C0052. FELIX WEINGARTNER Cond. London Phil.: Fidelio – Overture; FELIX WEINGARTNER Cond. Paris Conservatoire Orch., w.Marguerite Long: Piano Concerto #3 in c; FELIX WEINGARTNER Cond. Vienna Phil., w. Odnoposoff, Auber & Morales: Triple Concerto in C (all Beethoven). (Japan) Opus Kura 2065, recorded 1937-39. - 458215860656
“Marguerite Long began her journey to fame as France's foremost woman pianist during the first half of the twentieth century while still a child, taught initially by her sister. Formal training began at the Nimes Conservatory, then the Paris Conservatoire, in 1888, as a pupil of Antonin Marmontel, whose father Antoine had taught Bizet, d'Indy, Guiraud, Théodore Dubois, and Debussy. In 1889, even before completing her course of study, Long won first prize and immediately started building an international career as soloist and teacher. In 1906, a year after Fauré was named director of the Conservatoire, he put Long in charge of preparatory classes. She had championed his piano works, claiming in fact to be their leading interpreter, but the demand that he appoint her caused a rift, to the extent that Fauré before his death in 1924 called her ‘a shameless woman who uses my name to get on’. Nevertheless, in 1920 he appointed her to succeed Louis Diémer as piano professor - a position she kept until 1940. Her notable pupils included Jeanne-Marie Darré and Jacques Février. In 1920, she also opened her own studio, independent of the Conservatoire.
To Long's credit, she continued playing Fauré's music and recording it, even when younger composers became more famous than the old master. In 1914 (the year her husband, Joseph de Marliave, died in action on the Western Front) and again, in 1917, she cornered Debussy for advice about playing his music. In May 1917, he wrote to Roland-Manuel, praising the success of two Études she had introduced: ‘Mme. Long's fingers seemed to have multiplied and you owe her an enthusiastic encore’. But Debussy could not avoid her on July vacation at Saint Jean-deLuz, where ‘there are a lot of famous pianists in the area . . .including R. Viñes, J. Nin, Mme. M. Long, etc.’. She was already being perceived as ‘a jealous and pushy woman who tried to 'adopt' composers for her own benefit’. During this same period she cultivated Ravel, who dedicated a movement to Marliave in the keyboard original of Le tombeau de Couperin, which Long premiered in 1919.
In 1932, Ravel asked her to introduce the Piano Concerto in G, belatedly written for the Boston Symphony's golden jubilee. He started planning it in 1929 as a vehicle for himself, but the Left-Hand Concerto for Paul Wittgenstein took precedence. By the time Ravel finished Concerto in G, the mysterious brain disease that eventually killed him in 1938 had already disabled his technique. He did conduct the premiere at Paris on January 14, 1932, and within a three-month period 20 more performances throughout Europe that exhausted him. When the Concerto was recorded in April 1932, despite Ravel's name on the label, the conductor was a young Portuguese, Pedro de Frietas-Branco, although the composer supervised ‘ruthlessly’ according to Long. She also introduced the Left-Hand Concerto to Paris, when Ravel rejected changes that Wittgenstein had made in the solo part.
With violinist Jacques Thibaud, Long formed a duo in 1940. Three years later, they founded an international competition for violinists and pianists that is still being held. After Thibaud's death in a 1953 air crash, Long continued to record as well as concertize, including another Ravel G major in 1952 with Georges Tzipine conducting. Her disc repertory included accompanied works by Fauré, Milhaud, and Ernesto Halffter in addition to Ravel's concertos and Beethoven's ‘Emperor’. Long continued teaching until 1960 (her last pupil was Bruno Leonardo Gelber). Three of her books were published posthumously: AT THE PIANO WITH FAURÉ, WITH DEBUSSY, AND WITH RAVEL, anecdotal as well as instructional.”
- Roger Dettmer, allmusic.com
“Felix Weingartner, who did much to shape the modern art of conducting, went on to study philosophy at Leipzig University, later attending the Leipzig Conservatory where he made the acquaintance of Liszt. Liszt persuaded him to become a conductor and helped to produce Weingartner's first opera, SAKUNTALA, at Weimar in 1884. In the same year he began his conducting career in Königsberg.
Thereafter, Weingartner was constantly on the move: Danzig (1885-1887); as Hans von Bülow's assistant in Hamburg (1887-1889); Mannheim (1889-91); Berlin's Kaim Royal Opera Orchestra (1891-1898); the Vienna Opera, where he succeeded Mahler (1898-1903); Hamburg again (1912-14); Darmstadt (1914-1919); Vienna Volksoper and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (1919-1927). Over the same period, he toured Europe, making his first visits to London in 1898 and to the U.S. in 1905, where he conducted the Boston Opera Company for its 1912-1913 season. From 1927 to 1933, he was director of the Conservatory and Symphony Orchestra in Basel, Switzerland, and returned tp the Vienna State Opera from 1935-1936. In his second period with the Vienna Opera he appeared tired, and resigned at the end of the season. In 1939, Weingartner was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
Weingartner edited the complete works of Berlioz and was one of the first to bring that composer's works back into public favor. Weingartner's arrangement of Weber's ’Invitation to the Dance’ was recorded four times by him, and he also recorded his own orchestral arrangement of Beethoven's ‘Hammerklavier’ piano sonata with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Weingartner was among the first great conductors to insist on a meticulous interpretation of the composer's score and steady, moderate tempi. While in Hamburg, he clashed with Hans von Bülow, whom he criticized for romantic exaggeration and wayward performances. In 1895, Weingartner wrote a book, ON CONDUCTING, in which he accused von Bülow of ‘wanting to divert the attention of the audience from the music to himself’.
His baton technique was refined and simple. The English critic Neville Cardus wrote this of his podium style: ‘Weingartner does not use the familiar gestures of the modern 'dictator' conductors; he retains the old fashioned belief that an instrumentalist understands how to play his notes correctly, and does not need illumination in the form of arts that scarcely belong to a conductor -- the arts of Terpsichore and declamation. His gestures are quiet; he is always dignified.... He belongs to the cultured epoch of music, the epoch of good manners, good taste and scholarship’.
Weingartner made his first recordings in 1910 with the American soprano Lucille Marcel, who became the third of his five wives. He recorded all the Beethoven symphonies, some several times, most famously with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1930s.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com