete set. Pearl issued the early material on their label, 0046 and 0102 and those recordings are a very different (but wonderful) showcase of Backhaus's earliest art.
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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CharmNewton
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by CharmNewton » Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:31 pm

I have this set as well. I've admired Backhaus since hearing some of his early electrical recordings issued on LPs by Music & Arts in the mid 1970s. Critical opinion of Backhaus around the time he died was that he mechanical and a bit cold. It didn't sound like that to me. Backhaus plays with clarity, both melodically and harmonically. I can hear the notes in his chords and they aren't tonally ugly or just percussively smacked but rounded and full. Beautiful tone wedded to a lyric gift. And he can get impetuous at times as well. He's part of quite a generation which included Cortot, Hambourg, Hofmann, Schnabel, Petri, Landowska and Rubinstein just to recount the names of a few (and perhaps spur some comparative listening).
Lance wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 10:37 pm

All we need now is to have the HMV/EMI/Warner recordings made by the pianist to be issued in a complete set. Pearl issued the early material on their label, 0046 and 0102 and those recordings are a very different (but wonderful) showcase of Backhaus's earliest art.
APR has reissued 2 two CD sets so far of recordings from 1925-1937. The first contains the complete pre-WWII Beethoven recordings (concerti (4 & 5) and several Beethoven sonatas) that were once issued by Biddulph. The second album, includes the Chopin Etudes, Shumann's Fantasy in C major and a number of short pieces, including his own arrangement of a Serenade from Don Giovanni all transferred by Mark Obert-Thorn. The notes for this second volume state that Vladimir Horowitz was also an admirer of Backhaus.

Besides Warner, Backhaus also made recordings for Victor during his tour of the U.S. in 1908.

John

Rach3
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Rach3 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:22 pm

CharmNewton wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:31 pm
Besides Warner, Backhaus also made recordings for Victor during his tour of the U.S. in 1908.
Yes,I believe the ones on the Pearl 2-cd set of his 1908-1925 acoustics.

CharmNewton
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by CharmNewton » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:21 am

Rach3 wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:22 pm
CharmNewton wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:31 pm
Besides Warner, Backhaus also made recordings for Victor during his tour of the U.S. in 1908.
Yes,I believe the ones on the Pearl 2-cd set of his 1908-1925 acoustics.
I was incorrect in stating Backhaus had recorded for Victor in 1908. I discovered this checking Julian Morton Moses' Collector's Guide to American Recordings 1895-1925 (Dover edition) for records of Mark Hambourg (another of those free-spirited pianists who made some recordings of Byrd and Scarlatti c. 1910). Backhaus' Victor records were all imported from Europe, so the Pearl set likely has everything.

If you're curious about Hambourg, Spotify has 4 CDs of reissues from APR as well as his early electrical recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. The Beethoven captures him in very good form and has good sound (recorded in Kingsway Hall, a good recording hall well into the stereo era). The APRs have those recordings of Scarlatti and Byrd as well as the first recording of all of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies.

John

John

Lance
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Lance » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:42 pm

One reviewer on Amazon regarding the Backhaus boxed set was not very happy with the packaging. I thought it was fine. And always, with these cardboard inserts which house two or more CDs, i have always been ultra careful to handle them carefully so they do not tear or rip apart. And, especially given the price, it remains a super value from Decca. Here's what the complaint was:

Said the reviewer:
"I just got this box set. So far the sound is fine. If you dont have these recordings i strongly recommend them.HOWEVER, i have a complaint: WHY WHY WHY could they not use uniform SINGLE cardboard sleeves.There are several groups of three and four cds contained in cardboard cases connected and wrapped around each other. When one attempts to remove a cd, the cardboard will certainly tear, or CDs will fall out because of the angle required to hold the contraption. The middle cd "envelope" is open on two sides. To get the middle cd out, you must bend the other cases which weakens the cardboard. Who needs THIS dexterity TEST each time you want to get to a cd???? Even the pair of two CDs can be a problem. The cardboard is too snug. When you try to get out one cd, the other attached case is affected and gets damaged. THESE SLEEVES WILL NOT LAST. THEY WILL WEAKEN AND LOOSEN AND THE CDS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE KEPT IN THESE CONTRAPTIONS.ARE THE PRODUCERS TRYING TO PUNISH THOSE WHO WANT TO LISTEN TO THIS MUSIC AND KEEP IT SAFE??"
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

maestrob
Posts: 8720
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Backhaus Box

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:57 pm

Yes, Lance, I agree most wholeheartedly with that complaint! I've run into this problem with boxes by Heifetz, Oistrakh, etc., and it's EXTREMELY annoying! I buy these boxes as supposedly permanent historical artifacts that should stand the test of time, yet sadly I've struggled with these folders and accidentally damaged several.

Still, the price is right.

Lance
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Re: Backhaus Box

Post by Lance » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:44 pm

Well, maybe. I am always ultra-careful by nature I guess, in retrieving the CDs from whatever folder they are in. I generally agree that it might be easier to have each CD in its own sturdy cardboard cover. It would also seem to me to perhaps be cheaper to do it that way anyway.
maestrob wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:57 pm
Yes, Lance, I agree most wholeheartedly with that complaint! I've run into this problem with boxes by Heifetz, Oistrakh, etc., and it's EXTREMELY annoying! I buy these boxes as supposedly permanent historical artifacts that should stand the test of time, yet sadly I've struggled with these folders and accidentally damaged several.

Still, the price is right.
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

CharmNewton
Posts: 2001
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:10 pm

Re: Backhaus Box

Post by CharmNewton » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:14 pm

I don't care for multi-disc mini-gatefold covers used in these sets. They can be really tight and present risk of damaging the disc as well as the cover. The outer boxes seem standardized and perhaps that drives the packaging. I'd prefer they packaged the multi-disc sets in a small mini-album box with the discs in plastic or paper sleeves.
I've looked for blank boxes for my own storage and have had no success finding them. While jewel cases are common, some such as the 2-disc or 4-disc are getting hard to find. I really like the cardboard boxes for space and attractiveness. Does anyone know of a source of blank ones. I haven't seen them on eBay or Amazon or even ULine.
John

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