P1117. WILHELM BACKHAUS: Sonata #6 in F; Sonata #12 in A-Flat; 'Moonlight' Sonata #14 in c-sharp (all Beethoven), Live Performance, 19 May, 1953, Paris; w.AMADEUS QUARTET: Piano Quintet in f (Brahms), Live Performance, 14 Aug., 1953, Menton. (Germany) Meloclassic 1007. Final sealed copy! - 791154050071
"…someone so well versed in the music, so utterly familiar with even the tiniest twist or turn in line or harmony, [Backhaus’] playing sounds like an extension of natural speaking."
- Rob Cowan, GRAMOPHONE, June, 2006
"Wilhelm Backhaus was one of the greatest German pianists of the 20th Century….His slow movements, though not unfeeling, lack the poetic qualities of Schnabel’s, but the compensation is that he was a far better pianist technically."
- John P. McKelvey, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2004
“Wilhelm Backhaus made a concert début in Leipzig at the age of eight, and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Reckendorf. In 1899 he left Leipzig to study with Eugène d'Albert in Frankfurt am Main. He made a major début tour in 1900 and quickly gained a fine reputation as a player and as a teacher. His American début was on 5 January, 1912, in New York, playing the Beethoven Piano ‘Emperor’ Concerto with Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony Orchestra. In 1930 he moved to Lugano and acquired Swiss citizenship. Backhaus established a teaching career there and continued to make concert tours throughout his long life. His last U.S. appearance was in New York in 1962, at age 78; reviews judged that his powers were undiminished. He died on 5 July, 1969, in Villach, Austria, where he had gone to make a concert appearance.
Especially during the later phase of his career he had a remarkably high reputation as a pianist whose devotion to the composer's intentions was total and unselfish. His performances were in the classic line of those that strove to present the music in one broadly viewed arc of concept and logic, embracing not just single movements but entire works. His recorded output ranges from Mozart through the main Classical and Romantic repertoire. It is not surprising that his work was particularly excellent when he encountered those composers who built large-scale, logically constructed classical works, such as Beethoven and Brahms; in reference to his recordings of such works, terms like ‘magisterial’, ‘exemplary’, and ‘direct’ have often been employed by reviewers. Late in his life he came to be regarded as a Beethoven specialist, and he recorded virtually the entire corpus of keyboard works of that master, as well as extensive groups of Brahms and Mozart, and works by Schumann, Grieg, Chopin, and Liszt, including concerti and solo works. He also made some chamber music recordings, notably of Brahms' cello sonatas with Pierre Fournier, and a notable account of the Schubert ‘Trout’ Quintet.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“Meloclassic was founded in by Lynn Ludwig in Germany in December 2013, the label dedicated to releasing previously unissued historical recordings of live radio performances and broadcasts. Whenever possible, the discs include original radio announcements and applause. The recordings are meant to serve as historical documents. The sound quality tends to remain extraordinarily quiet, with no trace of tape or wire hiss."
—Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, 20 July, 2014
"According to its website, Meloclassic is a ‘non-profit organisation dedicated to releasing previously unissued historical recordings of live radio performances and broadcasts’. The first thing to say is that the material, or most of it, is of exceptional artistic interest, and the sound (which is for the most part extremely clean) is thankfully free of excessive filtering….I look forward to hearing further releases in the not-too-distant future.”
- Rob Cowan, GRAMOPHONE, April, 2014
"Presentation is in a digipack with notes ‘tipped’ in – with excellent photographs, by the way, and helpful text, in English in the case of my copy. Surveying the available discs and seeing details of some of those to come - many violinists, chamber ensembles and pianists – I have no hesitation in saying that this is potentially the most exciting tranche of broadcast material to be made available in many years."
- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWebInternational, 14 June, 2014