Ruth Slenczynska: Complete American Decca Recordings | Australian Eloquence ELQ4841302

Ruth Slenczynska: Complete American Decca Recordings

£42.26

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Label: Australian Eloquence

Cat No: ELQ4841302

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 10

Release Date: 4th January 2021

Contents

Works

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV903
Prelude in E major, BWV937

Bartok, Bela

Romanian folk dances (6) for piano, Sz56 BB68

Chopin, Frederic

Ballades (4)
Etudes (12), op.10
Etudes (12), op.25
Impromptu no.1 in A flat major, op.29
Impromptu no.2 in F sharp major, op.36
Impromptu no.3 in G flat major, op.51
Impromptu no.4 in C sharp minor, op.66 'Fantaisie-Impromptu'
Nocturnes (21)
» no.1 in B flat minor, op.9 no.1
Polonaise no.6 in A flat major, op.53 'Heroic'
Preludes (24), op.28
Scherzi (4)
Waltzes (19)
» no.1 in E flat major, op.18 'Grande valse brillante'
» no.2 in A flat major, op.34 no.1
» no.3 in A minor, op.34 no.2
» no.4 in F major, op.34 no.3
» no.5 in A flat major, op.42
» no.6 in D flat, op.64 no.1 'Minute'
» no.7 in C sharp minor, op.64 no.2
» no.8 in A flat major, op.64 no.3
» no.9 in A flat major, op.posth.69 no.1
» no.10 in B minor, op.posth.69 no.2
» no.11 in G flat major, op.posth.70 no.1
» no.12 in F minor, op.posth.70 no.2
» no.13 in D flat major, op.posth.70 no.3
» no.14 in E minor, B56, KK IVa:15, P1:15
» no.15 Waltz in E minor, op.posth
» no.17 in E flat major, op.post. B46 KKIVa/14 P1/14

Debussy, Claude

Preludes (12), Book 1
» no.8 La fille aux cheveux de lin (The girl with the flaxen hair)
Suite bergamasque
» III Clair de Lune

Liszt, Franz

Chants Polonais (6), S480 (after Chopin)
Etudes d'execution transcendante (12), S139
» no.5 in B flat major 'Feux follets'
Grandes Etudes (6) de Paganini, S141
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19), S244
» no.12 in C sharp minor
» no.15 in A minor 'Rakoczi-Marsch'
Piano Concerto no.1 in E flat major, S124
Rhapsodie espagnole, S254
Widmung (Dedication), op.25 no.1 (Schumann), S566

Mendelssohn, Felix

Rondo capriccioso in E major, op.14
Songs without Words (Lieder ohne Worte): Book 6, op.67
» no.4 in C major 'Spinning Song'

Mussorgsky, Modest

Sorochintsy Fair: Hopak (arr. piano)

Prokofiev, Sergei

Pieces for Piano (4), op.4
» no.4 Suggestion diabolique

Rachmaninov, Sergei

Morceaux de fantasie, op.3
» no.2 Prelude in C sharp minor
Preludes (10), op.23
» no.6 in E flat major

Saint-Saens, Camille

Piano Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.22

Scarlatti, Domenico

Keyboard Sonata in G major, K455

Schubert, Franz

Moments musicaux, op.94 D780
» no.3 in F minor

Schumann, Robert

Spanisches Liederspiel, op.74
» no.10 Der Kontrabandiste (arr. C Tausig)

Villa-Lobos, Heitor

Prole do bebe, Book 1
» no.2 Moreninha

Artists

Ruth Slenczynska (piano)
Symphony of the Air
Wiener Symphoniker

Conductors

Carl Melles
Henry Swoboda

Works

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV903
Prelude in E major, BWV937

Bartok, Bela

Romanian folk dances (6) for piano, Sz56 BB68

Chopin, Frederic

Ballades (4)
Etudes (12), op.10
Etudes (12), op.25
Impromptu no.1 in A flat major, op.29
Impromptu no.2 in F sharp major, op.36
Impromptu no.3 in G flat major, op.51
Impromptu no.4 in C sharp minor, op.66 'Fantaisie-Impromptu'
Nocturnes (21)
» no.1 in B flat minor, op.9 no.1
Polonaise no.6 in A flat major, op.53 'Heroic'
Preludes (24), op.28
Scherzi (4)
Waltzes (19)
» no.1 in E flat major, op.18 'Grande valse brillante'
» no.2 in A flat major, op.34 no.1
» no.3 in A minor, op.34 no.2
» no.4 in F major, op.34 no.3
» no.5 in A flat major, op.42
» no.6 in D flat, op.64 no.1 'Minute'
» no.7 in C sharp minor, op.64 no.2
» no.8 in A flat major, op.64 no.3
» no.9 in A flat major, op.posth.69 no.1
» no.10 in B minor, op.posth.69 no.2
» no.11 in G flat major, op.posth.70 no.1
» no.12 in F minor, op.posth.70 no.2
» no.13 in D flat major, op.posth.70 no.3
» no.14 in E minor, B56, KK IVa:15, P1:15
» no.15 Waltz in E minor, op.posth
» no.17 in E flat major, op.post. B46 KKIVa/14 P1/14

