C1214. CARL SCHURICHT Cond. Vienna Phil.: Symphony #1 in C (Beethoven), recorded 1952; Schuricht Cond. Swiss Cond. Swiss Italian Radio Orch., w.Wilhelm Backhaus: Concerto #2 in B-flat (Brahms), Live Performance, 1958, Lugano. (Germany) Archipel 0460. Final copies. - 4035122404609
“Carl Schuricht was among the most distinguished German conductors of the inter- and post-War years. He studied composition with Engelbert Humperdinck at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, and then with Max Reger in Leipzig. He became music director in Wiesbaden in 1911 and elected to stay there until 1944. From this base he made frequent guest conducting appearances elsewhere and appeared at many summer music festivals. He was known for his interest in French music and other modern compositions, and frequently played music of Debussy, Ravel, Schönberg, and Stravinsky.
He toured abroad often, and made his first U.S. appearance in 1927. For many years he conducted annual summer concert series in Scheveningen, Holland, a resort town next to the capital city, The Hague. In recognition of this, the Dutch government gave him the Order or Orange-Nassau in 1938.
In 1942 he was appointed conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. He often opposed the Nazi government's policies, and in 1944 fled to Switzerland, where he resided thereafter. As many German conductors who had favored modern music in the inter-War years did, he settled firmly to the traditional symphonic repertory in the post-War years and thereafter became strongly associated with performances in the Romantic tradition, with rhythmic freedom and a smooth, beautiful and expressive sound.
He was chosen to conduct the re-opening, after the War, of the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1946, and continued his frequent guest conducting appearances and associations with summer festivals, including the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and the Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts. He often conducted the London Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was chosen to share conducting duties with André Cluytens when the Vienna Philharmonic made its first American tour in 1956. In later years he often took the podium with that orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic and frequently conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
"…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 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