Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

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Lance
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Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:56 am

Raymond Lewenthal: The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection, RCA/Sony Classical 85364, 8 CDs

I have been waiting for this since it was announced months ago. All of Lewenthal's RCA and Columbia recordings are included in the box with original covers and booklet. The surprise was to find two discs of never-released recordings of Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage, Book 1, (Switzerland) and Book 2 (Italy), recorded in 1966 at Webster Hall, NYC. Book 3 (Italy) was supposed to be recorded as well but the project was abandoned. The booklet notes [Raymond Lewenthal: The Caped Crusader] by Jed Distler gives much information about the pianist who, apparently was very difficult to deal with, even as a professor at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC. The eighth disc recorded in 1969 and 1970 hears Mr. Lewenthal discuss and illustrate at the piano. Part of this was issued on a 7-inch LP enclosed with one of his Columbia LPs when issued initially. The booklet quotes Farhan Malik: "The RCA LP is in many ways the finest Alkan record ever made." I would have to agree totally with Mr. Malik on that statement and I have 99.5% of every recording of Alkan's music ever issued! This set might be the best piano boxed set issued in 2019! I very HIGHLY recommend it to pianophiles. •
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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maestrob
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by maestrob » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:32 am

Thank you, Lance, as always, for keeping us informed. This is a must-buy for me!

John F
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by John F » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:48 pm

According to Seth Winner, Lewwenthal's last recording session for RCA Victor found him in such bad technical shape that nothing releasable could be made from it. Presumably the unpublished material in tis box are from an earlier and less disastrous session. Wikipedia says he died of a heart condition, but I heard that he had a drinking problem.

I remember well the WBAI broadcast as I was one of their staff announcers at the time. Like most people I'd never heard of Alkan,and was astonished at what I heard. This was before Lewenthal's Alkan edition and his first recordings of Alkan for Victor. What I don't remember was Lewenthal coming across as a flamboyant personality as he did later in the '60s.
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barney
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by barney » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:23 pm

John F wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:48 pm
Wikipedia says he died of a heart condition, but I heard that he had a drinking problem.

Don't we all? We don't get enough of it. As Oscar Wilde, who Sue just cited in another thread, rightly observed, work is the curse of the drinking classes.

John F
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by John F » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:09 pm

Not funny. Too many careers and lives have been ruined. One victim was the American tenor Jerry Hadley, who committed suicide in 2007, a year after he was arrested for attempting to drive while intoxicated.
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Belle » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:20 pm

John F wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:09 pm
Not funny. Too many careers and lives have been ruined. One victim was the American tenor Jerry Hadley, who committed suicide in 2007, a year after he was arrested for attempting to drive while intoxicated.
That was a real tragedy with Jerry Hadley; he had a beautiful voice and I was terribly shocked when he died. What in the world....?? I'll never understand alcoholism and this destroyed one of my acting idols, Oskar Werner (and, of course, countless others).

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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:25 pm

Indeed, Hadley had quite a career going much due in part to Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland. He made a number of fine recordings as well.
John F wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:09 pm
Not funny. Too many careers and lives have been ruined. One victim was the American tenor Jerry Hadley, who committed suicide in 2007, a year after he was arrested for attempting to drive while intoxicated.
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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Rach3
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Rach3 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:04 pm

His was the first lp recording ( I believe ) of the Scriabin Op.11 Preludes.I have that lp. An interesting, but uneven pianist.

Rach3
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Rach3 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:07 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:04 pm
His was the first lp recording ( I believe ) of the Scriabin Op.11 Preludes.I have that lp...
But it was on a 1956 Westminster lp recorded in NYC , not on RCA or Columbia.The lp also contains the last five Preludes, Op.74, Vers la flamme, Op.72, Fantasie,Op.28, as well as the complete Op.11. The 1956 perhaps his debut US recording ?

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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:28 pm

When Lewenthal was in top form, he was outstanding, and unforgettable … at least in most everything I have of him on discs. You could be right about Lewenthal's being the first recording of the Scriabin 24 Preludes, Op. 11. That has since been released on a fabulous set from Deutsche Grammophon 10-CD boxed set entitled "The Liszt Legacy," which is a bit of a misnomer for this set. The other pianists included are Arrau, De Larrocha, Moiseiwitsch (his American Decca recordings on CD for the first time) and Egon Petri. Much of this material first appeared on Westminster or American Decca LPs. The two discs devoted to Lewenthal are wonderful to have available again. (Much encore material as well from him).
Rach3 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:04 pm
His was the first lp recording ( I believe ) of the Scriabin Op.11 Preludes.I have that lp. An interesting, but uneven pianist.
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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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by John F » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:11 pm

"The Liszt Legacy"? As you say, a misnomer, as none of the pianists studied with Liszt or had any connection with him other than that each of them played some of Liszt's piano music.
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Rach3 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:23 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hoaIZXCHU8 (Lewenthal recording of Henselt PC with score ).

