Writes critic Harris Goldsmith in his liner notes: "This glorious account of Schubert¹s Trio in B flat, D. 898, with the two older masters Szigeti and Schnabel joining forces with the younger Pierre Fournier, derives from a concert given at London¹s Central Hall on October 1, 1947 . Interestingly, and rather unexpectedly, the transcription clearly suggests that Szigeti (whose performances and recordings from around this same period often give signs of technical decline of his playing), and also Schnabel (who would imminently suffer a near-fatal heart attack a few months later) had somehow rediscovered the proverbial fountain of youth, at least for the nonce: The violinist¹s tonal luster and bowing facility in this performance recall vividly the sort of surety admirers associate with the 1928 Columbia recording of the Brahms Concerto with Sir Hamilton Harty and the Halle Orchestra. Schnabel, too, is in breathtaking form‹offering the same sort of unflappable rhythmic security and accuracy one was to hear on his wonderful valedictory Schubert Impromptus recorded at his last session for HMV in 1950. Schumann and Brahms, to judge from surviving evidence, were a trifle unidiomatic under Schnabel¹s advocacy: his Brahms G minor Rhapsody (1947) has an undercurrent of nuance but sounds a little fustian and nervous alongside the tougher solidity of Backhaus and Edwin Fischer and conversely matter-of-fact when measured alongside Kempff¹s prismatic poetry. His 1947 recording of Schumann¹s Kinderszenen has an eloquent, ruminative but completely unsentimental " Träumerei" framed by some rather militaristic, impersonal traversals of the surrounding pieces. Similarly, his reading of the Piano Quintet (with the Pro Arte Quartet) is on the massive, Teutonic side (C.F. the wonderfully soaring treatment by Gabrilowitsch, a fellow Leschetizky pupil, and tne Flonzaleys). Yet the biggest news, and germane to this appraisal, is the belated rediscovery of a tantalizing, but until-now seemingly lost, 1943 account of the Schumann Piano Concerto with Pierre Monteux (whom Schnabel once cited as his preferred conductor). Save for a few fleeting instances of digital untidiness here and there, our expectations are triumphantly vindicated. The performance is full of poetry and passion, and, happily, the recorded sound is excellent for its age. "
CD-1111 (1) ARTUR SCHNABEL PERFORMS SCHUMANN & SCHUBERT: Schumann: Concerto in A for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 54 (30:03) Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, cond. Pierre Monteux, New York, 13 June 1943. Schubert: Trio No. 1 in B-flat, Op. 99, D. 898 with Szigeti & Fournier, Artur Schnabel on piano. London, Central Hall, 1 October 1947. Schumann was previously unreleased, the Schubert was first released on LP RR-488 in 1981 by our predecessor organization, Educational Media Associates of America, Inc., and this is its first release on CD.
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