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A Buyer's Guide to Historic Piano Recordings Reissued on Compact Discs

By Donald Manildi (Curator, IPAM) and Farhan Malik

Buyer's Guide L-R

FRANK LA FORGE (1879-1953)
La Forge was a pupil of Leschetizky who earned considerable fame as accompanist to several famous singers. He made a few acoustical Victor 78s of solo repertoire. One of them, the Chopin D-Flat Nocturne, may be heard on PEARL OPAL 9839 ("Pupils of Leschetizky"). Scheduled for spring 2024 release is APR 6044, containing all of La Forge's solo Victor discs along with the complete recordings of Olga Samaroff.



This Liszt pupil was a renowned Beethoven interpreter in his day. His electrical recordings, devoted largely to Beethoven and Liszt, are well covered on CD, the acoustical discs somewhat less so. The BIDDULPH label has released two CDs of Lamond's Beethoven (LHW 42 and 43), including the first-ever recording of the Concerto No.5. These (excepting the concerto) have reappeared on APR along with Lamond's complete solo electrical discs (APR 7310, 3 CDs). A single CD of his Liszt interpretations can be found on APR 5504. PEARL 9911 offers many of the latter along with some additional material. A couple of Lamond selections can also be found on PEARL 9972 ("Pupils of Liszt"). Of particular interest, the Marston label has issued a 2-CD set (52071) with recently-discovered live Lamond broadcast performances of Beethoven's Concerto No. 3 and Liszt's Concerto No. 2, together with his acoustical HMV solo Beethoven recordings. The Marston set also includes Lamond's spoken recollections of his first meeting with Liszt.



Although Landowska is mainly thought of as a harpsichordist, she also made some piano recordings. BIDDULPH LHW 13 contains three Mozart Sonatas plus the "Coronation" Concerto K537. Two live Mozart Concerto performances (K415 and 482) from 1945 with Rodzinski conducting can be found on Music & Arts 812. As of 2014, all of Landowska's commercial piano recordings (including her late Mozart and Haydn interpretations) can be obtained on APR 7305 (three CDs).


ADELINA DE LARA (1872-1961)

As a young girl, this British pianist studied in Frankfurt with Clara Schumann for several years. She did not begin recording until she was in her late 70s, at which time she made a 78-rpm set for the Clara Schumann Society of England. (An excerpt can be found in IPAM 1206, "A Multitude of Pianists".) In the early 1950s DeLara began recording most of Robert Schumann's major piano works, and these performances have been reissued on PEARL 99049 (6 CDs) along with recordings of Fanny Davies, Ilona Eibenschütz, and the famous Brahms cylinder.


LAZARE-LEVY (1882-1964)

Lazare-Lévy was a pupil of Diémer and had a long career as performer and teacher. His commercial recordings include an early series for French HMV and further 78s for Victor made during his stay in Japan. In the 1950s he recorded three Mozart sonatas. All of the foregoing are included in APR 6028 (two CDs), along with discs by fellow Diémer pupil Victor Staub.



This important pupil of Cortot made almost all of her recordings during the LP era. (These have been reissued in a CD box from FY/Solstice.) However, a 1935 Victor set contains her world-premiere recording of the Variations, Interlude and Finale by Dukas, and it has been reissued on a PEARL CD (9495) that also offers examples of other French women pianists.


ETHEL LEGINSKA (1886-1970)

She was originally known as Ethel Liggins. The majority of this Leschetizky pupil's recordings, those released by American Columbia in the late 1920s, have been reissued on Ivory Classics 72002. Unfortunately the poorly-equalized transfers make her performances sound much more dull than on the original 78s. A new, properly-engineered reissue is much to be desired. Two of Leginska's Columbia recordings can be found on PEARL 9839 ("Pupils of Leschetizky").


OSCAR LEVANT (1906-1972)

Famed not only as a pianist but also as movie actor, author, radio personality, and general man-about-town, Levant made many recordings for Columbia during the late 78rpm and early LP eras. PEARL 0105 brings together a representative selection of his recorded solo repertoire, ranging from Chopin to Jelobinsky. Levant's primary reputation, however, was as a Gershwin interpreter. All his studio recordings of Gershwin have been assembled on SONY MK 42514. Levant's live 1944 NBC broadcast of Gershwin's Concerto in F, conducted by Toscanini, is available on Fabula Classica 2240. A complete Sony edition of Levant's Columbia discs, including his 1950s LPs, was rumored for several years and the 8-CD set (with a lavishly illustrated book) is now available as SONY 88985471862. Several previously-unissued items are included. Finally, Levant's first recording--of an abridged Rhapsody in Blue on a 1927 Brunswick 78--can now be found in Pristine 637 (3 CDs) along with other historic Gershwin material.



