P0073. ARTUR SCHNABEL, w.Sargent Cond. London S.O.: 'Emperor' Concerto #5 in E-flat, recorded 24 March, 1932; ARTUR SCHNABEL & GREGOR PIATIAGORSKY: Cello Sonata #2 in g, recorded 6 & 16 Dec., 1934 (both Beethoven). (Canada) Naxos 8.110640. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. Final Copy! - 63694316420
"The more I hear of Schnabel's Beethoven, the less I desire to hear other pianists in this literature. I know that this is a narrow-minded attitude, but I have never heard any other pianist who could approach this kind of vital and profound music-making. Much has been said about Schnabel's supremacy in the late Sonatas, but his mastery of these early works is also supreme. He brings to these works a sparkle and restless vitality in the fast movements that makes the music come alive as no one else can. And he has the courage to respect the extreme slow tempi of the slow movements. The Rondo a capricio 'Rage over a Lost Penny' is breathtaking in its drive, yet all the charm and wit of the piece is there. Once you hear Schnabel, no one else will do.”
- Ralph J. Steinberg
"Schnabel was known for championing the then-neglected sonatas of Schubert and, even more so, Beethoven, including his more challenging late works. Schnabel did much to popularize Beethoven's piano music, making the first complete recording of the sonatas, completing the set for the British label HMV in 1935. This set of recordings has never been out of print, and is considered by many to be the touchstone of Beethoven sonata interpretations, though shortcomings in finger technique mar many performances of fast movements. (Sergei Rachmaninoff is supposed to have referred to him as 'the great adagio pianist'. It has been said that he suffered greatly from nerves when recording; in a more private setting, his technique was impeccable. Claudio Arrau has said that Schnabel's live performances during the 1920s were technically flawless. He also recorded all the Beethoven piano concerti."
“Gregor Piatigorsky began playing the cello at the age of seven and was admitted to the Moscow Conservatory at nine, studying there with Alfred von Glehn. In 1919, he joined the Lenin Quartet and was appointed principal cellist of the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra. In 1921, Piatigorsky left the Soviet Union, going to Leipzig by way of Warsaw, and studied for a time with Julius Klengel. Furtwängler appointed him principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1924 where he came into contact with the leading German musicians of the time, including Schnabel and Flesch, with whom he formed a trio. In 1928, Piatigorsky left Berlin to concentrate on a solo career, which began triumphantly with his New York debut in 1929. Although Piatigorsky concertized regularly as a soloist, he continued his activity as a chamber musician. Starting in 1930, he formed a trio with Horowitz and Milstein, and later, in 1949 with Heifitz and Rubinstein. In 1961, Piatigorsky and Heifitz formed a chamber music series in Los Angeles, much of which was recorded, and remain among the treasures of chamber music performances.
For many years Piatigorsky directed the chamber music program at Tanglewood, helped found the Meadowmount School, succeed Emanuel Feuermann as professor of cello at the Curtis Institute, and in 1962 became a professor at the University of Southern California. His legacy as a teacher remains a powerful fixture in the world of cello playing; his famous students include Erling Blöndal Bengtsson, Mischa Maisky, and Nathaniel Rosen, among many others. Piatigorsky was known for his Romantic expressiveness and virtuosic flair, and was at his best in the big nineteenth and early twentieth century concerto repertory. He premiered works by Walton, Hindemith, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, published a number of original works and arrangements for the cello, and collaborated with Stravinsky on his 'Suite Italienne'. Widely revered and honored, Piatigorsky was one of the most important and influential musicians of his generation.”
- Steven Coburn, allmusic.com