P1367. VLADO PERLEMUTER: Bach, Clementi, Liszt & Debussy Program. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-946, Broadcast Performances, 1958-60, Paris. 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