Gregor Piatigorsky       (6-WHRA 6032)
Item# S0452
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Gregor Piatigorsky       (6-WHRA 6032)
S0452. GREGOR PIATIGORSKY: The Art of Gregor Piatigorsky Rare 78s, Unissued Studio Recordings & Public Performances & Broadcasts, incl. Beethoven, Boccherini, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Elgar, Bloch, Barber, Strauss, Davidov, Popper, Chopin, Massenet, Sarasate, Weber, Rachmaninov, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Moszkowski, Scriabin, Piatigorsky, Ravel, Hindemith, Prokofiev & Debussy. (E.U.) 6-West Hill Radio Archives WHRA 6032 (incl. 1 DVD of Piatigorsky in performance), recorded 1936-55. Currently out-of-stock. - 5425008377148


“At a stroke, this munificent set doubles the available documents of Piatigorsky as a soloist. I have often remarked on how little he recorded, for a cellist of his eminence – and of course he had fearsome competition – but I now discover how much was left unissued. A number of American Columbia artefacts, perfectly acceptable in sound and often splendid in performance, are included here, presumably from ‘tests’.”


“Overall, it would be very difficult to overstate the value of this set. Gregor Piatigorsky was unquestionably one of the great string soloists of the 20th century, and his work was documented far less than that of his contemporaries. Much of the material here has either never been issued or has long been out of print. This is not only for cellists and cello fanatics. Anyone who places a value on music-making with a real face to it will find this an essential set. What you have here is a cellist who plays with enormous technical facility, and who plays everything as if it might be the final performance of his life. This is music-making that is vital and alive at every turn—highly personal but never eccentric.

There are some 'finds' here of major importance: the Elgar concerto with Barbirolli, the Schumann with Reiner, and the Hindemith concerto with the composer on the podium surely stand out. Some of the miniatures from the 1920s demonstrate a virtuosity that astonishes (the Popper and Sarasate are two examples). These are the kinds of bon-bons that will bring a smile to your face, and might just make you gasp in amazement at Piatigorsky’s brilliance.”

Henry Fogel, FANFARE, Jan./Feb., 2011

“Gregor Piatigorsky began playing the cello at the age of seven and was admitted to the Moscow Conservatory at nine, studying there with Alfred von Glehn. In 1919, he joined the Lenin Quartet and was appointed principal cellist of the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra. In 1921, Piatigorsky left the Soviet Union, going to Leipzig by way of Warsaw, and studied for a time with Julius Klengel. Furtwängler appointed him principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1924 where he came into contact with the leading German musicians of the time, including Schnabel and Flesch, with whom he formed a trio. In 1928, Piatigorsky left Berlin to concentrate on a solo career, which began triumphantly with his New York debut in 1929. Although Piatigorsky concertized regularly as a soloist, he continued his activity as a chamber musician. Starting in 1930, he formed a trio with Horowitz and Milstein, and later, in 1949 with Heifitz and Rubinstein. In 1961, Piatigorsky and Heifitz formed a chamber music series in Los Angeles, much of which was recorded, and remain among the treasures of chamber music performances.

For many years Piatigorsky directed the chamber music program at Tanglewood, helped found the Meadowmount School, succeed Emanuel Feuermann as professor of cello at the Curtis Institute, and in 1962 became a professor at the University of Southern California. His legacy as a teacher remains a powerful fixture in the world of cello playing; his famous students include Erling Blöndal Bengtsson, Mischa Maisky, and Nathaniel Rosen, among many others. Piatigorsky was known for his Romantic expressiveness and virtuosic flair, and was at his best in the big nineteenth and early twentieth century concerto repertory. He premiered works by Walton, Hindemith, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, published a number of original works and arrangements for the cello, and collaborated with Stravinsky on his 'Suite Italienne'. Widely revered and honored, Piatigorsky was one of the most important and influential musicians of his generation.”

- Steven Coburn,

“The present collection offers fascinating insight into the artistry one of the great musicians the twentieth century, the legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976). The recordings in this collection are either previously unissued studio recordings, or if issued, were not widely distributed when they were initially released, or are previously unissued public performances that were only heard when originally broadcast from the concert hall. This material constitutes a significant portion Piatigorsky’s recorded legacy and provides eloquent evidence of his importance in the world of modern cello playing, especially for those who never had the opportunity to hear him live.”

-Zillah Dorset Akron