P0694. HAROLD BAUER: The Complete Recordings, incl. Bach, Gluck, Handel, Couperin, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Schütt, Grieg, Mendelssohn & Liszt. (England) 3–Appian APR 7302, recorded 1924-42. Transfers by Ward Marston. - 5024709173020
"Modern day pianists and pedagogues probably know Harold Bauer as the dedicatee of Ravel's ‘Ondine’ from GASPARD DE LA NUIT, or for his sometimes-controversial piano editions published by G. Schirmer. However, Bauer's recorded legacy upholds his reputation as a sensitive, poetic pianist blessed with a ravishing tone and plenty of technique. In fact, Bauer's easy keyboard command belies the fact that this former violinist was a late starter at the piano. Just sample the Brahms f minor sonata's gnarly odd-numbered movements, the Beethoven ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Appassionata’ finales, or the most finger-twisting of Schumann's FANTASIESTÜCKE and hear for yourself.
Not surprisingly for a pianist born in 1873, Bauer's style contains its fair share of period mannerisms, such as playing the left hand slightly before the right, yet these always are employed with the utmost musicality and taste. And when it comes to color, nuance, and atmosphere, Bauer yields nothing to his colleagues of the era, as borne out in the Chopin Berceuse's disarming dynamic gradations, the aristocratically-phrased Liszt ‘Waldesrauschen’ and ’Un Sospiro’, a rewarding group of previously unpublished Grieg ‘Lyric Pieces’ recorded in 1942, and the Brahms sonata's Intermezzo.
Note that this three-disc set is complete insofar as Bauer's solo recordings; it lacks his fascinating Brahms f minor piano quintet with the Flonzaley Quartet and, of course, his classic two-piano sides with Ossip Gabrilowitsch. Still, Ward Marston's new transfers wring more detail than ever from original source material that ranges from quite good for its time (the 1935 London Schumann FANTASIESTÜCKE) to rather less so (the 1939 Schirmer label sessions). Self-recommending to historic piano recording enthusiasts."
-Jed Distler, Classics Today.com, May, 2009
"...you'll hear that Bauer had a decided nineteenth-century outlook, first noticeable in his remarkably voluptuous tone, as fat and sexy as Ignace Friedman, but used much more discretely and kept largely under wraps, like a bespectacled, seemingly harmless professor concealing a grand interior passion....In my pianistic fantasies I have thought, had he lived to be a hundred, Bauer might have become the Horszowski of the 1970's."
- Gregor Benko, FANFARE, March/April, 1994
"English born pianist Harold Bauer originally hoped to make his career as violinist but his piano playing so impressed Paderewski that he subsequently focused on that instrument. He had huge success in the USA and as a result became a US citizen in 1917.
Bauer was not a crowd-pleasing virtuoso firebrand but rather a true musician; there is always a wonderful poetry to his art and he excelled in miniatures, such as the Grieg presented here, though his legendary recording of the Brahms F minor sonata (still a benchmark) shows he had the requisite virtuosity when needed."
- Z. D. Akron