Levitzki had lessons from Michalowski as a child and later studied with Dohnányi. Naxos has prepared a complete Levitzki edition in three volumes. The first volume (8.110688) contains his complete acoustic Columbia recordings (1923-24) plus some later items, while the second (8.110769) offers the Liszt Concerto No.1 and other HMV material. The final volume (NAXOS 8.110774) contains Levitzki's remaining discs plus some broadcast performances. Other Levitzki CDs include APR 6043 (two discs: complete HMV recordings, 1927-33, replacing APR 7020 which suffered from inaccurate pitching of several sides) and PEARL 9962 containing mostly HMV material plus his sole record for RCA Victor from 1938.


ERNST LEVY (1895-1991)

This Swiss pianist studied with both Pugno and Petri and made a few 78rpm discs in 1929; the remainder of his recordings date from the LP era. MARSTON has reissued the complete recordings of Levy. MARSTON 52007 (two CDs) contains his 1929 recording of Liszt's Sposalizio plus other works by Liszt, Beethoven, and Levy recorded in the 1950s. MARSTON 52021 (two CDs) contains two more 1929 recordings (the Mozart D minor Fantasy and Johann Strauss's Frühlingsstimmen), plus Levy's Haydn and Beethoven from the 1950s. A third volume, devoted to live Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms performances, is available on MARSTON 52039. A fourth CD set of Levy (Marston 52072, two discs) offers previously-unissued studio and live material from the 1950s, including Haydn, Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, and Franck.


JOSEF LHEVINNE (1874-1944)

Lhevinne was a student of Safonov and a classmate of Rachmaninoff at the Moscow Conservatory. He was widely admired for his commanding technical prowess. His complete commercial recordings (1920-39) fit on a single CD and can be found on NAXOS 8.110681 in good transfers by Ward Marston. These transfers easily replace the inferior dubbings of Lhevinne previously issued on Novello, Philips ("Great Pianists" series), and Dante. There is also a New York Philharmonic special edition of historic broadcasts that includes Josef and his wife Rosina's 1939 performance of the Mozart F Major Concerto, K242. Meanwhile in December 2020, the MARSTON label released  "The Complete Josef Lhevinne" on three CDs (53023). In addition to the above-mentioned recordings, it contains broadcast transcriptions of the Brahms G Minor Piano Quartet with Lhevinne and the Perole Quartet, and a nearly-complete Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1. In addition, Marston's "Lagniappe" series offers a CD of Rosina Lhevinne captured live in performances of several chamber works.


GEORG LIEBLING (1865-1946)

On the evidence of his one issued recording (a 1920 Parlophone)  this German player was probably one of the less significant pupils of Liszt. His attempt at the Paganini-Liszt "La Campanella" is a striking example of pianistic ineptitude. It and two short Chopin pieces may be heard on IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists").


DINU LIPATTI (1917-1950)

Lipatti's death in 1950 from lymphoma at the age of 33 was a tragic blow to the music world. All of his commercial recordings plus several non-commercial ones have been released on CD. APR has gathered all of his 1947-48 recordings, including his famous recording of the Chopin B minor Sonata, on APR 6032  (2 CDs). Included are several unpublished items with Lipatti accompanying cellist Antonio Janigro. A two-CD set on Philips (426 100) offers Lipatti and his mentor Georges Enescu playing two of Enescu's violin sonatas along with Lipatti in several of his own compositions; these derive from WW2-vintage Electrecord (Rumania) transcriptions. Archiphon has a few releases containing some unpublished material: ARCHIPHON 112/3 was the first release of Lipatti's Liszt Concerto No. 1 and it also includes a few unreleased test pressings. Some additional unpublished material is on ARCHIPHON 127. TAHRA 366/7 offers unpublished Lipatti performances from radio broadcasts. And most recently (in 2018), several Scarlatti sonatas and late Brahms pieces with Lipatti have been unearthed; they are now available on MARSTON 52073 ("Landmarks of Recorded Pianism").

Most of Lipatti's commercial recordings can be found on EMI. The standard 14 Chopin Waltzes are on EMI 66956. Various works by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Ravel, and Enesco are on EMI 67567. Bach, Mozart, Schubert, and Scarlatti can be found on EMI 67003. The Grieg and Schumann Concertos have been released on EMI 74802, and the Schumann and Mozart K. 467 Concertos are available on EMI 67775. A convenient 7-CD box (EMI 07318) contains all of the above and further material. There is also one volume devoted to Lipatti in the Philips Great Pianists edition, duplicating material available elsewhere.


ARTHUR LOESSER (1894-1969)

Loesser studied with Sigismund Stojowski and is best known for his excellent book "Men, Women and Pianos". The Marston label has released a 2-CD set of Loesser in recital (MARSTON 52036). Loesser's earliest recordings were as an accompanist. On NAXOS 8.110961, 8.110962, and 8.110963 he can be heard with violinist Maud Powell. On PEARL 0059 and BIDDULPH LAB 013 he collaborates with violinist Toscha Seidel in sonatas of Brahms and Grieg. Finally, although not derived from 78s, Loesser's much-admired complete 1964 studio recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier is now available on CD for the first time on DoReMi 78935 (three discs).


KATHLEEN LONG (1896-1968)

Born in Suffolk and admired for her playing of Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart and Fauré, Long's recordings date from the 1940s and 50s. DUTTON CDBP 9714 offers transfers of her English Decca 78s of two Mozart Concertos and the Fauré Ballade. Also available is an important 3-CD set from APR (6041) containing Long's solo 78s for English Decca, with works of Scarlatti, Grieg, Schubert, Fauré and Debussy.



This French pianist and teacher personally knew Debussy, Fauré, and Ravel. Several Long recordings have been reissued on PEARL 9927 (her premiere set of Ravel's Concerto in G plus the Fauré Ballade and works of Debussy) and on EMI 72245 (part of their "French Pianists" series: concertos by Mozart [K488], Beethoven [No.5], Chopin [No.2], Ravel and Milhaud [No.1] ). BIDDULPH LHW 35 is an all Fauré CD containing the Piano Quartet No.2, the Ballade, and solo pieces. Her Beethoven 3rd Concerto with Weingartner was issued on KOCH 7128 and is now available on NAXOS 8.110878. Everything just mentioned, except the Chopin Concerto, can be found in good transfers on a 4-CD set from Cascavelle (Vel 3067), together with Long's remaining solo 78s of Chopin, Debussy, and Milhaud. As of March 2022, all of Long's recordings of Fauré and d'Indy can be obtained on APR 6038 (2 CDs) in new transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. A second volume, with Long's Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and Milhaud, can now be found on APR 6039.


ROBERT LORTAT (1885-1938)

Lortat studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Louis Diémer and only recorded Chopin works (Etudes, Preludes, Waltzes, and Sonata No.2) for French Columbia in the late 1920s. All of Lortat's recordings were once available on three CDs from the now-defunct Dante label (HPC 25, HPC 32, and HPC 37). More recently, DoReMi has squeezed all the Lortat recordings onto two CDs (71105). However, all of the foregoing can now be ignored, thanks to a now-available APR release (6042, two CDs) offering new, significantly improved Obert-Thorn transfers.



Lympany was a student of Tobias Matthay in England. Some of her early recordings (1940s vintage) can be found on DUTTON LABS 5506 (Khachaturian Concerto, Mendelssohn, Poulenc, and Balakirev), and on CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 68145 (Mendelssohn, Franck, and Litolff). Lympany was the first pianist to record all 24 Rachmaninoff Preludes; her pioneering set for English Decca dates from WW2 and it has been reissued for the first time on Decca Eloquence 482 6266. (Lympany went on to re-record them twice).  A later Decca Eloquence set (482 9404, seven CDs) covers all of her Decca recordings, including many staples of her concerto repertoire plus previously-unreleased discs of the Chopin B Minor and Samuel Barber Sonatas. At the end of the 78rpm era Lympany began a long-term relationship with HMV. New transfers (by Seth Winner) of these 78-rpm recordings (dating from 1947 through 1952) are available on a two-CD set from APR (6011). The remainder of Lympany's sonic legacy dates from the LP and CD eras.


MARCEL MAAS (1897-1950)

Some recordings of Maas (an important Belgian pupil of Arthur DeGreef), mainly in collaboration with the violinist Alfred Dubois, have been released on Biddulph. On BIDDULPH 80172 he plays violin sonatas by Beethoven, Franck, and Debussy. BIDDULPH 90171 contains three Bach Violin Sonatas plus Bach works for solo keyboard. Maas's solo 78s of Franck and Brahms have yet to reappear on CD.


JOAQUIN MALATS (1872-1912)

Malats was a brilliant yet short-lived Spanish pianist who introduced Albéniz's Ibéria to the public. All that exists of his playing are a few privately-made early cylinders that may be found on VAI 1001 ("The Catalan Piano Tradition").



Some early recordings by this Polish pianist have been reissued on PEARL 0095. That CD contains the Chopin 2nd Concerto (1946) and Liszt 2nd Concerto (1947), together with solo works of Chopin and Szymanowski. On DANTE HPC 144 (deleted), the same Chopin 2nd Concerto was reissued along with a Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto from 1949. Later Malcuzynski recordings date from the mono and stereo LP eras.


