P1360. LILI KRAUS: Piano Sonata #12 in F, K.332; w.Jean Fournet Cond. RTF S.O.: Piano Concerto #9 in E-flat, K.271; w.Manuel Rosenthal Cond. RTF S.O.: Piano Concerto #12 in A, K.414 (all Mozart). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-940, Live Performances, 1953-61. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Lili Kraus, a Hungarian-born pianist much admired in the music of Mozart, was praised for her sensitivity and proportioned balance in the music of Mozart and other classicists. ‘A pianist with taste, skill and heart’, Harold C. Schonberg called her in THE NEW YORK TIMES when she re-entered the American concert scene in 1966 with nine New York programs, in the course of which she played the entire standard canon of 25 Mozart piano concertos.
Born in Budapest on March 4, 1903, Miss Kraus had two careers, divided by her harrowing experience as a prisoner of war during World War II. Her first career followed her training at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, where her teachers included Bartok and Kodaly, and subsequently in Vienna with Edward Steuermann and Artur Schnabel. During the 1930s she toured widely, often in partnership with the violinist Szymon Goldberg.
In 1930 Miss Kraus married Otto Mandl, a German businessman who died in 1956. Shortly before Germany annexed Austria, the pianist and her husband, who was by then her manager, moved to London with their family, becoming British subjects.
In 1942, while touring in the Dutch East Indies, now part of Indonesia, Miss Kraus was arrested by the Japanese and spent three years in captivity. After the war she toured Australia and New Zealand and was granted citizenship by New Zealand for her war-relief efforts. But it was not until 1948 that she felt she had regained fully her skills as an artist, whereupon she resumed her international career.
Miss Kraus's reputation reached new heights with her New York Mozart concerts in the 1966-67 season. Thereafter she lived in the United States. She gave her last concert on June 12, 1982, at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. “
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 7 Nov., 1986
“In the 1930s, Kraus toured both as soloist and as the recital partner of violinist Szymon Goldberg, with whom she recorded Beethoven and Mozart sonatas for British Parlophone in 1935 and 1937, along with solo reperoire. Her other specialties included Chopin, Haydn, Schubert, and Bartók.
While touring in 1942, Kraus, her husband, and their two children were arrested in Indonesia, and sent to separate prisoner-of-war camps on Java for nearly three years. They survived principally because the Japanese knew her name and her recordings. A Japanese conductor reputedly provided food as well as musical scores until their rescue by British forces. For two years Kraus played in Australia and New Zealand (where she became a British subject), and in South Africa too, before returning to England in 1948, where she resumed her career before debuting in the U.S., in 1949. She also resumed recording, albeit with second-class Viennese orchestras and conductors for Vox, mainly, in concertos by Mozart and Beethoven, but later on for Vanguard in the U.S. During the 1966-1967 season, she performed 25 of Mozart's 27 concertos in New York City on a single series, and the next season played his complete keyboard sonatas.
A nonstop talker who designed her own concert gowns, Kraus was never ranked as a virtuoso even before World War II, but she was a notably distinguished interpreter. Those who heard her before and after the war confided sadly that something had forever changed. She never stopped playing, however - always forthrightly, even brusquely, in some repertoire. Texas Christian University at Fort Worth appointed her artist-in-residence in 1968, and she became a regular juror at the Cliburn International Competitions. She tried to instill in her pupils the same enthusiasm that sustained her as a public concert artist until 1982, an intensity that unnerved some of the shy and introverted students. At various U.S. piano competitions, regular observers labeled her a surrogate stage-mother, as she endlessly exhorted and lobbied. But she taught and cherished her pupils, emulating the teachers from her childhood.”
- Roger Dettmer, allmusic.com
“This immaculate stylist….[Goldberg realized] that the composer knew best, he sought out the quiet centre of the piece he was playing and let his performance grow out of that, rather than impose an egotistical interpretation. It followed that he was a great Mozart violinist, probably the finest of the last century.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSIC RECORD COLLECTOR, Summer, 2009
“If you have ever seen the movies BRIEF ENCOUNTER and THE SEVENTH VEIL, Eileen Joyce has brought tears to your eyes. She is the pianist in the performance of the Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto that was used as background music in both films, and as a result of these films Rachmaninoff became a household word. The quality of her playing was compared, by an important German music critic of the late 1940s, to that of Clara Schumann, Sophie Menter and Teresa Carreño.
The eminent British pianist Stephen Hough wrote, ‘she displayed all the dazzle and scintillating virtuosity of many great players of the past ... she has to be added to the list of great pianists from the past’. Glenn Gould considered Eileen Joyce to be the finest interpreter of Mozart, and it is rumored that she never played a wrong note in concert. Yet she is virtually unknown today.”