Academic journal article ARSC Journal

TownHall Records

Academic journal article ARSC Journal

TownHall Records

Article excerpt

TownHall Records has issued the 2-CD collection The Schnabels--A Musical Legacy, devoted to rare studio and live recordings by pianist Artur Schnabel, his son Karl Ulrich, daughter-in-law Helen (Fogel), and his wife, soprano Therese Behr-Schnabel (THCD74AB; www.townhallrecords.com). The collection was sponsored by The Schnabel Music Foundation (www.schnabelmusicfoundation.com), and produced by Lincoln Mayorga with Ann and Frangois Mottier, daughter and son-in-law of Karl Ulrich (audiophiles will remember Mayorga as producer of many sonic-ally-outstanding direct-to-disc recordings on the Sheffield Lab label in the 1970s and 1980s, and as the fine pianist who appeared on many of them). In 1934 Karl Ulrich recorded 19 of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words for HMV; they were issued in the U.S. as Victor Set M-226 (6 discs). Strangely, these very poetic readings had never been reissued on LP or CD, so their inclusion in this new Schnabel family collection is most welcome. In Schubert's Trio in B-flat, recorded c.1936 for HMV, Karl Ulrich is joined hy violinist Alphonse Onnou and cellist Robert Mass, and the performance proves to be one of the highlights of the collection. Like his father, Karl Ulrich and his collaborators find the ideal balance between the classic and romantic elements in the work, with fine playing by all involved. Helen Schnabel's stylish classicism is heard in an early 1950s studio recording of C.P.E. Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D-major, with the Vienna Philharmonia Orchestra (an ad-hoc ensemble not to be confused with the Vienna Philharmonic) conducted by F. Charles Adler, on whose SPA label the recording first appeared. In 1932 Therese Behr-Schnabel recorded lieder by Schubert, Schumann and Brahms for HMV, accompanied by her husband. Twelve titles were issued, and the TownHall collection contains three previously unpublished items, "Waldesgespracht" from Liederkreis hy Schumann, plus "Der Lindenhaum" from Wintereisse" and "An die Musk" by Schubert, Much has been written about the 56-year old soprano's voice being "well past its best," so I won't dwell further on that suhject. …

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