P1334. VLADO PERLEMUTER: Thème et variations (Fauré); Kreisleriana; Études symphoniques (both Schumann). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-850, Broadcast Performances, 1959 & 17 May, 1960. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“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