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Rudolf Firkusny

Rudolf Firkusny Edition (12CD Box Set)

From a landmark Janáček album to a previously unpublished Schubert/Mozart recording, this collection presents the Deutsche Grammophon, British and American Decca, and Westminster legacy of legendary Czech pianist Rudolf Firkušný (1912–1994), acclaimed by Stereo Review as ‘the outstanding champion of Czech piano music on the international circuit’.

30 years after his death (on 19 July 1994), there are still works in the piano repertoire that have become indelibly associated with the artistry of Rudolf Firkušný: most of all, the piano works of Leoš Janáček, whom Firkušný knew as a young student in Prague. The pianist went on to make his US debut in 1941, when he played not a repertoire warhorse but the neglected Piano Concerto by Dvořák, under Sir Thomas Beecham. Firkušný made six recordings of the Concerto across the course of a long career; the Westminster version newly remastered here was made in 1963 and conducted by Lázsló Somogyi, and has often since been placed at the head of the work’s discography along with the version recorded Sviatoslav Richter and Carlos Kleiber. Firkušný’s 1960 version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition also attracted favourable comparison with Richter for its plain-spoken virtuosity. It seemed to listeners at the time that the pianist’s patrician technique and finely-wrought musicality had been rounded out by a new passion to his playing in what became the middle of his career. Although record labels tended to pigeonhole Firkušný in Czech repertoire, his sympathies were wide, as the span of this set suggests. His 1973 recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto on Decca (with the New Philharmonia under Uri Segal) has been forgotten, though reviewers at the time thought it was finer than the more familiar Capitol recording with William Steinberg.

CD 1 MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition RAVEL Jeux d’eau; Alborada del gracioso; La Vallée des cloches CD 2 BRAHMS Cello Sonatas Pierre Fournier CD 3 JANÁČEK Tema con variazioni; On the Overgrown Path; Reminiscence CD 4 JANÁČEK Piano Sonata ‘1.X.1905’; In the Mists; Concertino; Capriccio Rafael Kubelík CD 5 BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 Uri Segal FIRST INTERNATIONAL RELEASE ON CD CD 6 BEETHOVEN Piano Sonatas Nos. 14, 8 & 21 FIRST INTERNATIONAL RELEASE ON CD CD 7 DVOŘÁK Piano Concerto László Somogyi CD 8 FRANCK Violin Sonata MOZART Violin Sonata, K. 481 Erica Morini CD 9 MOZART Violin Sonata, K. 296 BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No. 3 Erica Morini CD 10 BEETHOVEN Violin Sonatas Nos. 5 & 7 Erica Morini CD 11 BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No. 8 BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 3 Erica Morini CD 12 MOZART Duport Variations, K. 573 SCHUBERT Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major, D.960 PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED RECORDINGS ARTIST Rudolf Firkusny, piano