P0088. ERNST LEVY, Forgotten Genius, Vol. II, incl. Sonatas Nos. 31, 47, 60 & 61 (Haydn); Sonatas Nos. 23, 27, 28, 30 & 31 (Beethoven); Fantasy in d, K.397 (Mozart); Frühlingsstimmen (Johann Strauss), (the latter two from 1929 recordings). 2-Marston 52021. Transfers by Ward Marston. Very Long out-of-print, Final Rare Original Sealed Copy! - 638335202129
“During his tenure as the NEW YORKER’s classical music correspondent in the 1970s Andrew Porter made a special plea for the reissue of Ernst Levy’s American Unicorn recordings from the ’50s. More than two decades later his wish came true via a double CD set from Marston. Volume Two restores the remainder of these collector’s items to circulation. This is big playing from a technical and intellectual standpoint, to say nothing of the Swiss musician’s proud, deep-in-the-keys sonority, excellently captured via Peter Bartók’s engineering. Disc one opens with four Haydn sonatas, all projected with fleetness and wit in the finales, with operatically inspired slow movements. Levy’s way with late Beethoven (the Op. 90, 101, 109, and 110 Sonatas, plus the Appassionata Op.57) proves equally compelling and individual. His style fuses the best qualities of several eminent Beethovenians: Backhaus’ elemental spirit, Schnabel’s thundering angularity, Arrau’s spacious detail, and Serkin’s nervous energy. As an addendum, producer Ward Marston includes two rare Levy 78s recorded in 1929: the Mozart d minor Fantasy K.397 and Johann Strauss, Jr.’s ‘Voices of Spring’. The Mozart is a shade reticent, while the Strauss is dispatched with dutiful efficiency, yet little charm. Excellent, insightful annotations from Donald Manildi, Gregor Benko, and Frank Cooper add luster to this significant reissue.”
- Jed Distler, Classics Today
"Volume Two lives up to the expectations generated by the earlier set. Levy is technically outstanding, architecturally and intellectually probing, a musician of conviction and powerfully individualized responses. For people who don't know him - and that's most people - they can now more fully become acquainted with a pianist who treats Beethoven as the colossus he is. In no small measure Marston adds to the merit by virtue of transfer quality and notes - in this volume a joint essay by Donald Manildi and Gregor Benko and a musical discussion by Frank Cooper. Responses to Levy will be definitively polarised but he's a pianist who demands to be heard."
- Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international.com
"Another important piano discovery, Ernst Lévy, remains unknown to all but the most dedicated piano buffs - he is not even mentioned in Schonberg's book on the great pianists - these defiantly personalized performances are utterly free of convention and burn with conviction."
- Peter G. Davis, NEW YORK, 24 Aug., 1998