Music and Vision homepage

Record Box

Trawling for treasure

BILL NEWMAN seeks out Golden Age performers now reinstated on CD

BBC    BBCL 4054-2

BBC Legends - Fischer (c) 2000 BBC Music


A few days after Annie Fischer played Brahms' F minor Sonata at the Royal Festival Hall, I was at a Christmas Party at Abbey Road Studios. I asked Ronald Kinloch Anderson why Annie Fischer did not record the work for EMI? 'Oh, she did' he replied, 'but afterwards we found that one of the microphones was faulty, and she had already returned home'.

I was disconsolate, having caught the atmosphere of the audience's vision of a frail-looking lady who did not appear equal to the physical task demanded by such a fearsome work. She had already communicated her natural depth of poetic understanding in Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann in a Sunday afternoon event. This Brahms performance was to live in my memory for many years.

Colossal in its daring, mysterious in its wayward excursions into the unknown, it reminded me of the young Brahms arriving on the Schumann's doorstep about to startle Robert and Clara with this new Sonata. Having heard it there would be realisation that a musical saviour was about to make his mark.

Compared to great pianists like Backhaus, Edwin Fischer and Solomon, the element of discovery in this Usher Hall, Edinburgh performance in 1961 is the realisation that here again is the mastery of a sensitive artist giving life and purpose to noble music [listen -- track 1, 7:34-8:27].

Bartók's 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs are played with the inherent feelings of a Hungarian artist. It is surprising to note that Annie Fischer's only Bartók recording is of the Third Piano Concerto. Two familiar pieces by Liszt -- Un sospiro and Grande Etudes de Paganini No 6 - are highly expressive accounts, and the encore was Dohnányi's Rhapsody in C, a one-time favourite.

Continue >>


Copyright © 6 June 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK







 << Music & Vision home      Recent reviews       Early songbook >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.

Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews