Annie Fischer     (Meloclassic 1016)
Item# P1124
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Annie Fischer     (Meloclassic 1016)
P1124. ANNIE FISCHER: Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert & Bartók Recital. (Germany) Meloclassic 1016, recorded 1957 (Frankfurt) & 1959 (Paris). Final sealed copy! - 791154050163


“Annie Fischer was born in Budapest 5 July, 1914, and studied with Anton Szekely and Ernst von Dohnányi at the Franz Liszt Academy to whose influence she, in later years, attributed her remarkable range and control of sonority. Like Clara Schumann she was an infant prodigy and played the Beethoven’s C major Concerto in Budapest when only eight years old. Clara first appeared at the Leipzig Gewandhaus at the age of nine. Fischer gave her international début in Zürich in 1926. By the age of 12 Fischer began to astound the rest of Europe, and again like Clara Schumann, her early promise matured and developed with every year of her life.

In 1935 she married Aladar Toth, the eminent musicologist and later director of the Budapest Opera. Their marriage was extremely happy and she derived great inspiration from Toth’s support and guidance.

In 1941 they left Hungary for Sweden, and Fischer suspended her performing career during World War II. She began touring Europe again in 1946, after she and her husband returned to Budapest. She played all over Europe and was frequently heard at the main music festivals including Edinburgh, Holland, Prague and Salzburg. Throughout the concert halls of Europe her name was on the program with great regularity. Her international career outside Europe started very late. In the United States, Canada and Australia, she had not been highly recognized. It was in 1961 for the first time that she was making her first American tour, when she played the Mozart Concerto in E flat, K.482 with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She presented her first recital in the United States in Pittsburgh on 16 February, 1961. Her first recital in Canada on 23 September, 1962 in Ottawa. And her first visit to Australia was in 1968 for a six week tour.

Fischer made significant studio recordings in the 1950s with Otto Klemperer and Wolfgang Sawallisch, but she felt that any interpretation created in the absence of an audience would necessarily be artificially constricting, since no interpretation was ever ‘finished’. Her legacy today thus includes many live concert recordings that have been released on CD and DVD. Her interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Schumann, as well as Hungarian composers like Béla Bartók, continue to receive the highest praise from pianists and critics. Her greatest legacy is a studio-made integral set of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. She worked on this set for 15 years beginning in 1977. A self-critical perfectionist, she did not allow the set to be released in her lifetime but, since her death, it has been released on compact disc and widely praised. Fischer died in Budapest on 10 April, 1995.”

- Michael Waiblinger

“Annie Fischer, a Hungarian pianist known for the elegance of her Mozart performances and her vital, prismatic approach to early Romantic repertory, was a pianist who played with an intensity of concentration and focus that seemed almost at odds with the poetry and impetuousness of her interpretive style. She shunned the machinery of modern career-making and rarely gave interviews. Preferring not to be far from Budapest, she performed mostly in Europe, although she undertook several brief tours of the United States over the last 13 years. And because she disliked making recordings, the comparatively few disks she recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and EMI are prized by collectors.

Miss Fischer was born in Budapest on July 5, 1914, and studied with Anton Székely and Ernst von Dohnanyi at the Franz Liszt Academy. She made her public performing debut in Budapest when she was 8, and she toured as a concerto soloist when she was 12. Her mature career began in 1933 when she toured Europe as the winner of the first prize in the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition. In 1935 she married the musicologist and conductor Aladar Toth, who died in 1971. In 1941 they left Hungary for Sweden, and Miss Fischer suspended her performing career during World War II. She began touring Europe again in 1946, after she and her husband returned to Budapest. But she did not make her United States debut until 1961, when she played the Mozart Concerto in E flat (K. 482) with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Her American performances thereafter were sporadic, and she made her belated Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1982. In recent seasons, she gave recitals every two or three years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Early in her career, Miss Fischer developed a large repertory that ranged from Bach to Bartok, but from the start her Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann performances were singled out for particular praise. Critics often noted that her appeal was in her interpretations rather than in her technique. She could expand rhythms beyond their natural boundaries, and particularly in her later years, complete accuracy in dense passages sometimes eluded her. Yet the impression one carried away from her performances was of an insightful and intensely musical player. Miss Fischer was awarded the Kossuth Prize by the Hungarian Government three times.”

- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 13 April, 1995

“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