From the YT poster :

“"Robert Schumann wrote glowingly about the concerto, and his wife Clara rushed to perform it shortly after its publication. Liszt and Hans von Bülow, too, would play it passionately. [...]
Liszt accomplished the unheard of: to sight-read the F minor concerto in a rehearsal in Leipzig from its manuscript. Henselt proceeded to record this event therein, adding that this feat never was nor ever will be equalled by anyone. Of such difficulty was the concerto that not even the composer felt satisfied with his own rendition and never publicly performed it." [translated from German]
- Marie Lipsius: Musikalische Studienköpfe. Vol 3 Ch. 2.
https://gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/musik ... eit-6958/2

Lewenthal adds a few octaves of his own at the very end of first mov.Not my fav Romantic PC by far, but agree worth hearing ( and seeing ,eg.second mov. at 15:22 on ! ).No need for a cadenza ; what was left to be said ?!

John F
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by John F » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:27 pm

Grieg brought his piano concerto to Liszt who proceeded to play it at sght, solo and orchestral parts, to Grieg's amazement. Did any other musician have this extraordinary ability?.
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:33 am

John F wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:27 pm
Grieg brought his piano concerto to Liszt who proceeded to play it at sght, solo and orchestral parts, to Grieg's amazement. Did any other musician have this extraordinary ability?.
Interesting question, John. Making music of what one sight-reads is a miraculous talent. Being able to read an orchestral score and translating it to two-hand piano, all while being musical is a talent that only one musician known to me possessed, Kurt Saffir, who was my coach and accompanist from NYCO during the 1980's. Kurt could take a Hugo Weisgall score and make music from it in rehearsal, according to my then voice teacher who starred in the lead role at City Opera. I often brought Kurt scores of standard repertoire (Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, etc.), as well as song material which he would read through and record for me: Kurt was the first to encourage me to become a conductor. Kurt had the talent to read through all the Haydn string quartets when he was a young teenager, as I recall.

Once during auditions for my competition, a young coloratura soprano dropped an orchestral score in front of my pianist, Regina Yakobsiner, who proceeded to sight-read the aria by Handel with fine musicianship. Regina had been an assistant conductor with Gergiev's Maryinsky Theatre during the 1990's before she was brought here by Igor Kipnis, so she was not in the least troubled by the challenge!

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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by barney » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:11 pm

John F wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:27 pm
Grieg brought his piano concerto to Liszt who proceeded to play it at sght, solo and orchestral parts, to Grieg's amazement. Did any other musician have this extraordinary ability?.
I am sure that in Swafford's biography of Brahms there is a story where he turned up for a concert to find the piano a semi-tone out of tune, and simply transposed as he played. That's an incredible thing to do.

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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by John F » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:31 am

Actually, such transpositions are required of accompanists all the time. Gerald Moore has a chapter on the subject in "The Unashamed Accompanist" :

Gerald Moore wrote:A good accompanist is expected to be adept at transposition. Frequently singers will ask him to put up or put down a song a half tone, a whole tone, or more. This has been known to happen frequently just before emerging onto the concert platform...
Moore tells of accompanying a Russian bass in a Schubert song, in the original key. "Evidently he found that key a little bit uncomfortable because he turned to me and said, 'Is too high.' I said, 'Is too high?' He said, 'Is too high.' 'Well,' I said,' I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll put it down half a tone.' We went right through it again. This time he turned to me and he said, 'Is too low.' I said, 'Is too low?' He said, 'Is too low.' I showed him with my fingers, playing it in both keys. He looked at these two notes for a long time and then he said, 'Have you nothing in between?'"

As for the Brahms, Moore writes: "We are told that Brahms was once playing the Kreutzer Sonata with a violinist. The piano was so flat that the violinist asked Brahms to transpose the whole sonata a half-tone higher, so that he would not have to tune the violin strings down. Only a giant such as Brahms could have accomplished such a feat, but I still wonder if he managed to play all the notes. If he did,it was a prodigious feat. Assuming that he did, the wonder of it lies in the physical facility which enabled Brahms's fingers and hands to adapt themselves to the different fingering and hand positions that the new key demanded, not so much in the fact that his brain was capable at a glance of seeing the whole piece in a strange key. Reading the Kreutzer Sonata away from the pianoforte, as we would read the newspaper, Brahms could have transposed it into any key. Many a good pianist today could read the Kreutzer and transpose it in his mind into A flat or A sharp, but to play it in those strange keys would be another matter; the notes would no longer be 'under the hand.'"
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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by barney » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:26 pm

Thanks, John. Fascinating.
Love the "have you nothing inbetween?" He was just 50 years too early for modern microtonal music.

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Re: Raymond Lewenthal Set Arrived Today!

Post by Lance » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:50 pm

The more I hear this remastered set, the more I like it. I have connected with the IPAM in Maryland about whether they have a lot of material of Lewenthal in live performances. They DO! They would like to issue a two- or three-CD set but need the funds to accomplish such a project. Given that we have had a lot of hits on this thread, it appears that interest in Lewenthal is more than casual. I hope IPAM can find the financing for this project. The release of the RCA-Sony (Columbia) issues of Lewenthal set may do much to illustrate the interest in the pianist.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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