Alexander Brailowsky

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Fryderyk Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, Domenico Scarlatti, Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Carl Maria von Weber, Claude Debussy

Label: Pearl

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Mono
ADD

Catalogue Number: GEMMCD9132

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(27) Etudes Alexander Brailowsky
Fryderyk Chopin Composer
(3) Fantaisies (or caprices) Felix Mendelssohn Composer
Alexander Brailowsky
Barcarolle Alexander Brailowsky
Fryderyk Chopin Composer
Sonatas for Keyboard Nos. 1-555 Domenico Scarlatti Composer
Fantaisie-impromptu Alexander Brailowsky
Fryderyk Chopin Composer
(19) Hungarian Rhapsodies Alexander Brailowsky
Franz Liszt Composer
(27) Etudes Alexander Brailowsky
Fryderyk Chopin Composer
Ouvertüre zu R. Wagners `Tannhäuser' Alexander Brailowsky
Franz Liszt Composer
(12) Etudes Alexander Scriabin Composer
Alexander Brailowsky
(8) Fantasiestücke Alexander Brailowsky
Robert Schumann Composer
(3) Marches Militaires Franz Schubert Composer
Alexander Brailowsky
Sonata for Piano No. 1 Alexander Brailowsky
Carl Maria von Weber Composer
(24) Preludes Alexander Scriabin Composer
Alexander Brailowsky
(4) Ballades Fryderyk Chopin Composer
Alexander Brailowsky
Pour le piano Alexander Brailowsky
Claude Debussy Composer
I recently reviewed an APR Brailowsky disc of his 1938 London HMV recordings (8/94—prompting a letter in January, page 9), which thrillingly contradicted prevailing legends concerning his lack of greatness, his overall proficiency but lack of either musical or technical finesse. Alas, Pearl's offering of recordings dating from 1928-34 returns us to square one. For here, despite some strenuous pleading by their insert-note writer, there is far too little to delight or, indeed, engage the listener at even the most rudimentary level.
However, Brailowsky's performance of Liszt's Tannhauser transcription provides a notable exception, and even when the playing degenerates into a form of musical racketeering there is an imposing breadth and vitality. Admirers will want the disc for this performance alone. Elsewhere Brailowsky is less than revelatory and you only have to listen to, say, Moiseiwitsch (a true representative of a golden rather than tarnished age of pianism) in his pre-war version of Chopin's Fantasie-impromptu and, most of all, the F major Etude, Op. 25 No. 3 (APR, 2/88) to hear the difference between a dazzling, witty and elegant legerdemain and a strenuous, coldly detached alternative. Convulsive rubato and a tendency for large-scale theatrical gestures to crystallize into mannerisms mar the proportions of both Chopin's Barcarolle and Ballade No. 1 and so, too, does a crude and chaffing way with Liszt's prescribed dolce con grazia (3'40'') in his Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12.
Debussy's ''Toccata'' (Pour le piano) sounds four-square rather than fleet, and Schumann's ''Traumes Wirren'' (Fantasiestucke) is quite without the necessary Fingerfertigkeit of, again, Moiseiwitsch (in the 1950s—Testament, 1/94). The Scriabin items are given more convincingly full-blooded performances, but my advice, overall, is to listen to the APR disc of the London HMV recordings. There you will find buoyancy, brio and sparkle in abundance, a brilliant answer to all Doubting Thomases.'

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £67/year

Subscribe

The Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Events & Offers

From £90/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Reviews

  • Reviews Database

From £67/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Digital Edition

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive

From £67/year

Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.