TOBIAS MATTHAY (1858-1945)

This famous English pedagogue made two 78rpm records. One of these, containing his own music, is included in IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists"). Both can now be found on APR 6014 (2 CDs) along with rare recordings from the 1920s by an assortment of Matthay’s youthful pupils. This set completes APR’s survey of the recordings of Matthay’s pupils, earlier volumes being devoted to Joyce, Cohen, Hess, Scharrer, Lympany, and Bartlett & Robertson.


DENIS MATTHEWS (1919-1989)

An esteemed English pianist who concentrated largely on Mozart and Beethoven, Matthews made a number of LP discs for English Columbia and for Vanguard. These were preceded by some 1940s English Columbia 78s, a good selection of which may be found on PEARL 0162. Matthews also published a guide to the Beethoven sonatas as well as a book on conductor Arturo Toscanini, and edited a survey of keyboard music.



Known primarily as a composer in the late-romantic tradition, Medtner recorded a good deal of his own music during the 1930s and 40s. Many but not all of Medtner's recordings are available on CD. Testament 1027 contains his 2nd and 3rd Concertos. Both of these as well as his recording of Concerto No.1 are now on Melodiya 1002274 (two CDs). EMI 54839 has a selection of solo pieces, while his complete solo recordings are on APR 5546, 5547, and 5548. APR 5546 also includes Medtner playing Beethoven's "Appassionata," recorded in 1947.


YOLANDA MERÖ (1887-1963)

A Hungarian pianist who retired early from the concert scene, Merö left only a single ten-inch Victor 78. (David Dubal's claim that Merö left "many" recordings is incorrect unless one counts piano rolls.) Both sides of Merö's 78 (an abridged Liszt 4th Rhapsody and Max Vogrich's Staccato Caprice) may be heard on IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists").


NOEL MEWTON-WOOD (1922-1953)

A selection of recordings by this Australian pianist has been reissued on a three-CD set: ABC CLASSICS 461 900. This collection contains concertos by Beethoven (No.4), Shostakovich (No.1, but nearly a half-step flat in pitch), and Tchaikovsky (No.2); violin and piano works by Beethoven and Busoni; vocal music by Tippett with Peter Pears; plus solo works of Schumann, Chopin, Weber, and Liszt. Also available is PEARL 0031, containing Weber's Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 plus the Chopin Tarantelle, all recorded in 1941. A 1948 broadcast of Mewton-Wood in the Busoni Concerto, conducted by Beecham, is on SOMM BEECHAM-15. The defunct Dante label at one time offered CDs of Mewton-Wood's early LP versions of all the Chopin and Tchaikovsky concertos.


MARCELLE MEYER (1897-1958)

This distinguished French pianist, a protegée of Cortot, Long, and Viñes, was especially esteemed for her playing of 18th- and 20th-century music. The vast majority of her recordings were reissued by EMI in three box sets as part of their "Introuvables" series. These boxes have now been replaced by a mammoth 17-CD set from French EMI (384699) that offers newly re-mastered versions of the same material, plus a few additional rare Meyer items. Fortunately, the pitch problems that plagued part of the earlier release (especially the Bach recordings) have now been corrected. On PEARL 0137 may be found Meyer's late-1940s set of Scarlatti sonatas. Meanwhile, the TAHRA label has unearthed a variety of Meyer's broadcast performances on two separate releases. TAHRA 564 includes Falla's "Nights in the Gardens of Spain" and the Chopin Barcarolle, while TAHRA 579/80 offers a Beethoven "Emperor" plus music of Petrassi, Casella, and others. The lavish booklet in the latter set contains a detailed Meyer discography.



Michalowski was one of the earliest-born pianists to record. Volume 1 of APR's G&T series (APR 5531) contains his rare Polish recordings from 1905 and 1912, some previously unreleased. Several later Polish 78s by Michalowski from 1930 are available in IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists"). The Selene label prepared a CD of Michalowski performances (SELENE 9803.39) spanning his entire recording career, but with inadequate documentation. A complete edition of his records, in first-class transfers, is badly needed.



This great Italian pianist made recordings as early as 1939. Part of a 6-CD set, EMI 67041, is devoted to all his HMV material from 78s along with Michelangeli's later recordings for that firm. A good selection from those discs is on a single EMI CD: 64490. In 1942, Michelangeli recorded the Grieg and Schumann concertos, and solo pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Tomeoni and Chopin, in Italy for Telefunken. Except for the Schumann, all are available on PEARL 9086 (two CDs, coupled with recordings by Carlo Zecchi). NAXOS has made available all of Michelangeli's 78s (both HMV and Telefunken) in new transfers by Ward Marston on three separate CDs: 8.111351, 8.112052, and 8.111396.



