C0053. FELIX WEINGARTNER Cond. London S.O.: Les Preludes (Liszt); FELIX WEINGARTNER Cond. London Phil.: 11 Viennese Dances (Beethoven); FELIX WEINGARTNER Cond. Paris Conservatoire Orch., w.Emil von Sauer: Piano Concerto #1 in E-flat; Concerto #2 in A (both Liszt). (Japan) Opus Kura 2066, recorded 1938 & 1940. - 458215860663
"Sauer, even in his prime, was never simply a bravura pianist, but one who played with great style and elegance, and with a beautifully even technique. Sauer was a combination of poet and virtuoso....His interpretations are slow but beautifully contoured and give us a clue as to how Liszt himself played them - unhurried, and grand in elevation."
- David Dubal, THE ART OF THE PIANO
"At first glance, this seems like a strange combination of elements: Emil von Sauer's famous and oft-reissued 1938 recordings of the two Liszt piano concerti, along with some Beethoven dances and Liszt's Les Preludes.
The light comes on when one realizes this Opus Kura series is devoted to Felix Weingartner, not the titanic von Sauer, and are included as Weingartner was lucky enough to have von Sauer on board when he recorded these Liszt concerti. Weingartner described his personal contact with Liszt in the 1880s as the turning point in his musical life, and it is a pity he did not record more Liszt. Apart from the two numbered piano concertos with Sauer, only Les Preludes and Mephisto Waltz #1 exist under Weingartner's baton, both in recordings made with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1940."
- Uncle Dave Lewis, allmusic.com
“Felix Weingartner, who did much to shape the modern art of conducting, went on to study philosophy at Leipzig University, later attending the Leipzig Conservatory where he made the acquaintance of Liszt. Liszt persuaded him to become a conductor and helped to produce Weingartner's first opera, SAKUNTALA, at Weimar in 1884. In the same year he began his conducting career in Königsberg.
Thereafter, Weingartner was constantly on the move: Danzig (1885-1887); as Hans von Bülow's assistant in Hamburg (1887-1889); Mannheim (1889-91); Berlin's Kaim Royal Opera Orchestra (1891-1898); the Vienna Opera, where he succeeded Mahler (1898-1903); Hamburg again (1912-14); Darmstadt (1914-1919); Vienna Volksoper and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (1919-1927). Over the same period, he toured Europe, making his first visits to London in 1898 and to the U.S. in 1905, where he conducted the Boston Opera Company for its 1912-1913 season. From 1927 to 1933, he was director of the Conservatory and Symphony Orchestra in Basel, Switzerland, and returned tp the Vienna State Opera from 1935-1936. In his second period with the Vienna Opera he appeared tired, and resigned at the end of the season. In 1939, Weingartner was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
Weingartner edited the complete works of Berlioz and was one of the first to bring that composer's works back into public favor. Weingartner's arrangement of Weber's ’Invitation to the Dance’ was recorded four times by him, and he also recorded his own orchestral arrangement of Beethoven's ‘Hammerklavier’ piano sonata with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Weingartner was among the first great conductors to insist on a meticulous interpretation of the composer's score and steady, moderate tempi. While in Hamburg, he clashed with Hans von Bülow, whom he criticized for romantic exaggeration and wayward performances. In 1895, Weingartner wrote a book, ON CONDUCTING, in which he accused von Bülow of ‘wanting to divert the attention of the audience from the music to himself’.
His baton technique was refined and simple. The English critic Neville Cardus wrote this of his podium style: ‘Weingartner does not use the familiar gestures of the modern 'dictator' conductors; he retains the old fashioned belief that an instrumentalist understands how to play his notes correctly, and does not need illumination in the form of arts that scarcely belong to a conductor -- the arts of Terpsichore and declamation. His gestures are quiet; he is always dignified.... He belongs to the cultured epoch of music, the epoch of good manners, good taste and scholarship’.
Weingartner made his first recordings in 1910 with the American soprano Lucille Marcel, who became the third of his five wives. He recorded all the Beethoven symphonies, some several times, most famously with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1930s.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com