Debussy, Claude

Preludes (12), Book 1
» no.8 La fille aux cheveux de lin (The girl with the flaxen hair)
Suite bergamasque
» III Clair de Lune

Liszt, Franz

Chants Polonais (6), S480 (after Chopin)
Etudes d'execution transcendante (12), S139
» no.5 in B flat major 'Feux follets'
Grandes Etudes (6) de Paganini, S141
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19), S244
» no.12 in C sharp minor
» no.15 in A minor 'Rakoczi-Marsch'
Piano Concerto no.1 in E flat major, S124
Rhapsodie espagnole, S254
Widmung (Dedication), op.25 no.1 (Schumann), S566

Mendelssohn, Felix

Rondo capriccioso in E major, op.14
Songs without Words (Lieder ohne Worte): Book 6, op.67
» no.4 in C major 'Spinning Song'

Mussorgsky, Modest

Sorochintsy Fair: Hopak (arr. piano)

Prokofiev, Sergei

Pieces for Piano (4), op.4
» no.4 Suggestion diabolique

Rachmaninov, Sergei

Morceaux de fantasie, op.3
» no.2 Prelude in C sharp minor
Preludes (10), op.23
» no.6 in E flat major

Saint-Saens, Camille

Piano Concerto no.2 in G minor, op.22

Scarlatti, Domenico

Keyboard Sonata in G major, K455

Schubert, Franz

Moments musicaux, op.94 D780
» no.3 in F minor

Schumann, Robert

Spanisches Liederspiel, op.74
» no.10 Der Kontrabandiste (arr. C Tausig)

Villa-Lobos, Heitor

Prole do bebe, Book 1
» no.2 Moreninha

Artists

Ruth Slenczynska (piano)
Symphony of the Air
Wiener Symphoniker

Conductors

Carl Melles
Henry Swoboda

About

A debut on CD for the American Decca legacy of Ruth Slenczynska, a prodigious Romantic-age keyboard lioness. The biography for her Wigmore Hall recital in March 1957 claimed that the 32-year-old Ruth Slenczynska had given 1600 concerts.

Scarcely believably, perhaps, but no less so than other elements of her extraordinary life story - making her public debut at the age of four, under the instruction of a tyrannical and abusive father, playing a Mozart concerto at the Salle Pleyel in Paris just three years later, attracting the admiration and tutelage of Cortot and Rachmaninov, apparently burnt out before adulthood.

A first marriage and highlights such as playing for (and duets with) Harry Truman followed. Touring with Arthur Fiedler and Boston Pops in the mid-50s taught Slenczynska how to work an audience and to draw strength from their attention, but she readily understood the imperatives of the microphone. The year before her Wigmore Hall date she began recording for the American Brunswick division of Decca at the label’s New York studios, and once their sales were boosted by the publication of her painfully honest autobiography in 1957, her albums won acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. She has continued to perform and to teach well into her 90s, but this box is the first comprehensive tribute to her artistry.

Born in California to Polish parents, Slenczynska was a Chopin pianist by nature and nurture, with a temperament and background that tended towards the extremes of the Romantic style, abounding in rubato and timbral nuance. The facility and security of her technique were shown to best advantage by the Études (1956), then the Scherzos (1957), followed by a selection of waltzes (1959), the Ballades and Polish songs arranged by Liszt (1960) and the Preludes (1962).

A Liszt album from 1958 tests her bullet-proof technique with the exigent demands of the Rhapsodie espagnole, Feux follets and the most gravity-defying versions of the Grandes Études de Paganini. A mixed recital from 1957 marks the silver jubilee of her debut at New York City Hall. The Brunswick discography is rounded off with a disc of encores (1959) and a pair of concertos, Saint-Saëns’s Second (1959) and Liszt’s First (1963).

By the time of these recordings, Slenczynska had thrown off the prodigy tag and her musicianship had matured accordingly from machine-tooled virtuosity to lyrical fantasy. The pianism presented here is extraordinary, and shows no trace of a performer who had learned her craft through the harshest discipline and punishment. The first release of these albums on CD is celebrated in style by Eloquence with an ‘original covers’ box and a booklet full of hitherto unpublished photographs and memorabilia as well as a new survey of Slenczynska’s life and studio career by Stephen Siek.

‘Ruth Slenczynska has technique to burn, has it under complete control, and uses it with masculine vigour and shrewd musicianship.’ - High Fidelity, May 1957 (Chopin, Etudes)

‘Still in her early 30s, Slenczynska gives a breathtaking display of prestidigitation, accurate, effortless, with pleasant tone and musical sympathy thrown in for good measure.’ - The Times, July 1958 (Chopin, Etudes)

‘Her interpretation of the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue is thoughtful and clearly articulated, as is her handling of the Scarlatti sonata... The encore album comes off with equal success.’ - High Fidelity, April 1959 (25th Anniversary Album, Encores)

‘Her pianism sounds notably more cohesive and forthright than in the past... Miss Slenczynska sweeps through [the A flat Polonaise] with exciting bravura and propulsion.’ - High Fidelity, April 1959 (Chopin, Preludes etc.)
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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