Denis Matthews, Vol. III;  Hans Swarowsky  (St Laurent Studio YSL 33-1344)
Item# P1439
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Product Description

Denis Matthews, Vol. III;  Hans Swarowsky  (St Laurent Studio YSL 33-1344)
P1439. DENIS MATTHEWS, w. Hans Swarowsky Cond Vienna Staatsoper Orch: Piano Concerto #20 in B-flat, K.466; Piano Concerto #24 in c, K.491 (both Mozart). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 33-1344, recorded 1958. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.

CRITIC REVIEWS:

“Denis Matthews made his orchestral debut at the Proms in 1938, playing Beethoven’s c minor piano concerto. He served in the RAF from 1940-46, and then resumed a full-time performing career, playing with all the major UK orchestras under Thomas Beecham, John Barbirolli and Malcolm Sargent. He had particular affinity with the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, and was renowned for his unaffected refined pianism. A performer who was more concerned to serve the interests of the music rather than the musician’s ego, his brilliant, questioning mind brought magic and freshness to his interpretations, and made him an inspiring teacher who encouraged his students to think beyond the notes on the page. Later in his life, he gave up performing to dedicate himself to teaching and lecturing, broadcasting and writing. His edition of the Mozart piano sonatas, prepared with Stanley Sadie, became widely used. His study of Beethoven received wide critical acclaim.”

- Frances Wilson, INTERLUDE, 27 Feb., 2019





“According to Mariss Jansons, ‘Everything Hans Swarowsky said or analysed was amazing. You could sit there breathlessly and just listen’. Iván Fischer remembers him wanting to hear ‘the piece itself’ and nothing else: ‘He was a disciple of Neue Sachlichkeit [New Objectivity] whose duty as he saw it above all was to serve the composer’. For Zubin Mehta, quite simply: ‘He was my idol in so many ways. I admired him unreservedly, and I still consider him the greatest intellect I have ever encountered’.

It was hearing Richard Strauss’ DER ROSENKAVALIER waltzes conducted by Hans Swarowsky that inspired Jansons to uproot himself from Riga and travel to Vienna, where Swarowsky ran a conducting class at the Music Academy that can justly be called legendary. Look further down the roll call of his students and you see Abbado, Sinopoli, Mario Venzago, Manfred Huss, Adám Fischer, Bruno Weil … And, beyond those who went on to follow Swarowsky’s own calling, Martha Argerich, Plácido Domingo and the scholar Constantin Floros all passed through his class.

‘When I hear another Swarowsky pupil,’ says Iván Fischer’, I always hear his influence working within them, because he was so strong a personality, and so convincing a musician’. Many conductors may have wished they could haul a singer over the coals for showboating, but few have followed through and done it, as Swarowsky reportedly did to Mariano Stabile in 1950 while recording ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from DON GIOVANNI: ‘Mozart has written no change of tempo and there will be no change of tempo!’….If these recollections leave the impression of a score-bound martinet, try those ROSENKAVALIER waltzes for yourself and you’ll find them as sly, tender and unsentimental as the composer’s own recordings. In 1919, he studied with Busoni and attended lectures given by Freud and Karl Kraus, the lion of pre-war literary Vienna. While he wavered between the callings of music and psychoanalysis, attending a performance of Mahler’s Third in 1920 settled the matter. The symphony took on emblematic significance for him; so did the music of Richard Strauss.

At least in theory, Swarowsky understood the humility required of a good conductor, ‘who only makes signs in the air’, he wrote, ‘but whose hands are those of a ‘conjuror’ (although the ‘magic’ is carried out by others). He may well be grateful that his baton produces no sound’!”

- Peter Quantrill, 31 Jan., 2020