Moiseiwitsch, another of the celebrated Leschetizky pupils, was one of the most recorded pianists of the 78rpm era. Almost every historical reissue label has released recordings by Moiseiwitsch, but APR and Naxos have devoted the most CDs to him. On APR there are two volumes of Chopin (APR 5575 and 5576), two volumes of Beethoven (APR 5530 and 5610), a Rachmaninoff CD (APR 5505), a Tchaikovsky CD (APR 5518), and works for piano and orchestra by Grieg, Saint-Saëns, and Liszt (APR 5529). Naxos has a complete Moiseiwitsch 78rpm series in thirteen volumes, all in new transfers by Ward Marston. Within their edition there is an all-Tchaikovsky CD (8.110655), a Rachmaninoff CD (8.110676) and a Grieg/Saint-Saëns/Liszt disc with the same contents as the similar APR release (8.110683). The remaining volumes are 8.110668, devoted to Brahms, Schumann and Mussorgsky; 8.110669 and 8.110689, both containing numerous short works by various composers; 8.110675 (Russian solo repertoire); 8.110776 (Beethoven concertos 3 and 5); 8.111115 (Beethoven sonatas); 8.111116 (acoustic discs of repertoire other than Chopin); 8.111117 (Chopin recordings from 1916 to 1927), 8.111118 (Chopin Preludes and Ballades), and 8.110770 (Chopin Scherzos and Barcarolle).

Pearl and Testament have both issued important Moiseiwitsch CDs. PEARL 0142 (two CDs) contains his complete acoustic recordings. PEARL 9135 contains various items dating from 1925 to 1941, and PEARL 9192 (two CDs) offers some live performances from 1961. On TESTAMENT 1014 we find his recording of the Delius Concerto. Testament's other Moiseiwitsch releases include 1023 (Schumann Fantasy & Brahms-Handel Variations); 1187 (Schumann & Grieg Concertos); and 1196 (Chopin Preludes, Schumann Kinderscenen, various short works).

Two other releases worth mentioning are ARBITER 120, on which one can find several hitherto unpublished broadcast performances plus an interview, and the Moiseiwitsch volume in the PHILIPS "Great Pianists" edition.



Munz was an important Polish pianist who briefly worked with Busoni, then went on to teach Emanuel Ax, Ann Schein and many others. He made only one commercial 78 (for Homocord in 1928). It may be found on two CDs: IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists") and AMERICUS 20021022. The latter is especially noteworthy for its inclusion of two broadcast transcriptions in which Munz plays the Mozart D Minor Concerto and Rachmaninoff's Paganini Rhapsody.



Murdoch, a notable Australian-born, British-trained pianist, is now known only to historically-minded collectors. From his extensive recorded legacy, a 2-CD edition containing all his electrical solo 78s for English Columbia is now available on APR 6029. In addition to numerous shorter pieces, Beethoven's Pathetique and Appassionata Sonatas from 1926-27 are included.  Murdoch's solo Beethoven recordings were at one time available on PEARL 0044, with good transfers by Seth Winner. One of the best of Murdoch's many chamber music collaborations - the Mendelssohn C Minor Trio with Sammons and Tertis - was once available on BIDDULPH LAB 023. Finally, Murdoch's only concerto recording (Beethoven No.3), a very late (1925) acoustic set conducted by Sir Hamilton Harty, can now be heard on Pristine Audio PASC 645.


YVES NAT (1890-1956)

Most of this remarkable French player's recordings, such as his Beethoven sonata cycle and his many Schumann discs, date from the 1950s and are available on EMI CDs. Nat's 78rpm releases represent him in his prime and may be found on EMI 69461 (Franck Symphonic Variations and Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, the latter incorrectly pitched a half-step sharp) and in the 4-CD set EMI 67141 (Schumann Concerto, Faschingsschwank, and Kinderscenen, together with Nat's later Schumann recordings). In 2006 the French branch of EMI re-mastered and repackaged all of Nat's studio recordings in a 15-CD box set (347826), correcting the pitch problem in the Liszt Rhapsody and adding a few rarities.


ELLY NEY (1882-1968)

Only a portion of this German pianist's 78s have been transferred to CD. Her complete pre-war solo Beethoven recordings were issued on BIDDULPH LHW 033, while BIDDULPH 82045 contains her mid-1930s sets of the Mozart Concerto K450, Beethoven's B-Flat Concerto, and the Strauss Burleske. Now available on APR 7311 is a 3-CD set that reissues her two Biddulph discs and adds Ney's remaining solo repertoire from her Brunswick and Electrola 78s. On A CLASSICAL RECORD ACR 39 are Ney's recordings of Schumann's Kinderscenen, the Brahms Trio in B with Sross and Hoelscher, and a few other items. At one time a Pearl CD offered Ney's 1939-42 Polydor sets of the Brahms Concerto No.2 and Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy. Now, as of March 2024, new transfers of these are available on APR 5639. Some of Ney's 78s have also appeared on CDs from Hänssler in mediocre transfers. (In her late years Ney made a number of LP recordings, chiefly for DG and for Colosseum.)


