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Sviatoslav Richter’s comment that Hungarian-born Annie Fischer (1914–1995) was ‘a great artist imbued with a spirit of greatness and genuine profundity’ is just a sign of the esteem in which her fellow musicians held her. Curiously, of all the mid-century pianists, she seems to have been among the least recorded due to her profound dislike of the studio. Winner of the Franz Liszt International Competition in 1933, she made recordings of Schumann and Liszt with Klemperer (a close friend), Bartók with Markevitch and Mozart with Sawallisch. She recorded over a 15-year period all the Beethoven sonatas for Hungaroton.
Annie Fischer’s ‘unerring awareness’ (David Threasher) of the shifting moods in the Schumann Piano Concerto has been caught in wonderful sound by the WDR engineers in this ‘live’ recording which has never been issued before.
In the two Beethoven works, ‘she is powerfully authoritative’ (David Threasher).
Both these ‘live’ recordings have never been published before.
Maurizio Pollini said Fischer’s playing was marked by ‘a childlike simplicity, immediacy and wonder’ while the distinguished writer Bryce Morrison commented on her ‘depth and spiritual serenity’. All these recordings are great additions to her relatively small discography.
Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
I. Allegro affettuoso
II. Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso
III. Allegro vivace
Ludwig van Beethoven: 15 Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E flat major, Op. 35, "Eroica Variations"
Introduzione col Basso del Tema
Finale: Alla Fuga
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
I. Vivace ma non troppo
III. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung: Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo
“you are made aware once more of Fischer's robust poetry, of her economical, never inflated or exaggerated style. Less mercurial than, say Moiseiwitsch, less vertiginous than Argerich in the Schumann Concerto, her performance is none the less one of fiery engagement and a grateful sinking into repose in the first movement's melting A flat episode...Throughout, she abhors trickery of any kind...This is a deeply gratifying issue.”