P1316. ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY, w.Fricsay Cond. RIAS S.O.: Piano Concerto #1 in e (Chopin), Live Performance, 1952, Berlin [Brailowsky's Chopin is from a long-lost world of aesthetics. It truly breathes . . . and renders one breathless!]; w.Boult Cond. RDF S.O.: Piano Concerto in a (Schumann), Live Performance, 18 Sept., 1955, Montreux, Switzerland. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-900. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Alexander Brailowsky, the Russian born concert pianist whose interpretation of the works of Chopin brought him worldwide acclaim, was the first to present the entire 169 piano works of Chopin in a cyclic format within a framework of six separate recitals. He performed this feat before capacity audiences in New York, Brussels, Zürich, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Paris. The scope of his accomplishment was indicated by the fact that the series includes 2 sonatas, 11 polonaises, 4 scherzos, 3 impromptus, 4 ballades 14 waltzes, 19 nocturnes, 25 preludes, 27 etudes and 51 mazurkas.
One reviewer noted at the end of Mr. Brailowsky's Chopin series in New York in 1938 that ‘there are few enough pianists who have the prodigious memory, the physical strength, the comprehensive technique required for such an undertaking; there are far fewer who have - plus all these - the requisite musicianship’. ‘Mr. Brailowsky’, the review added, ‘is one of these latter few’.
As guest soloist with major symphony orchestras, Mr. Brailowsky was noted for his large repertory. He also recorded works by Chopin, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Scarlatti, Schumann and many others for RCA Victor. And in a series of 17 recitals in eight weeks in Buenos Aires he never repeated a single work.
Mr. Brailowsky made his debut in New York in 1924 in Aeolian Hall. At the time, Olin Downes of THE NEW YORK TIMES described the youthful pianist as a ‘born virtuoso in the highest sense of that word. He feels instinctively the resources of the piano and makes of it an instrument that sings and throbs with color’. Six years later, the same reviewer found Mr. Brailowsky to be ‘a Chopin interpreter to the manner born’. Other critics had reservations about his tone and interpretations, especially as the Romantic mannerisms Mr. Brailowsky always espoused fell out of fashion."
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 April, 1976
"Critic Virgil Thomson once referred to Russian pianist Alexander Brailowsky (1896-1976) as 'an honest virtuoso'. Alexander Brailowsky, at the age of eight, became a student in the Conservatory of Kiev. Later, in 1911, he went to Vienna to study with Leschetizky, but the beginning of World War I caused him to reside in Switzerland. After the war, Brailowsky made his Paris debut in 1924, playing a complete cycle of the works of Chopin. This series included two sonatas, eleven polonaises, four scherzi, three impromptus, nineteen nocturnes, twenty-five preludes, twenty-seven etudes, and fifty-one mazurkas. This performance was repeated three times in Brussels, Zürich, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and other principal cities. A successful tour of all the principal cities of the world was then made.
On 19 November, 1924, he made his American debut in Aeolian Hall, New York. Brailowsky received an excellent review by the noted Olin Downes, music critic of The New York Times. On 31 October, 1938, he was soloist with the Pasdeloup Orchestra of Paris where he played the Chopin e minor Concerto and the Mendelssohn g minor Concerto, and he received a stupendous applause for his interpretation of the two concerti.
Appearances as soloist were made with major symphony orchestras and his interpretations of the works of Chopin brought him world-wide acclaim. Brailowsky was noted for his large repertory and he recorded for Victor the works of Chopin, Beethoven, Mendlessohn, Scarlatti, Schumann, and others. His recordings for Victor were numerous and used by students as examples of performances of the Chopin works. During a series of nineteen recitals in Buenos Aires, he never repeated a single work."
- Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, 30 July, 2014