GUIOMAR NOVAËS (1895-1979)

This great Brazilian pianist's first recordings were made for Victor between 1919 and 1927. All of these are available on MUSIC & ARTS 702. From the late 1930s until 1948, Novaës made a series of discs for American Columbia. Roughly half of her Columbia releases have been reissued on PEARL 0170, coupled with redundant transfers of some of the Victor releases. Here is an unfortunate example of Pearl clearly missing the chance to offer the complete Novaës Columbia works on one CD; these recordings include repertoire she never recorded elsewhere. Fortunately all of her 78 rpm discs, for Victor and for American Columbia, can now be had in new transfers by Seth Winner on APR 6015 (two CDs), easily superseding the earlier reissues. Some previously unreleased Chopin that Novaës recorded for Columbia can be found in MUSIC & ARTS 1029 (two CDs), coupled with a sonically problematic offering of her 1949 Town Hall recital. The bulk of Novaes's recorded legacy lies in her early LP series for Vox (some of which are now on Vox CDs), followed by her LPs on American Decca and Vanguard.


MARIE NOVELLO (1898-1928)

A Leschetizky pupil who died of cancer at the age of 30, Novello made numerous discs for Edison-Bell. Two of them are included in PEARL OPAL 9839 (Pupils of Leschetizky).

NIKOLAI ORLOFF (1892-1964)

Orloff was a Russian-born pupil of Igumnov who eventually settled in the UK and became renowned as a Chopin interpreter. Unfortunately he made barely an hour's worth of recordings for English Decca in 1945. All of these, consisting of the Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1 conducted by Anatole Fistoulari and a group of short Chopin works, can now be obtained in transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn on Decca Eloquence 482 8710.



This eccentric genius made records for G&T, HMV, Victor, and English Columbia between 1907 and 1927. A complete Pachmann edition, which fills four CDs, is available on the Marston label (54003). It contains several previously unreleased sides. Three CDs used to be available on the defunct Dante label, with barely adequate transfers. A Pearl Opal CD (9840) has a cross-section of Pachmann material in noisy transfers with no documentation of its sources. There are two separate ARBITER CDs (129 and 141) containing a selective overview of Pachmann's discs, with a number of previously unreleased items. Of special significance are the earliest Pachmann recordings (through 1909) included in APR 5531 (Piano G&Ts, volume 1).



A complete edition of Paderewski's copious recorded output, which extends from 1911 to 1938 for HMV and Victor, is finally available from APR in three separate packages. A five-CD box (7505), produced in 2016, contains the complete Victor recordings in new transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. A major 2008 release from APR (6006, two CDs) offers all of Paderewski's earliest and rarest discs from 1911 and 1912, some of which remained unissued until now. The transfers (by Seth Winner) have been highly praised. Unfortunately another APR disc (5636), devoted to Paderewski’s final (1937-38) recordings, cannot be recommended owing to the dismal transfer work of Bryan Crimp, replete with heavy-handed processing and digital artifacts. Although this material shows Paderewski well past his prime, the recordings deserve far better restorations. Naxos has issued a single CD survey of Paderewski recordings from 1914 to 1930 with transfers by Ward Marston (8.112058). An earlier series of single Paderewski CDs from Pearl are now superseded by the APR productions.

The Philips "Great Pianists" series includes a volume devoted to Paderewski. Here may be found yet another of the production blunders that are characteristic of that undertaking. The track claimed to be Paderewski's performance of Liszt's "La Leggierezza" is actually the Moiseiwitsch recording. Philips also maintains that this "Paderewski" recording uses Moiseiwitsch's ending, oblivious of the common knowledge that both players employ a coda written by their teacher, Leschetizky.


    MARIE PANTHES (1871-1955)

Russian-born but French-trained, Panthès performed throughout Europe and taught at the Geneva Conservatory. She made four discs for French Columbia (1934-36) and two more after WW2 for the Pacific label, concentrating largely on Chopin. All are now available in good transfers on Sakuraphon SKRP-78001.


EGON PETRI (1881-1962)

One of the most significant Busoni disciples, and teacher of John Ogdon, Earl Wild, Grant Johannesen and others, this great Dutch virtuoso recorded many 78s. A comprehensive survey of his discs up to 1942 is available on three volumes from APR: 7023, 7024, and 7027 (two CDs in each). Most of the earliest sides in 7023, however, are transferred a half-step sharp. Fortunately, in 2015 APR  released of a 7-CD set (7701) with improved remasterings of the same material plus all of Petri's American Columbia discs from 1945 through 1951. Included are 10 previously unpublished Brahms pieces.

