P1268. JOSEF HOFMANN: Vol. IX, incl. Scarlatti-Tausig, Beethoven (incl. the latter's 'Moonlight' Sonata #14 in c-sharp), Schubert-Tausig, Chopin, Rubinstein, Wagner-Brassin, Mendelssohn & Rachmaninoff; Interviews w. Lutoslawski, Bolet, Gould, Ganz, Menotti, Reisenberg, etc. 2-Marston 52058. Transfers by Ward Marston. - 638335205823
"Restoration engineers, especially the caliber of Ward Marston, are far and few between. An ongoing project with Marston Records is the release of any and all of the celebrated pianist, Josef Hofmann's, all-to-brief discography for such a giant in the name of pianists. Finally, after waiting patiently, it has happened.
In this volume we hear Hofmann's earliest recordings taken from cylinders dated 1895 and 1896, and another with an unidentified date. These include two Consolations by Anton Rubinstein (recorded in Russia); a Wagner-Brassin transcription of the Magic Fire Music from DIE WALKURE, and Mendelssohn's Song Without Words, Op. 38/3. Then we have a group of American Columbia and Brunswick acoustic recordings: Schubert-Tausig's March Militaire and Rachmaninoff's Prelude in c-sharp minor, both recorded by Columbia in 1911 followed by the two Brunswick issues: Scarlatti-Tausig Pastorale in D Minor and Capriccio in E Major and again, the Wagner-Brassin Magic Fire Music from Wagner's DIE WALKURE, both recorded in 1923. From the Cadillac Hour of March 15, 1936, we have Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, #14 in c-sharp minor (complete); Chopin's Nocturne Op 15/2; Waltz, Op. 42 and Waltz, Op.64/1 (Minute). From the Bell Telephone Hour of 1945 in New York, we have an introduction, Rachmaninoff's Prelude in c-sharp minor; an abridged version of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (Rondo movement) with the Bell Orchestra led by Donald Voorhees.
The balance of the second CD is comprised of interviews with Charles Rosen, Constance Keene, Jorge Bolet, Glenn Gould, Witold Lutoslawski, Rudolf Ganz, Ruth Steinway, Tadeus Sadlowski, Gian Carlo Menotti, Aniela Rubinstein, Nadia Reisenberg, Dagmar Godowsky and Betty Hofmann, and finally by Josef Hofmann's son, Anton, all recorded at various dates.
As usual, Marston does an exemplary job with whatever he has to work with. Collectors of great pianists will be very pleased with this final volume honoring Josef Hofmann."
- Lance G. Hill, THE CLASSICAL MUSIC GUIDE
"In a day when many of the internationally famous keyboard virtuosos paralyzed the public with overwhelmingly sensational derring-do, Hofmann was chaste, controlled and simple, using relatively little pedal, letting his marvelous fingers do the work with clarity and the most pellucid of sounds. It was not that he was incapable of great bursts of sound when they were needed. But he represented aristocracy at all times, a musician blessed with an unerring ear, taste, and the ability to float lines that seemed to spin into infinity. His impact is hard to describe. But to those who heard him, including this writer, the finish and transparency of his playing, and the sheer perfection of his technique, somehow made all other pianists sound thick. From the beginning, he was recognized as one of the greatest pianists in history. He was, of course, a prodigy. What great pianist has not been? But even here the young Hofmann was unique."
- Harold C. Schonberg