C1797. JOSEPH KEILBERTH Cond. Bamberger S.O.: Die Zauberflöte - Overture (Mozart); Symphony #1 in c (Brahms); w.VLADO PERLEMUTER: Piano Concerto #4 in G (Beethoven). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-818, Live Performance, 1960 [before a duly appreciative audience!]. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Although conductor Joseph Keilberth is the chief artist featured on this release, the main reason for acquiring this set is actually pianist Vlado Perlemuter….As Keilberth’s performances here in all three works illustrate, he was a solid interpreter who occupied a centrist position in the spectrum German conductors, at a midpoint between the high Romanticism of Furtwängler and the strict classicism of Weingartner.
Perlemuter was a Lithuanian Jew whose family emigrated to France when he was three years old, at about the same time he lost sight in one eye due to an accident. He was a pupil of Alfred Cortot at the Paris Conservatoire, and became first a good friend of Gabriel Fauré and then a dedicated champion of Maurice Ravel (with whom he studied for six months). After fleeing to Switzerland during World War II to avoid the Gestapo, Perlemuter returned to France and joined the faculty of the Paris Conservatoire in 1951, retiring in 1977. During the 1950s he made a series of acclaimed recordings for Vox of Ravel’s complete piano works and the Mozart piano sonatas, among other works….This Beethoven Fourth is to my knowledge his only extant concerto performance beyond the two works of Ravel. As one familiar with his recordings would expect, his playing is characterized by scrupulous clarity, cleanness, and evenness. It may seem somewhat understated compared to more extroverted interpreters, but with Perlemuter one must never mistake subtlety and refinement for lack of imagination and expressiveness. This is Beethoven played with French elegance and serenity. Admittedly Perlemuter and the more stolid Keilberth do not make an ideal couple stylistically, though there is no overt clash either. The recorded sound is clear and reasonably full, but lacking sheen in the high frequencies, which deprive Perlemuter of somewhat of his wonted iridescent tonal colors and make Keilberth’s conducting seem a degree weightier than it in fact is. In any case, for admirers of Perlemuter this set is a ‘must-have’. As usual St. Laurent provides tracks, timing, and photos but no notes.”
- James A. Altena, FANFARE
“If Vlado Perlemuter, the revered French pianist who studied with Ravel and Fauré and was an acclaimed interpreter of their works, never attained widespread public renown, it may have been because of a certain self-effacing quality in his pianism. But he was enormously respected by musicians and his many admirers, who found his playing a model of refinement and elegance.
In a 1993 review in THE NEW YORK TIMES of a two-disc recording of Ravel's complete works, Bernard Holland praised Mr. Perlemuter for his 'unadorned simplicity, his refusal to milk phrases for momentary effect, in short, his insistence on letting the Classical Ravel speak for himself'. Though a courtly figure on the concert stage, Mr. Perlemuter had commanding presence and played with an alluring palette of colorings.
Vlado Perlemuter studied privately with the Polish-German pianist Moritz Moszkowski. At 13, he entered the Paris Conservatory, where he worked with the legendary pianist Alfred Cortot and also studied with Fauré. In 1919, at 15, he won the Conservatory's prestigious Premier Prix. During the 1920s, Mr. Perlemuter took lessons privately with Ravel and become one of the first pianists to perform Ravel's complete works. His personal copies of the Ravel scores were covered with instructions written in this master's hand.
Mr. Perlemuter's career thrived until World War II when, as a Jew, he was forced to flee to Switzerland. In an interview with The Associated Press, Adrian Farmer, the music director of Nimbus Records, which produced a series of his recordings in the 1980s and early '90s, said that Mr. Perlemuter's having to leave his homeland during the war was ’the great embitterment of his life'. Mr. Perlemuter was especially distressed, Mr. Farmer added, that Cortot, with whom he was very close, remained in France.
Mr. Perlemuter resumed his career in 1950. His 1955 recording of the complete Ravel piano works became a landmark. Recording them in later years for Nimbus, Mr. Perlemuter played whole stretches of the repertory nonstop, Mr. Farmer said. The recordings were released with almost no touch-ups or editing.
Mr. Perlemuter's other albums from this period include distinguished accounts of works by Fauré, Bach, Debussy, Schumann, Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin. His Chopin playing was particularly admired for its rhythmic subtlety, beautiful details and French-tinged colorings.
From 1951 to 1976, Mr. Perlemuter was a leading professor at the Paris Conservatory. He also gave noted master classes in Britain, Canada and Japan, and served frequently on competition juries.''
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 7 Sept., 2002
“In 1915 Perlemuter began studying with Moritz Moszkowski, and in 1917 was accepted into Alfred Cortot's class at the Paris Conservatoire. From Moszkowski he learned clarity and an imaginative choice of fingering, from Cortot a greater depth of tone and an artistic grasp of great music, much of it from listening to Cortot himself playing.
In 1919, after Perlemuter had won the most coveted prize at the Conservatoire, he went to Geneva to give his first public recital in La Salle des Abeilles. He returned to the city to give his last concert, in the Victoria Hall, shortly before his 90th birthday. In the two years following his debut, he spent his holidays in Annecy, near Geneva, and there played Faure's last Nocturnes and the piano solo version of his Ballade to the composer.
Apart from Cortot, the two pianists who made the greatest impact on Perlemuter in his early days were Busoni and Rachmaninov; he was impressed by their ‘orchestral’ style of playing, and no doubt by a quality of interpretation which came from the fact that they were composers of substantial importance. One remarkable thing about him is that he never grew stale, that after half-a-century he still engaged in slow and humble practice with the left hand of pieces that he had known all his life. His unceasing quest was rather to realise his poetic intentions, and they imposed a complete independence of the two hands, and a mastery of the greatest possible range of tone-colour."
- Victor & Marina Ledin
“Joseph Keilberth was a German conductor active during the mid-twentieth century. His talents developed early: he pursued a general education and musical training in Karlsruhe, and at the age of seventeen joined the Karlsruhe State Theater as a répétiteur (vocal coach - a common starting place for European conductors). He remained with the theater and ten years later, he was appointed general music director.
He remained there until 1940, when he was appointed chief conductor of the German Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague. He became chief conductor of the Dresden State Opera in 1945. With a minimum of disruption for deNazification he remained in that position until 1950. In 1949 he became chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, which was in fact a reunion. After the War, the German population of the Sudetenland (the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia), which had been the excuse for Hitler's occupation of the country, were returned to Germany, and with them went the German Philharmonic of Prague, Keilberth's old orchestra, which settled in Bamberg. Causing unwary biographers some confusion, he also became the chief conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic in 1950.
He frequently appeared as a guest conductor elsewhere in Germany, notably with the Berlin Philharmonic and, beginning in 1952, the Bayreuth Festival, and appeared regularly at the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals. In 1952 he also led his first performance in the Edinburgh Festival with the Hamburg State Opera.
He was a favored conductor for the RING and other operas through 1956. In 1959 he succeeded Ferenc Fricsay at the helm of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. There, history repeated itself. Keilberth died after collapsing during a performance of Wagner's TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, just as Felix Mottl—conductor at the same theater - had done in 1911.
Keilberth was very strong in Mozart and in the Wagnerian repertory, and in later German classics such as Pfitzner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, and Paul Hindemith. His classic recordings included Hindemith's opera CARDILLAC.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com