Three Pearl CDs (9916, 9966, and 9078) duplicate some of the same material, coupled with various private Petri recordings. MUSIC & ARTS 722 is a four-CD collection of live and radio performances from Petri's final years. Duplicating three live Beethoven Sonatas from the latter release is PEARL GEM 0149. Unlike the quieter M&A versions, these hiss-ridden transfers (by Roger Beardsley) are partly done at the wrong pitch (Op.109, for instance, begins properly in E major, but slowly drops into E-Flat, while Op.111 ends in B major instead of C).

Another MUSIC & ARTS CD (1052) includes a live 1941 New York performance by Petri of Busoni's Indian Fantasy conducted by Mitropoulos. A recent ARBITER CD (134) devoted to Busoni and his pupils offers for the first time some 1930s broadcasts of Petri in Liszt's "Totentanz" (nearly complete) and a portion of the Busoni Concerto.


ISIDOR PHILIPP (1863-1958)

Philipp, the eminent French pedagogue, made only a few recordings. The main items - Saint-Saëns sonatas for cello and violin (with Pascal and Bazelaire) - may be obtained on PEARL 9174, together with an aircheck of Philipp playing his own solo piece "Black Swans".


FRANCIS PLANTÉ (1839-1934)

All of this legendary French pianist's recordings were made at his home in 1928, when he was 89. Some but not all of them are included in PEARL OPAL 9857, inexplicably coupled with some but not all of Ricardo Viñes's discs. Here is a prime example of poor planning: had Pearl wished to bother, it would not have been difficult to devote separate CDs to the complete recordings of each of these important players. Fortunately, Ward Marston has recently undertaken new transfers of all of Planté's recordings. His CD (Marston L 002) is available to online or mail-order customers of his regular piano reissues. Finally, ARBITER 150 also contains transfers of Planté's discs (along with other French pianists) plus extensive annotations about Planté and his career.



A student of Essipova who eventually settled in England, Pouishnoff made the first recording of Schubert's G Major Sonata (D.894) in 1928. This and a variety of other Pouishnoff recordings have been assembled on PEARL 9029. A 2-CD set of his complete 78s, with excellent transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn, can be found on APR 6022. A major recent find is a live Pouishnoff performance of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.2, given in London in 1946. It may be heard on MARSTON 52073 ("Landmarks of Recorded Pianism").



Poulenc's 78s consist entirely of his own music. PEARL 9311 provides an overview of these important discs. In 1950, Poulenc recorded some pieces by his musical godfather Erik Satie, as well as a few of his own works, for American Columbia. These were reissued on Masterworks Portrait 47684.



Prokofieff made the first recording of his Concerto No.3 in 1932, along with some of his shorter piano pieces in 1935. All are available on NAXOS 8.110670 or on PEARL 9470.


RAOUL PUGNO (1852-1914)

This eminent French virtuoso recorded 18 sides for the French branch of G&T in 1903. All are available on PEARL OPAL 9836. Thirteen of the Pugno titles have been included in APR 5532 (Piano G&Ts, volume 2). A new reissue on MARSTON 52054 (two CDs) offers the complete Pugno discs with the elimination of most of the distracting flutter that has afflicted earlier incarnations. The set also includes the complete Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, and Diémer--in other words, the rarest of all the early piano recordings.



RCA's so-called "Complete Rachmaninoff" edition (61265, ten CDs) is reasonably complete except for its exclusion of the surviving alternative takes. The alternative electrical version of the Concerto No.2, for example (used in the LP reissues), was once available on BIDDULPH LHW 036. Both electrical versions can now be heard together on PRISTINE 521 in excellent Obert-Thorn transfers. RCA's "Red Seal Century" compilation (63861, two discs) includes a previously unreleased Rachmaninoff track from 1935 of his transcription of Bach's E Major Violin Preludio, pre-dating by seven years the more familiar version.

RCA has now reissued the same "complete" collection under a new catalog number (67892) and in a space-saving package, replacing the previous version. Unfortunately whoever produced the new version was either too lazy or too cheap to include essential discographical information in the accompanying booklet.

NAXOS has released transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn of Rachmaninoff playing his four concertos and Paganini Rhapsody: 8.110601 and 8.110602. Also, NAXOS 8.110968 contains the three Rachmaninoff/Kreisler sonata recordings along with their alternative version of the Beethoven Op.30 No.3 Sonata. In addition, Rachmaninoff's electrical solo discs are available in new Marston transfers on NAXOS 8.112020, 8.112058, and 8.111397. Finally, NAXOS has engaged Ward Marston for transfers of all of Rachmaninoff's acoustical discs, including for the first time all existing alternative takes from his initial (1919) Edison series. This project (three separate CDs) may be found on Naxos 8.111407, 8.111408, and 8.111413.

