P0173. JÖRG DEMUS: Schumann Recital. (Italy) Nuova Era 7316, recorded 1998. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 8010984173616
“The integrity and adaptability that Jörg Demus showed from his earliest years nonetheless made him an ideal partner for singers, including Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Peter Schreier, and instrumentalists, including the violinist Josef Suk. Reviewing a recital Fischer-Dieskau gave with Mr. Demus at Carnegie Hall in 1976, a program devoted to Hugo Wolf settings of Goethe poems, Andrew Porter of THE NEW YORKER wrote that ‘one felt wrung, exhausted’ after their ‘overwhelming performance’ of Wolf’s ‘Prometheus’. Mr. Demus also had a long, productive collaboration with his fellow Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, with whom he championed the four-hand and piano-duo works of Mozart, Schubert and other composers, bringing much of these works to wider attention through concerts and popular recordings.
Throughout a seven-decade career, Mr. Demus also performed extensively as a soloist and, starting in his early 20s, made dozens of recordings of a vast, if traditional, repertory, especially Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as complete surveys of the solo works of Schumann and Debussy.
At 14, in 1943, Demus made his debut as a concert pianist at the intimate Brahms-Saal in the Musikverein concert hall in Vienna. After graduating in 1945, he took lessons in the early 1950s with the French pianist Yves Nat in Paris and attended master classes of the French-born German pianist Walter Gieseking at the Saarbrucken Conservatory in Germany. In 1956, the bicentennial year of Mozart’s birth, Mr. Demus won the prestigious Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy.
It was as a performer of the Viennese Classical repertory and the works of Schumann that Mr. Demus gained increasing attention as he played in Vienna and other European cities. American critics, too, warmed to the self-effacing beauties of Mr. Demus’s artistry. Reviewing his performance at a Mostly Mozart Festival concert in New York in 1974, where he played solo works of Mozart and Schumann as well as Mozart’s Concerto #21 in C (K. 467), John Rockwell of THE TIMES praised his ‘calm mastery’ of the material, adding that he had ‘the secret of bending and shaping the music in a way that fills it with recreative character, yet always sounds true to the composer’s intentions’.
In a 2015 interview, Mr. Demus challenged the very notion of a career. ‘I do not have a career’, he said. ‘I’m a person who had a life to live. I am leaving ‘careers’ to other people. A career is like a racetrack for horses - I’m neither a horse nor am I running on a racetrack’.”
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15 May, 2019