S0483. ENRICO MAINARDI, w.Carlo Zecchi (Pf.): Zauberflöte – Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen – 12 Variations (Beethoven); Arpeggione Sonata in a (Schubert); Sonata #2 in F Brahms); Sonata in d (Debussy). (Germany) Archipel 0523, Live Performances, 1958-59. Final copies. - 4035122405231
"Enrico Mainardi's talents were nurtured from an early age. He was given a small cello at the age of three, had his initial lessons a year later, and made his recital début at the age of eight, playing a Beethoven sonata. His father put him into the bruising life of a touring child prodigy at that point, touring Europe. When he appeared in Bologna, his accompanist was the esteemed Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. He débuted in London at the age of 13 at a Promenade Concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood. One of the most important of his early appearances was at the Bach-Reger Festival in Heidelberg, where he astonished the audience with his playing of the Cello Suite in C major by Bach. He was 16 at the time.
In 1924 he went to Berlin to study with one of the leading teachers of the day, Hugo Becker. He was able to re-establish his concert career and this time he added performance in chamber music to his activities. He made notable solo appearances in recital and with the leading orchestras and conductors. In 1933, he was appointed professor of cello at Santa Cecilia and in 1941, succeeded his teacher Becker at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin on the latter's death. It took him a while to re-establish his career internationally after World War II. He became especially known for his chamber music performances. He extended his fame in Germany through much of the rest of Europe. He insisted that his pupils learn the entire score for whatever pieces they were playing, not just their own part. This included knowing what all the instruments of the orchestra were doing at any given moment in a concerto.
Mainardi was a charismatic performer with very handsome looks and a flair for dressing well. He said he chose his clothing for a concert with a view to what was appropriate for the particular music. Despite this, he did not indulge in platform histrionics to showcase the music or its particular difficulties. His repertoire was especially known for its high quality and intellectual content. Thus, he became known as a reserved performer lacking showmanship, which was, by all accounts, at odds with his off-stage personality. Consequently, he went into history as a musician's musician, rather than a crowd-pleasing one."
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“Enrico Mainardi studied with Giuseppe Magrini at the Milan Conservatory between 1902 and 1910. After graduating, the 13 year old Mainardi visited Hugo Becker at his summer house at Lake Como and became his pupil at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He also studied composition with Giacomo Orefice in Milan. In 1910, he gave his first orchestral performance playing the Haydn Cello Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic under Ernst Kunwald. At the age of 16 he played Reger’s Fourth Cello Sonata with the composer himself as accompanist at the Heidelberg Bach-Reger Festival. His teacher Becker refused to learn and perform this sonata and recommended Mainardi for the performance.
Mainardi made his Vienna début on 7 February 1914 playing the Dvořák Cello Concerto with the Tonkünstler Orchestra under Rudolf Nilius. In the same year he gave chamber music recitals with Ernst von Dohnányi in Germany and Moriz Rosenthal in Vienna. In 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary entering World War I, and it made impossible for Mainardi to continue touring outside of Italy. His recital on 3 December 1916 in Milan at the Sala Piccola del Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi with Aldo Solito de Solis at the piano, received great public acclaim. In 1921, he gave several performances with Wilhelm Backhaus including Strauss’ Cello Sonata. Mainardi was first cello of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra together with Stefan Auber under Eduard Mörike between 1924 and 1929. He formed the string quartet of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra with Szymon Goldberg (1st violin), Joseph Lasek (2nd violin) and Herbert Ronnefeld (viola). Erich Kleiber, who conducted frequently in Dresden, convinced Mainardi to join the Berlin State Opera as solo cellist in 1929.
In 1931, he once accompanied Piatigorsky at the piano in the Debussy Cello Sonata in Berlin. On another occasion they had fun playing Popper’s ‘Elfentanz’ – with Piatigorsky standing behind Mainardi fingering the piece while Mainardi bowed. In 1932, he decided to resume his solo career and left the Berlin State Opera and performed a tour in Soviet Union. In 1933, Richard Strauss invited Mainardi to record DON QUIXOTE in Berlin, with the composer conducting, and in the same year he was appointed professor of cello at Santa Cecili, and in 1941 he succeeded his teacher Becker at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin on the latter’s death. He performed the world premiere in 1934 in Venice of Pizzetti’s Cello Concerto, written for Mainardi, conducted by the composer, and the world premiere of Malipiero’s Cello Concerto in 1938.
He recorded Pizzetti’s Cello Concerto with the Frankfurter Funkorchester under Hans Rosbaud for the German Reichssender Frankfurt and Boccherini’s Cello Concerto #9 in B-flat Major with the Breslauer Funkorchester under Ernst Prade for the German Reichssender Breslau in 1934. Subsequently, Mainardi’s professional career in the thirties flourished in direct proportion to the enforced emigration of leading cellists in Germany. He was very much in demand in Italy and Germany and very busy during the Nazi period to perform in countries occupied by the Nazis. In 1939, he formed a duo with pianist Carlo Zecchi, who became a favourite partner. In 1941, he founded a famous piano trio together with Edwin Fischer and Georg Kulenkampff, who died in 1948 and was later replaced by Wolfgang Schneiderhan. Mainardi and Kulenkampff often played Brahms’ Double Concerto together.
In an interview Mainardi admitted: ‘I regret not having performed with Toscanini, Walter and Klemperer’. It took him a while to re-establish his career internationally after World War II. He became especially known for his chamber music performances. He extended his fame in Germany through much of the rest of Europe, though he did not become popular in France or England. However, even in those countries he was recognized as one of the great teachers of the instrument. In 1967, he also founded a trio with the pianist Guido Agosti and the flutist Severino Gazzelloni. Mainardi was married to Ada Colleoni, a pianist from the Milan Conservatory. They had frequent concert tours all over Europe, but by the mid-1930s their marriage seemed to have been troubled, and they both had numerous extramarital affairs. They never officially divorced. Sela Sommer had been Mainardi’s companion in his last years from 1964 until his death.
Mainardi wrote four concerti for cello and orchestra, plus many other works including cadenzas for some of the major cello concerti. He also held summer classes in Salzburg and Lucerne. He was a long-time resident of Germany, spending his last years teaching and composing for the cello at his lakeside home of Breitbrunn on Lake Ammer. Mainardi died in a Munich clinic after a brief illness on 10 April, 1976.”
- Michael Waiblinger