A significant addition to the Rachmaninoff discography is MARSTON 53022 (three discs), released in September 2018. The major item is a previously-unknown private recording from 1940 with Rachmaninoff playing his newly-composed Symphonic Dances as a solo piano work. The recording was made just before the world premiere by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Additional rare Rachmaninoff material is included, such as the surviving portion of the 1931 experimental Bell Laboratories tests, plus performances  by Moiseiwitsch, Mitropoulos and others.


WALTER REHBERG (1900-1957)

This Swiss pianist, almost completely forgotten today, recorded copiously for Polydor during the 1920s and 30s. Among his discs are the first-ever recordings of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy and the Schumann Op.17 Fantasy. Until now, none of these records has been transferred to CD. APR 7309 (three discs), contains a comprehensive selection of Rehberg's playing in superb transfers by Ward Marston.


ROSITA RENARD (1894-1949)

An essentially complete edition of this superb Chilean pianist's recordings, drawn from Brunswick and Victor 78s as well as her 1949 Carnegie Hall recital, can be obtained on VAI 1023 (two discs).


EDUARD RISLER (1873-1929)

Around 1917 this highly regarded French pianist recorded 18 sides on the Pathé-Actuelle label. All have been available on SYMPOSIUM 1297 in barely acceptable, heavily noise-ridden transfers. Furthermore, the Symposium booklet fails to provide even basic discographic detail. Fortunately, a more professional handling of these valuable discs can be found in new Marston transfers on that label's "Lagniappe" series (L 005).



Apparently the only pupil of Henri Herz to make records, Roger-Miclos recorded some short works for Fonotipia in 1905 and 1906. One of them, Schumann's "Traumeswirren", may be heard on IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists"). All but one of the remaining sides may now be found on TAHRA 653/4 along with material by other French women pianists.


LANDON RONALD (1873-1938)

This British musician was, along with Grünfeld, one of the first two pianists to record on flat discs. Five of his early G&Ts are available on APR 5531. They are not especially significant musically, but Ronald would go on to earn some fame as a house conductor for HMV, accompanying concerto recordings by the likes of Lamond, DeGreef, Moiseiwitsch, Cortot and Backhaus.



All the then-known recordings of this important pupil of Liszt, Mikuli, and Joseffy were given systematic attention by APR in 2011. This 5-CD set (APR 7503) contains new transfers by Ward Marston of Rosenthal's complete recorded legacy. Some of his other discs have previously appeared on various CDs. A two-disc APR set (7002) contains his complete HMV recordings. Two separate CDs on BIDDULPH offer Rosenthal's American recordings for Edison and for Victor (LHW 039), and an assortment of his Chopin performances other than those on HMV, including the Concerto No.1 (LHW 040). Further collections devoted to Rosenthal are PEARL 9963 and 9339. His rarest disc is a Japanese Columbia 78 with an alternative take of Chopin's Waltz in C-Sharp Minor. A dub of the only known copy may be found in IPAM 1206 ("A Multitude of Pianists"). A previously unissued test of Rosenthal playing Chopin's E Minor Waltz is now available on MARSTON 52073 ("Landmarks of Recorded Pianism.") And yet another unknown Rosenthal recording has recently come to light: Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 from a 1929 Edison Hour broadcast. It differs dramatically from his familiar 1930 Ultraphon version (see "Landmarks of Recorded Pianism, Vol.2" - MARSTON 52075).



Rubinstein's 78rpm period began with his 1928 HMV discs and continued with RCA Victor during the 1940s. Generally the best transfers are those by Ward Marston in the first 16 volumes of the mammoth "Rubinstein Collection" produced by BMG Classics/RCA Red Seal (63001 through 63016). Also well-engineered are the EMI sets of Rubinstein's Chopin Concertos, Scherzos, Polonaises, Nocturnes and Mazurkas from the 1930s (64491, 64697). Although the Naxos Historical series offers much of Rubinstein's early Chopin, the dull, drab transfer work from Marina and Victor Ledin is sufficient cause to avoid these CDs.


WALTER RUMMEL (1887-1953)

A Godowsky pupil who had a rather colorful life and career, Rummel recorded works of Bach, Chopin, Liszt and others on various 78s. A selection of them was formerly available on DANTE HPC 027. The well-researched biography of Rummel, by Charles Timbrell (Scarecrow Press) includes a bonus CD with a nearly complete survey of Rummel's recorded legacy in transfers by Ward Marston.