C1888. FRITZ RIEGER Cond. RAI S.O., Napoli, w. Wilhelm Kempff: 'Emperor' Piano Concerto #5 in E-flat (Beethoven), Live Performance, 1964; FRITZ RIEGER Cond. ORTF S.O. Symphony #7 in E (Bruckner; Edition Haas); w. Nikita Magaloff: Piano Concerto #2 in A (Liszt) - Live Performance, 8 April, 1970, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1178. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Rieger was born in Oberaltstadt, Karkonosze, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. From 1931 to 1938 he worked in Prague. In August 1941 he became director of the Bremen Opera, and in August 1944 he took up the position of director of the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra. Rieger was a member of the Nazi party.
In 1949 Rieger was announced as the chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra by the city government, replacing the modernist Hans Rosbaud who had been appointed by U.S. occupation authorities. According to author David Monod, the decision to release Rosbaud and replace him with the ‘young and relatively unknown but suitably conservative’ Rieger was caused by a desire to attract larger audiences with more traditional programs, a necessity in the wake of currency reform in the western part of Germany. In 1952, Rieger announced that the orchestra would eliminate almost all modern music from its concerts. Rieger continued to lead the Munich orchestra until 1966. Fritz Rieger was chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 1971 to 1972. He died in Bonn, Germany, on 20 September 1978.”
“During his long performing career, Nikita Magaloff, one of the last representatives of the Romantic school of pianism, was best known for his interpretation of Chopin, whose complete works he recently finished recording. He also had an affinity for the music of Prokofiev, an early mentor, and performed the premiere of Prokofiev's Seventh Sonata.
Mr. Magaloff was born in St. Petersburg, but his family fled Russia in 1919, first moving to Finland and then to France. He studied with Isidor Philipp at the Paris Conservatory and at 17 graduated with the school's first prize. He first gained international recognition as the accompanist for the Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti, whose daughter, Irene, he later married. The couple moved to Switzerland in 1939 to escape World War II.
Mr. Magaloff made his American debut in 1947 as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, but was better known throughout Europe, where he appeared with most of the major orchestras under such conductors as Otto Klemperer, Ernest Ansermet and Karl Böhm. His last performances in the United States were in 1987, when he made a recital tour of the major American cities.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 7 Jan., 1993
“Wilhelm Kempff....played to Busoni, heard Eugen d’Albert (one of Liszt’s greatest pupils), and his own teacher, Heinrich Barth, and had been a prize pupil of Hans von Bülow, Liszt’s son-in-law. Kempff wrote about d’Albert and Busoni in detail in his autobiography. These two great pianists, both of whom transcribed Bach’s organ chorale preludes for solo piano, were important musical influences for Kempff. Eugen d’Albert was the first pianist about whom Kempff wrote in his autobiography.
Kempff attended a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where d’Albert played Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto and Liszt’s Piano Concerto #1. Kempff wrote about the night he listened to d’Albert’s performance: ‘For this was no mere piano playing, but rather a creator who seemed to be creating a whole new world, a world built of tones’. After the concert Kempff encountered d’Albert and had a personal conversation with him about piano technique. D’Albert told Kempff that the piano technique must ‘be joined with the soul and fused into an inseparable union’. The second musical figure that Kempff identifies in his autobiography as an important influence is Ferruccio Busoni. Kempff wrote that the reason why Busoni was a great Bach transcriber was because of Busoni’s sublime spirituality. In Kempff’s private lessons with Busoni, Busoni discussed many aspects of performing piano transcriptions of Bach’s organ works, such as the voicing of the cantus firmus and the various ways of handling texture. Kempff wrote about this experience: ‘[Busoni says] our organ [piano] has only one keyboard, but it can sound like it has many manuals! I am even such a heretic that I believe that most of Bach’s chorale preludes sound better on our contemporary piano than they do on the organ… he [Busoni] brought the chorale ‘Now, Good Christian Men Rejoice’ to life. I [Kempff] don’t say that he ‘played’, because it was much more than that. I was hearing three voices becoming a unified whole,… As Busoni ended the chorale, the boy [Kempff] nodded very quietly. He had understood.…’
The most unusual thing about Kempff is that there is, indeed, nothing usual about him. It is not surprising that more or less all our encounters with his recordings have consistently range from delightful to unforgettable. Innocence, we suspect, was not the clue to Kempff’s success. He did not achieve these small miracles just by riding around on the winds of inspiration. Or if indeed innocence is the answer, it is innocence hard won.”
- Michael Waiblinger